The turbulent path of AFC Bournemouth’s journey over the last few seasons has been well-documented. From the lows of Bond and Quinn to the highs of Howe and the medoricity of Bradbury and Groves and of course, the idioticy of Eddie Mitchell.
There is no doubt that the years since Kevin Bond’s appointment have never been dull, often disappointing, often average, but rarely ever dull. The present takes a lot from the past, unfortunately not too much of the good, and there is a very familiar and despairing air of failure that looks certain to reveal itself very soon if things do not change.
On the surface Eddie Mitchell has stabilised the club financially, but a closer look at how the club is being run is not happy viewing. The appointment of Mitchell family members into positions that they are undoutedly not qualified for stinks of nepotism, and goes against everything that the club, according to Mr Mitchell, is trying to achieve.
“If Mr Mitchell is prepared to buy a striker for £800,000 and pay the alleged wages of Lee Barnard why isn’t he prepared to invest in a proven manager.”
He wants AFC Bournemouth to be a professionally run outift with an established place in the Champiohship. Grand ambitions and one we whole-heartedly agree with. However, the parts are currently not making a whole. One example is Tom MItchell as a director. Son of Eddie, who built the training pitches, tarmaced the car park, friends of Eddie?
These are elements that give an air of ambition and professionalism, but its seems that these additions are just superficial distractions from the real issues. A great car park and pretty training pitches wont get you in the Championship, its personnel.
And, its all about getting the right personnel. Waving a big cheque book about means a manager can buy quality players, but it still doesn’t guarantee success. Eddie Howe built a promotion-winning team on a shoestring budget and minimal squad. This scenario immediately tells its own story. Lee Bradbury took over, had far more money to spend and struggled to match Howe’s success. Bradbury paid for failure with his job, but who replaced him, another unproven manager.
If Mr Mitchell really wants success he needs to spend his money more wisely. There seems to be an ever widening gap between what he says he wants and how it goes about it. Spending money to assemble a large and expensive squad, in League One terms, and improving the facilities are all undermined by the fact there is a distinct lack of leadership where it counts.
If Mr Mitchell is prepared to buy a striker for £800,000 and pay the alleged wages of Lee Barnard why isn’t he prepared to invest in a proven manager. It simply doesn’t add up. A winning manager is only one man and is worth much more than an overpriced striker. Is he hoping that he will strike gold, as he did with Eddie Howe, if he keeps employing within. Do prospective managers think he has too much influence and dont want to work with him. The right man at the helm is the final peice in the jigsaw. Until then and only when this happens will the club be truly successful again and reach the promised land of the Championship.
If Mr Mitchell continues to persue the managerial appointment plan that he currently seems hell bent on then the only outcome will be much the same one as Bond, Quinn, Bradbury and Groves acheived and sadly not the heady heights of Mr Howe.