Eddie Howe awarded Freedom of Bournemouth

Freedom of Bournemouth ceremony Image copyright Bournemouth Borough Council
Image caption The title of Freedom of the Borough entitles recipients to be addressed as 'Mr Freeman'

AFC Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe has been awarded the Freedom of the Borough for his key role in the club's rise.

The council's "highest mark of esteem" was granted after he took the Cherries from League Two to the Premier League.

Howe thanked the club's "incredible fans" while accepting the award at the authority's last full meeting.

The title of Freedom of the Borough entitles recipients to a reserved seat at council meetings and church services.

Eddie Howe was appointed as Bournemouth's caretaker manager in 2009 when the club was 91st in the league pyramid and facing relegation and possible liquidation.

Image copyright Steve Bardens/Getty Images
Image caption Eddie Howe led Bournemouth from near liquidation to the Premier League

Under his leadership, the club was promoted to the Premier League for the first time in its history in 2015.

He is now the longest serving manager with one club in England's top flight.

Prior to moving into management Howe previously played for Bournemouth before his career was cut short by injury.

Speaking at a ceremony held during the Bournemouth Borough Council meeting, the 41-year-old said the award, which also allows him to be addressed as "Mr Freeman", was a "great honour".

'Fondness and admiration'

"The group of supporters, from whenever I took over and whenever I played, they've just been incredible," he said.

"That support is more important than anything. I'd like to thank every supporter form the bottom of my heart."

Council leader John Beesley spoke of Bournemouth's "eternal fondness and admiration" for Howe.

Granting the honour was the last decision that Bournemouth Borough Council took before it merges with neighbouring Poole and Christchurch councils as part of a restructuring of local government in Dorset.

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