Cherries: Debut to manager in 15 years...
IT may only seem like yesterday to Eddie Howe. For the record though, it was actually 15 years ago today. As a fresh-faced teenager, Howe chalked up the first of many milestones for the club when he made his debut during a 2-0 win over Hull City at Dean Court in December 1995. Still only a second-year apprentice and captain of the Cherries youth team, winning his spurs came as something of a surprise to the Verwood-raised defender. But a composed and accomplished performance from the 18-year-old which resulted in him earning the man-of-the-match award set the tone for career that saw him go on to establish himself as a club great. Currently 13th in the list of Cherries' all-time leading league appearance makers, Howe's tally of 270 would have been far greater had his career not been cruelly cut short by a persistent knee injury which forced him to retire in 2007, aged 29. I don't remember too much about the build up to the game, recalled Howe. I wasn't expecting to start because we had worked on shape during the week and I wasn't in the team. I knew I was close to the squad but hadn't even sat on the bench. I turned up at the ground and thought I would be watching the game from the stand. When Mel Machin read out the starting line-up, it was a big surprise to find out I was in it. Mel would have done it for a reason so I didn't have too much time to think about it and it was good management. A lot of emotions go through your head when you are told you are making your debut. The team was named about 65 minutes before kick-off and it seemed an age for the game to get started. Goals from Rob Murray and Matt Holland earned Cherries a comfortable victory over the Tigers, with Howe making four further appearances as Machin led them to 14th in Division Two following the previous season's Great Escape. I remember having a couple of good early touches in the game, said Howe. That always helps and having the crowd on my side was another big boost for me. It was a good game and a great result. I have always been my own harshest critic but felt I did okay that day. I was just delighted to have made an appearance. Howe added: It's unbelievable how quickly it has gone and it doesn't seem like 15 years ago. When you are playing and people tell you to make the most of your career because it goes so quickly, you don't realise just how quickly it goes. It flashes before your eyes which is why it is so important to make the most of it.
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