Eddie Howe has credited Brett Pitman’s pivotal role in AFC Bournemouth’s remarkable success.
And the Cherries boss is adamant he ‘wouldn’t be sitting here today’ had it not been for the Pompey striker’s immense contribution.
Bournemouth currently stand sixth in the Premier League – three points clear of Manchester United.
Now celebrating their fourth-successive season in the top flight, a book has been released to mark the club’s improbable rise through the divisions.
AFC Bournemouth: The Fall & Rise, written by Neil Meldrum, contains fresh interviews with key figures behind the club’s elevation from the foot of League Two to their present placing.
Manager Howe is among the many contributors.
And he has described the crucial role of Blues skipper Pitman, who won three promotions and scored 96 league goals during his Cherries days.
Howe told AFC Bournemouth: The Fall & Rise: ‘Brett was a decision I wasn’t relishing at all that summer.
'I’d spent so long working with him that it was always going to be tough, but I called him into the office and told him that I was more than happy for him to remain at the club and be part of the squad but I couldn’t promise him game time.
‘He knew we were going to be bringing in other strikers and that he would potentially be more of a squad player so he made the decision to go to Ipswich because he wanted to play regularly.
‘I can only speak highly of Brett for everything he achieved here.
‘He was great to have around and a very determined character who wanted to succeed at the club.
‘The goals he scored in League Two, League One and the Championship were key to the club’s rise and I can honestly say without Brett, I wouldn’t be sitting here today.
‘In terms of finishing ability, he’s right up there with the very best players I have worked with, but it’s very hard to compare him with anyone else because he is such a unique player.
‘He will go down in the history of this club because of everything he achieved here and how he was as a professional.’
AFC Bournemouth: The Fall & Rise, published by Pitch Publishing, is available from Amazon