Cherries on top as Howe's rise continues
At the Pirelli Stadium.
"Novices cannot be trusted with the recovery," suggested one of Britain's leading politicians on television the other day.
Try telling that to supporters of Bournemouth, who are managed by 32-year-old Eddie Howe and secured promotion to League One on Saturday with their deserved 2-0 victory at the Pirelli Stadium in Burton.
The final whistle sparked scenes of jubilation as the Cherries celebrated their first promotion since 2003 and only the fifth in the club's history. A good-natured and most definitely old-skool pitch invasion took place as delirious supporters engulfed their heroes.
The promoted players eventually made their way up towards the modest directors area so that all the fans on the pitch could see them. I was sat yards away trying to finish my match report when I finally realised that I was about to disappear under a mass of celebrating, sweaty bodies.
I have never been fearful of happiness before but when substitute Alan Connell climbed on the flimsy wooden bench supporting my laptop and started jumping around I knew it was time to leave the party to its main participants.
And there is no doubt that everyone connected with Bournemouth has the right to celebrate the staggering, almost incomprehensible transformation that has taken place since Howe was first approached to become manager on New Years Eve 2008.
The Cherries were 10 points adrift of safety back then and even though local-lad Howe had always been a popular figure at Dean Court, I reckon his promotion from boss of the centre of excellence did not inspire thoughts of a great escape.
The Cherries celebrate their promotion. Photo: PA
It didn't start well either as Howe's two games in temporary charge ended in defeat, yet the new manager inspired an up-turn in form that ensured his side finished the season five points clear of the drop zone.
And a steady succession of injuries quickly made light of those scant resources, to the extent that Bournemouth's campaign is undoubtedly a story of success in the face of adversity by a group of players that refused to make an excuse of the obstacles in their way.
Saturday's match was just the ninth time this season that Howe has been able to name a full bench of seven players; often he has only been able to select three or four.
Assistant boss Jason Tindall, twice retired, has been called back into action and numerous players have been asked to play out of position. Liam Feeney has battled through most of the campaign despite carrying a muscle strain.
Several times Howe has been unsure whether talented teenager Jayden Stockley would be available because of the young striker's school commitments as he works towards his GCSE exams.
Bournemouth have not signed any players permanently since the January 2009 transfer window and the Football League has restricted them to three emergency loans during the current season. One of those - goalkeeper Marek Stech - made his only appearance in the 5-0 defeat at Morecambe.
The efforts of chairman Eddie Mitchell, who missed Saturday's match after being stranded abroad by the current flight chaos, led to the transfer embargo being relaxed in late March but that happened too late to have any impact on this season.
Brett Pitman's goals have been vital to Bournemouth's campaign. He scored his 27th on Saturday with a superbly taken second-half strike. Danny Hollands, the next highest scorer, has just seven and the fact that Pitman has missed just one game all season has undoubtedly been a crucial factor in their promotion.
I was very impressed with midfielder Marvin Bartley against the Brewers, while Shwan Jalal made a save of rare quality with the match evenly poised in the first half. Skipper Jason Pearce, 22, is the essence of commitment and it is clear that the Cherries do not lack quality.
When Howe was interviewed on Saturday he was quick to deflect the plaudits on to his squad. The gist of his argument is that you don't win things without good players.
But as Pitman acknowledged it is basically the same squad as last season's strugglers that has won promotion this term - and for this reason huge credit must go to Howe.
Pitman is one of many to have compared Howe to former boss Sean O'Driscoll. Both are intelligent men and are very thorough in their preparation.
Cherries legend Steve Fletcher, who was brought back to the club by Howe, six years his junior, in January 2009, told me: "Eddie's feet are on the ground and he is so level headed - I think he has a great personality for a manager.
"As a close friend of his I know he is very passionate. I have seen the preparation and the effort that he puts in to his job."
After Bournemouth's second goal at Burton just about everyone connected with the club seemed lost in a moment of ecstasy.
All, that is, except Howe, who afforded himself a smile and scratched an itch at the back of his head. It was an act of almost impossible cool. I was staggered that he could keep his emotions so well contained.
It was the same before the match as he sat casually in the dug-out as his players went through their warm-up routines. Ditto afterwards as he shook supporters hands and answered questions from the media.
Standing in his technical area during the game in his casual sports gear, Howe seemed to be without a care in the world; like someone who stumbled across a game of park football as he took a stroll and decided to watch for a few minutes.
Yet his achievement in steering the Cherries to promotion this season cannot be put down as a fluke. It is the product of hard work, dedication and a style of man-management that has ensured his group of players will run through walls for him.
After the game he was keen to stress that he would be at the club next season. That must come as a huge relief to all associated with the club because I reckon that he is undoubtedly the manager of the year in the Football League.
There are plenty of other worthy contenders - Chris Hughton, Paul Lambert and Keith Hill spring to mind - but what Howe has done in the face of huge adversity is extraordinary.
I just hope that a man with such an even temperament is able to let himself go and bask in his success for a little while.