Sunday, 20 May 2018

Top southern team should only be the start of AFCB's ambitions

The fans at Bournemouth certainly recognise that the Cherries have out done all the other south coast clubs this season. They may not have beaten Southampton in matches or got a double over Brighton, but they have finished higher in the table and where are Pompey?
Top of the lot!
Banter aside, it is progress that AFCB have managed to climb above the other south coast clubs as it has been too many years where they have been seen as the little side and now they are not the poor relation, but the ones setting the standard for others to come after. The difficulty will be in trying to make it a regular outcome to finish top in the south, and if Eddie Howe can do that AFCB will become a much more respected club. Then, maybe, some of the local games will develop more into derby games, which I think we all want.

Bournemouth have to be successful to become a team that are seen as a big club on the south coast. Being in the Premier League is a big step in itself, but repeating the feat of beating Southampton and Brighton has to be the minimum every season at this level. It is not going to be easy with Brighton having had a great season and now knowing exactly what they need to survive, while Southampton have had a scare, and as long as they make some right choices in the summer, they are going to be a stronger side next time around.


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It all comes down to recruitment for me. Eddie Howe asked for funds to get AFCB to the next level, and if he needs that to get the club into the top 10, I expect he will be given it. AFCB only played 21 players this season in the Premier League which is the fewest of any club and he needs to broaden the base of the quality at the club, as injuries have often left him having to play people out of position.

If Howe can get to the stage where he has two players that are as good as one another in the same position, they will become stronger and they'll need to be to beat the other south coast clubs in 2018/19.

Saturday, 19 May 2018

Liverpool target signs new Cherries' deal

It was in July 2016 that Lewis Cook first signed for the Cherries and Leeds Utd were loathed to let him go. The lure of the Premier League was too much though and a chance to work with Eddie Howe was something that Lewis clearly looked forward to, but with his strong playing performance in 2017/18 and England call ups, AFCB needed to act fast to give him an improved contract to prevent any interest building in him over the summer.
Lewis delights Eddie Howe and will become a centre-piece of AFCB's team
having signed a new four-year deal.
This is a big four-year deal for Lewis Cook and AFCB. The club has tied-up a player who is likely to become an England regular in the next few years and by sealing the deal of such a quality player it will help other players looking to get to that standard believe that they can do so at AFCB.

Eddie Howe has a fondness for young English players who he can develop and improve and Lewis fits the bill. Building a team around him and Nathan AkΓ© will surely be the mainstay of the Bournemouth team going forward. Finding a central midfielder of equal promise and attracting them to the club will be something that we may see solved this summer. Cook has played well mainly with Dan Gosling, but has also played several games with Andrew Surman and has not really been out of the side for any length of time since December such has been Cook's consistency.

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To do that while all the excitement of England call ups was going around shows what a great talent Lewis Cook is and how dedicated he is to AFCB and the game. Of all the signatures this summer there might not be a important signing, but Lewis will also know there are areas of his game that he needs to improve on for next season and if he does not go away with England, as seems to be the case, it will enable Eddie Howe to spend even more time with the midfielder to get him just right during pre-season. But Lewis Cook has already been picked to play for the England U21s in Toulon, as well as AFCB keeper Aaron Ramsdale this summer.

The new contract will be a blow to Liverpool who were said to be watching Lewis Cook, but there likelihood of signing him now has been blown out of the water, knowing that the player has already agreed terms on a better contract at AFCB.

Premier League Football Fan Survey
Jack Stansfield is studying a master’s degree in sport and exercise psychology at Northumbria University and he has created a thesis project that looks at Premier League fans’ team identification, i.e. how well they support and identify with their team. He needs fans of all Premier League football clubs fill out a relatively short questionnaire of 37 questions looking at team identification and satisfaction with life; it should take no longer than 10 minutes. If you can participate please do by clicking this link.

Friday, 18 May 2018

Bournemouth go into pre-season with a bounce in their step

You can't have a bigger high than a last gasp winner in a football game. Callum Wilson will have been delighted to end the season with a goal and a match winning one and while he will be itching to get going again next season, the whole AFCB team can be proud of what they achieved at Burnley and over the course of the season.
Back-to-back wins will enable AFCB players to hit pre-season with optimism.
If AFCB had lost on the last day it would have been thoughts of a season that was just full of trouble and AFCB had had a bit of an escape. Well, 42 points might not be record breaking but back-to back wins, home and away should not be sniffed at. Burnley had a strong home record and AFCB had never won there in 14 attempts so a mental barrier was broken with the 1-2 win and the Cherries had not won away since 31 January.

Eddie Howe will have ticked off a lot of annoying stats after the Burnley game. Bournemouth might not have reached their pre-game target of a top 10 finish, but they were only nine goals or a point away from finishing 10th, so it was not a disappointment to get as close as that.

Now the Cherries have to recharge their batteries and I think they will look at the Burnley game and believe they could play as well as they did in the second half to win more games next season. If there has been one criticism this season it is that AFCB have not found form for 90 minutes nearly often enough. The Chelsea away win was an exception, but Eddie Howe will be going over why it was that they got the preparation so right for that game as they did for the Burnley away match.

It is always better to go into preseason on a bit of a high and with the last two games adding six points to AFCB's points total there is a freshness of victory that the club can now carry through the summer and try and get the start they really want next season. 

In other news, Artur Boruc signed a one-year extension to his contract at AFCB. The Daily Record also reports that Stephen Gerrard would like Jermain Defoe at Rangers next season.

Thursday, 17 May 2018

Would Howe be tempted by Everton approach?

I was at ease a few days ago when Everton were considering the sacking of Sam Allardyce. They are a club that remain in the shadow of Liverpool and really need to re-find the identity that they had back in the Howard Kendall era, when Eddie Howe used to follow them. But now attention might be turning away from Marco Silva to Eddie Howe to replace Allardyce, and I have to wonder would it be a good move for Eddie Howe?
Eddie Howe has been manager at AFCB in his second spell since October 2012.
Just for a moment let's come off our AFCB seat and look at this from the point of view of an up an coming manager that is the longest serving manager at a Premier League club with the chance to manage a top 10 club that has ambitions for European football and more. Now this is also a club that Eddie Howe loved as a boy and became a big fan of by the late 1980s. Merseyside is a football hotbed of fans, and if Howe was to do well at Everton then the England manager's job would be almost nailed on at a later date. 

Now balance that with the thoughts of Howe knows how AFCB runs inside out and he has the freedom to make the calls on most major decisions, if not all of them. Is there much more that he can do at AFCB? And does he like to take risks or is he a one club manager? What would failure at Everton mean for his career? 

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We can only guess what the list might look like on each side of the equation for Howe, but the ultimate question he would ask himself is whether he is happy managing at AFCB and if that is enough for him at the moment? If he were to be approached and turn down the Everton job, then that is something he would have to live with. Would better jobs be likely to pop up in the next few years for him? 

Howe also would have to consider what he felt about the stability of Everton as a club. It is a club that has had five managers (counting David Unsworth twice) since the sacking of Roberto Martinez in June 2016 - just two years ago!  Everton are impatient for success. But for the rescue act that Sam Allardyce did this season they could have finished lower than the Cherries. Is Eddie Howe sure he could get Everton on track to challenge the top six, knowing that the club spent heavily last summer and is perhaps not going to give him the same purse strings as they gave Ronald Koeman?

Whatever conclusion Eddie comes to, there is no better place to be on view than in the Premier League and AFCB fans will know that it will be very difficult to replace the man that has guided them up the divisions to the Premier League and kept them there. Success brings popularity and even if some other managers have higher stock, the mood around the Premier League is that clubs no longer want the old stand-ins that have done it all before and they are willing to give new talent a chance at bigger clubs. Annoyingly for AFCB fans, good English managers are a rare commodity and while AFCB stay in the Premier League, Eddie Howe's stock will continue to grow until he will become a manager that is sought after by the bigger clubs. This may not be the time for Howe to move but we will find it difficult to keep interested parties away from Eddie Howe in the months and years to come unless Eddie makes it his want not to leave the area or the club that has made his name.

What is your all time favourite scoreline?
Clothes2order are running a survey on fans' most popular score. I chose AFC Bournemouth 4 v 3 Liverpool in 2016, but you might have a different game that made you smile even more. You can post your favourite game on the link here and help Clothes2order complete their survey.

In other news, Lewis Cook is only on standby for World Cup England squad

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

AFCB have to find a permanent home for striker

AFCB have seen Benik Afobe go out on loan and help Wolves progress to the Premier League, but the Bournemouth Echo understands that the midland's club have been given an ultimatum to make up their mind on the player before the end of May, if they want to buy him. There is no indication of what kind of fee AFCB would want. but the player has certainly indicated plenty of times that he wants to play his football at Molineux.
One striker up for sale.
AFCB of course would like to get Afobe off the wage bill as soon as possible so that they an reinvest the finds elsewhere, and while Wolves sold him for £10m to AFCB it is arguable that he hasn't added much value to that price-tag, even if he has played game sin the Premier League. While Afobe's wishes to stay at Wolves he could find the club are not willing to meet AFCB's valuation and I think that would leave Afobe in a difficult place.


Other Championship teams could well be interested if the price was right for them, but if Afobe wants to play in the Premier League he may find he does not get the option this summer to play there. He has kind of burnt his links with AFCB and I can't see him staying at the Cherries now, but AFCB may have to brig their valuation down by late July if he is still on their books.

Afobe's been a disappointing buy from an AFCB point of view and while he has found some form in the Championship, he is not a player that teams in the Premier are likely to be fighting to get hold of. Eddie Howe has been very loyal to Afobe when the fans have probably wanted him to go sooner, but this summer Afobe is one of the payers AFCB do have to find a new permanent home for. Offers will be welcome for sure.

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

What can we tell you about - Dean Court Days?

Cherry Chimes is pleased to bring to your attention a new biography of a Bournemouth manager that really first excited me about the Cherries and certainly had a massive impact on my good friend and fellow AFCB supporter, Michael Dunne, known to all Bournemouth fans as All Departments. Michael has delved meticulously into Harry Redknapp's life and has written Dean Court Days, which is out today!

First of all, thanks to Peter for allowing me to publicise Dean Court Days on Cherry Chimes and for all of his hard work with this blog over the years.

There were many occasions growing up in Christchurch in the 1980s when I would see Harry Redknapp in mundane circumstances. Collecting his boys from school, filling up his car at the petrol station and mowing the front lawn at his home on Old Barn Road were not unusual sights. None of that humdrum activity ever reduced my boyish awe when in his vicinity. In fact, it probably increased as a result. I couldn't believe he could be a football manager and pop to the local shop for a newspaper. It seemed, to my pre-pubescent eyes, almost superhuman.


This exaggerated sense of hero worship arose during the early years of a lifelong obsession with football in general and our mighty Cherries in particular. I regularly tumbled into a state of giddy excitement simply at the thought that there was a Football League club quite near my house. The run down and frankly dangerous condition of the old Dean Court was a barely acknowledged irrelevance, so absorbed was I in what appeared to be a magic show going on out on the pitch.

This blissful naivety of my early youth has faded somewhat over the years, but it has never been completely extinguished and it was my eternal love of AFC Bournemouth that led me to write Dean Court Days. Whenever I thumbed through the pages of a Harry Redknapp biography, I was always disappointed by the brevity of material dealing with our former manager’s years at Bournemouth. In Harry’s first autobiography, his four year playing stint with the Cherries in the early 1970s was covered in just a handful of paragraphs. It was as if the years that mattered the most to me in his long career in football were little more than an irrelevance to the general public, with Redknapp’s time at West Ham, Portsmouth and Tottenham taking on far greater importance. 

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As a result of this frustration, I decided to write a book which focused on Redknapp’s entire career at Dean Court as player, coach and manager. Not being blessed with a great deal of spare time, it was a lengthy process, but one which consistently surprised me. The willingness of Harry and his ex-players and teammates to talk about the old days was heart warming, as were the little nuggets of information and anecdotes unearthed by various methods of research. Most surprising of all was the cooperation of Harry himself. Having been involved in what I assume were several reasonably lucrative book projects already, he had no compelling reason to help me, but Harry willingly gave his time and was very supportive throughout.

Making a contribution to the relatively small number of books that have been published about the Cherries is an extremely rewarding experience. I know that there is at least one more book coming out about Bournemouth this year and I hope that others follow in the near future as my Cherry library will never be closed for business.

Peter will be featuring a few exerts from Dean Court Days in the coming weeks. If you are interested in reading the book in full, then click here.


The book is now in stock!

ASK Fans - End of season thoughts and Burnley report

Daily Mail Fans View - Season Verdict

Demarai Grey is back on AFCB's target list, reports the Leicester Mercury

Monday, 14 May 2018

Wilson's last minute goal at Burnley was payback for his torment

The smile on Callum Wilson's face was as broad as anyone's at Turf Moor. He had some bragging rights to try and salvage with Josh King on a run of goals that had taken him above Callum in the last game, before Wilson had a chance to finish the season with an added time winner at Burnley.
Wilson comes good.
I imagine Wilson had a few very kind words to say to the unselfish Jermain Defoe, after the number 18 squared the ball to Wilson to give him the opportunity to score. Both strikers wanted to go to the World Cup this summer and it is likely that neither of them will be on the plane, but we got a sense of what might have been this season with Wilson and Defoe finally linking well and putting the ball in the back of the net.

Callum has had a bit of a horror show this season since January in front of goal, but he has not hidden and was still trying to do all he could to score when it wasn't happening for him. He sounded hurt that he had been dropped for the match against Burnley, but responded in the right manner by coming on and attacking from the first moment he got on the pitch.

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Now that he has had a good part of a season that has been injury-free it is hoped that Callum can do even better in 2018/19. He will expect to be the main man come next August, and the goal at Burnley should help him to feel once again that he has the ability to be a 20 goal a season man at this level if he can play for a whole season having had a strong pre-season.

It may not be too long before we see Callum Wilson and Lewis Cook playing for England, and I'm sure that Lewis' call ups will make Callum all the more determined to try and get in the England team come the start of next season.
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