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Association Football Club Bournemouth: Behind The Club

In this series, we profile one Premier League team each week, looking at some of the History, Records and Trivia associated with each club. This week we profile AFC Bournemouth. Join us on a journey from 1890 to 2017 as we go, Behind the Club.

In 1899, Boscombe St. John’s Institute FC reformed as Boscombe FC. The club played only in a local junior league until 1905, when they graduated to senior amateur football.

In 1910, President J.E Cooper-Dean granted Boscombe a lease on some local land, to become their home ground. The stadium was named Dean court in his honour and Boscombe began to dominate local football.

Over the next few years, the club developed the nickname “The Cherries”. The exact origin of the nickname is disputed, many believing it is simply a reference to the club’s red and black strip, while others believe it refers to the cherry orchards, rumoured to be located nearby the Cooper-Dean estate in years gone by.

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The club began competing in the FA Cup in 1913, and after the Football league’s hiatus during WWI, Boscombe were promoted to the newly formed Southern League (Division 3). In 1923, they became Bournemouth and Boscombe Athletic FC.

Initially, they struggled as a third division club, but eventually established themselves. They managed to remain in the third division until 1970, when they were relegated to Division 4, but immediately bounced back the following season. At this point in 1971, the club made its final name change, becoming AFC Bournemouth.

Bournemouth skirted between division 3 and 4 for the next 16 years, during which time a young manager by the name of Harry Redknapp took charge. He guided them to a famous FA cup victory over Manchester United in 1984, then oversaw the club’s first ever promotion to the second tier of English football.

They returned to the third tier in acrimonious circumstances in 1990 as a 1-0 home loss to Leeds condemned the Cherries to the drop while also confirming Leeds’ promotion. Crowd trouble marred the occasion for Leeds and Bournemouth were banned from hosting games on Bank Holidays indefinitely (the next one happened in 2003).

Having failed to bounce back at the first attempt, Redknapp and Bournemouth parted. Redknapp cited financial pressures as his main reason for leaving and his replacement Tony Pulis lasted only two seasons before himself walking out for the same reason.

The same pattern followed for the next ten years, the Cherries yo-yoing up and down between the third and fourth tiers. They hit a low point in 2008, forced into administration with debts of around £4 million, they were relegated to the fourth tier once more and began the following season with a 17-point deduction.

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Caretaker boss Eddie Howe managed to steer them to safety with a game to spare, a feat Cherries fans call “The Great Escape”. The following season, Howe guided them to promotion, before leaving to manage Burnley.

He returned less than three seasons later and led them to the second tier at the first attempt. Within two seasons Howe had again won promotion with Bournemouth, winning the Championship to take them to the top flight for the first time in their history.

Despite one of the smallest budgets in the league, the smallest stadium to ever host Premier League games and an overwhelming opinion from fans and pundits that they would immediately be relegated, Bournemouth have survived the last two seasons.

Eddie Howe remains at the helm, and has received huge plaudits for his work with the club. He has been tipped by many to be a future England manager, but his focus for now remains on securing Premier League survival with Bournemouth.

Records and Trivia:

In 2003-04, Bournemouth’s James Hayter scored the fastest hat-trick in Football league history in a 6-0 win over Wrexham, only 2 minutes and 17 seconds passing between his first and third goals.

The season before, Bournemouth became the first team to score five goals at the Millennium Stadium, defeating Lincoln City 2-5 in the Division Three play-off final.

The player with the most league appearances for Bournemouth is club Legend Steve Fletcher, who played 493 times over his 15 years as a player at the club.

The Cherries record signing is Nathan Ake, the dutch defender signed from Chelsea in June for £20 million.

Bournemouth lie 42nd in the all-time Premier League table, wedges in between Oldham Athletic and Bradford City, both of whom only had two seasons in the top-flight, though Oldham’s came in a time when there were 42 games in a season.

Best Performances:

Football League: 9th, 2016/17

FA Cup: Quarter Finals, 1956/57

Football League Cup: Last 16 (2), 1961/62, 1963/64

Champions League/European Competition: N/A

Written by Sam Hanys.

Sam Hanys

Ipswich Town fan and Loughborough University student.

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