EDDIE Howe insists he has no regrets at taking the Burnley job - and wouldn’t rule out a return in future.
The 34-year-old left Turf Moor for former club Bournemouth on Friday after a drawn-out affair.
He has returned home for personal reasons, 22 months after making the reverse journey, replacing Brian Laws.
And he feels he leaves the next incumbent with a talented young squad to build on.
Howe looked back on his time at Turf Moor: “I have no regrets whatsoever, it was a fantastic honour to be Burnley manager.
“I’m very proud to have played a part in the club’s history.
“I’m just sad we couldn’t have been more successful and win more games.
“But I also leave with no regrets either, I just hope Burnley have a successful future.
“Jason and I put everything into the job, it was a challenging job, but very enjoyable.
“There were a lot of changes after we took over - we had to reduce the wage bill and bring in transfer fees by selling our star players, and to remain competitive in the Championship was tough, but I think we did that.
“Hopefully the best is still to come from the squad.
“Hopefully we have guided the club through a difficult period, and the next man can take things on.”
With four years in management already under his belt at a relatively tender age, asked whether he may one day return to finish what he started, he smiled: “You can never rule anything out in football, some strange things happen - who knows where my career will go in the future?
“I just desperately want to be successful and do my best in what is a volatile job.”
Howe’s first signing for the club looks like being his most important - with Charlie Austin currently the country’s leading goalscorer, and he admitted: “Charlie has done brilliantly for us - he had a difficult time with his shoulder, and he would have helped us push up the table when he first arrived had that not happened.
“But he has got better and better, he has been almost unplayable at times.
“He has an incredible record and hopefully can continue that and score even more goals.
“He’s a great lad as well and I believe he will continue to flourish.
“But there is Kieran Trippier as well, Junior Stanislas just gets better, Danny Ings is hopefully close to returning, and he will be a top player.
“Ben Mee is improving as well - the future looks good.”
Howe made changes on and off the pitch, with the redevelopment of the first team facilities at Gawthorpe high on his list: “Gawthorpe was one of the first priorities we had, looking to change the infrastructure.
“For the future of the club we felt we had to improve things, and with the help of the board we were able to upgrade the training ground.
“We wanted to attract the best players we couldm and now there are the facilities to compete, something we are very proud of.
“We thought long-term with every decision we made, with the scouting nextwork as well, and hopefully that will bear fruit.
“There are the young professionals we took on last year from the successful youth team - Stevie Hewitt, Cameron Howieson, Shay McCartan, Luke Conlan - they are a really talented bunch and hopefully they will come through over the next couple of years.
“But the challenge short-term was to get results, and I’m sure results will improve.
“The talent is there.”
That was proven on occasion, and one of Howe’s biggest disappointments was a lack of consistency: “It’s fair to say circumstances changes in terms of the finances of the club and people at the club - there was an economic downturn around the country, and it impacts on business.
“We had to sell four or five top players and cut the wage bill and try and produce a winning team.
“We had to start bringing in younger players, and we feel those players will hugely benefit the club now they have some experience.
“We had some great days - we did okay in the derbies apart from Blackpool away.
“I remember scoring the winner in front of a full away stand at Preston, where the supporters were magnificent - I’ll never forget that.
“West Ham was a great day, Blackpool at home last season was as well as we played, Forest at home, the wins at Portsmouth...we showed glimpses of what we were capable of, and now need to do that more consistently.”
Saturday was also a good day as he was welcomed home, and he said: “It was good in terms of the reception we got, and the result, so from that perspective it was a great day.
“Bournemouth was the only club I would have left Burnley for, and there were personal reasons behind why I wantes to leave.
“Bournemouth is a very special place for me, and I’ll be close to my family, which is important at this time.
“It was a huge decision - I was proud to be manager of Burnley Football Club and it’s history, and I will always have very good memories of the club, and the people.
“It was very difficult to leave.”