Eddie Howe's brilliant Newcastle United verdict after 'special moment'
And that enduring relationship was evident after Saturday’s 1-1 draw against Newcastle United.
Howe, applauded off the visiting team coach, stayed on the pitch at the Vitality Stadium to say “goodbye” to the home club’s supporters after acknowledging the backing his team had had from the 1,300 travelling fans.
The 45-year-old – who spent much of his playing career at Bournemouth, and had two spells as manager – hadn’t had the opportunity to say farewell after leaving the club in the summer of 2020 following the club’s relegation from the Premier League.
“It was emotional,” said Howe after the game. “I’m not going to hide that fact. It was a chance for me to thank them, and it was a very special moment.”
Howe, of course, had some special moments at Newcastle since his appointment as head coach in late 2021.
Newcastle, winless when he arrived, comfortably stayed up last season, and the club is fourth in the Premier League this season – and in the Carabao Cup final.
And Howe and his coaching team – who are preparing the team for Saturday’s home game against Liverpool – already have a strong bond with the club’s fans.
“Newcastle’s an incredible football club, an incredible city, really, with the stadium right in the heart of the city – and everyone’s passion belongs to Newcastle there,” said Howe.
“It’s a great place to talk football, train players and try and build a successful football team. The love and connection we’ve had from the supporters has certainly helped us do that – and long may that continue.”
Howe knew he had taken on a big job with a “huge responsibility” when he agreed to succeed Steve Bruce. The club was 19th in the league table at the time.
“I know the responsibility is huge,” said Howe. “I’m aware of the expectations.
"It’s something you can’t think too deeply about, in my opinion. It’s something I just try and take on and enjoy the challenge I have. The main thing is the players, and making sure they’re in as good a place as they can be.
"They’ve done really well this season. We know we have further challenges to come. We’re looking forward to those.”
Howe is experiencing a different kind of pressure this season.
A year ago, the club’s top-flight status was on the line. Now, Howe and his staff are attempting to finish as high as possible up the table – and deliver the club its first major trophy since the Fairs Cup triumph of 1969.
“The pressure’s not too dissimilar,” said Howe. “You’re desperate for points, you need to win. It’s just the outcome is different.
"Relegation’s not a nice thing to be fighting against, but when you’re expected to win trophies and finish high in the league, that’s another thing that’s not nice if you don’t reach your target.
"The pressures and the feelings are very similar, but everyone’s reactions are slightly different depending on what the objective is.”
Howe, just as at Bournemouth, has a fanbase fully behind him as he looks to achieve his objectives at Newcastle.