Opposition View: Uncertainty dominates for Cherries as post-Howe era begins
Ahead of Sunday’s game Norfolk-based Bournemouth supporter Neil Perry provides the view from the opposition camp, as Norwich City prepare for battle on the south coast.
Q A new era has begun, did you agree with the decision to part ways with Eddie Howe?
A I understood why it was time for him to go. He’s done an amazing job with the team to transform it from one flirting with dropping into non-league, into a Premier League club that others aspired to emulate, but things were steadily either going stale or falling apart. I remember putting money into buckets outside Dean Court that helped bring him back to the club on loan before he retired from playing, so the level of ownership fans felt towards him was very special and that makes the parting all the more painful.
Q Many have been surprised by the decision to promote Jason Tindall, were you happy with the decision?
A I’m conflicted to be honest – as I’m not sure if he will be able to freshen things up enough to turn around a very stale feeling ship. However, I would rather have him than someone else who has been doing the rounds in the Championship for the last decade. It could be inspired, or it could just put off the inevitable change of direction the club may need to get it climbing again.
Q It’s been a busy transfer window already, how worried are you about losing so many of your better players?
A Very worried – but in no way surprised with some of the players going out - as so many of them are ‘too good’ for the Championship. It makes our relegation all the more confusing as on paper the squad was far too good to go down. To make matters worse I do think there will be more departures before the window closes and we really haven’t got anything to shout about when it comes to arrivals.
Q Among those to leave was former Norwich midfielder Andrew Surman, seen as a good servant by Cherries fans?
A I think the team was full of ‘good servants’ at the end of last season, which may have been the problem. There were still plenty of players in the squad who’d been with us for a number of years and may have been living on the form of the past. That mixed in with new signings not hitting the heights we had hoped, left us never really looking like we could get clear of the relegation zone.
Q A 3-2 home win over Blackburn and a 1-1 draw at Boro have made for a solid start, has Tindall made any big changes to the playing style yet?
A It’s still much too early to judge, as the team is settling back into a different kind of football, while missing some key players from the spine of the team like Nathan Ake and Callum Wilson. We are unbeaten, which I hope suggests a bit more solidity in defence, but I don’t really want to call that for a few more weeks until the dust has settled from the transfer window. It may be a case of seeing which of our best players are still at the club by then and working out where to go from there.
Q How much of a threat are City to Bournemouth’s promotion hopes?
A I would say a huge threat and I do expect them to be up there at the end of the season. Frankly, if Bournemouth finish above Norwich we will certainly be in a play-off spot at the very least. Norwich were too good for the Championship last time around, and judging by their recruitment record over recent seasons they are sure to have found a couple of new stars after rummaging around the bargain bins of European football. Our recruitment has been poor in the last couple of years, so I just hope some players like Dom Solanke will find their feet at this level and kick on.
Q How concerned are you about the impact of the 21- defeat to Manchester City in the League Cup on Thursday night, while Norwich had all week to prepare for Sunday?
A Considering how thin our squad feels at the moment – I’m really worried about it. Our first 11 should be too good for many Championship sides, but our bench doesn’t fill me with much confidence.
Q And finally, what is your prediction?
A I’m going to go for an entertaining 2-2 draw.