Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Time to hand out the gongs

It's that tie of year when all the gongs are being handed out to players who have performed exceedingly well in the last season. At the weekend we heard that Gareth Bale had been voted PFA player of the year and PFA young of player of the year by his fellow professionals. You'll also see that the PFA League One team of the year was named, so how did AFCB fare? 

Matt Ritchie
It won't surprise you to know that Matt Ritchie, who has already been named League One player of the year is in the team. However, the authorities have also seen fit to select both of AFCB's wing backs in Simon Francis and Charlie Daniels in the final 11. There is no place for Tommy Elphick who virtually swept the Cherries awards this season or for the influential Harry Arter or goal scoring sensation Brett Pitman.

Simon Francis
Charlie Daniels
Of course not all the places can go to AFCB players, by the way we had the most players in the best 11, although Matt Ritchie clearly did a lot for Swindon's great season as well. I was surprised that MK Dons did not get a player in the team when they have players of the calibre of Dean Bowditch and Stephen Gleeson.

Check out all the winners in League One's best team http://www1.skysports.com/football/news/11095/8679118

I wonder if any of the 8 non-AFCB players in that best 11 for  League One would be a good addition to AFCB's team for next season? Could Yeovil's Patrick Madden do as good a goal scoring job in the Championship as he has done in League One? Could we bolster our midfield with a powerful player like Notts County's Alan Judge?

In the end of the day it is all personal opinion who people think are the best players, but I guess it all looks pretty good on the old CV if you happen to pick up an award.

Monday, 29 April 2013

Early departure for Charlie Sherringham

Charlie Sherringham will be a free agent this summer with AFCB deciding not to extend his contract after 18 months at the Goldsands stadium. The club website says that Charlie had a meeting with Eddie Howe and Jason Tindall today and that they ''reluctantly decided to let him go."

I thought Charlie Sherringham was a good prospect at 24 years old, but with the team now about to play in the Championship there are some tough decisions for Eddie and Jason to make about the squad, and if that means trimming the numbers and buying in even higher quality we should not be surprised at such decisions.

The timing is very quick after all of yesterday's celebrations but it shows that AFCB is already preparing for the next phase of its development and the Championship is a big step up in quality. On last night's Late Kick off South the Doncaster chairman was quoted as saying, ''it is like going up two leagues when you get promoted from League One.''

The jump in level is likely to be too great for some and we have to trust that Eddie and Jason will do what is best for the players and for AFC Bournemouth as Championship football awaits. 

Fans turn out for Open-Bus Tour

While I sadly did not make it back to see AFCB celebrate in Bournemouth Square yesterday it seems that enough of you did manage to make it to bring the place to a standstill. It is no more than the team has deserved after finishing second in League One after a magnificent campaign.

A big thank you to Michael Dunne (All Departments) who kindly sent in all the pictures on this story of the Bus Tour as it left the Goldsands stadium.

The lack of a trophy in the need did not really matter although I have to say Steve Fletcher's interview after the Tranmere match on Cherries Player is a must see if you have not already heard Steve express his disappointment in not having the chance to lift some silverware this season. Eddie also sounds a little choked at the support we gave the team on Saturday and I have no doubt that he and the boys will have been moved by so many turning out to see them on the bus.

In some ways I don't think it is such a bad thing that there is still a space in the cabinet for a big trophy at AFCB. Okay the players won't receive winners medals but their desire and need to be the best will live on and that could push them to even greater heights in the Championship. We have some big matches next year and this young team is capable of more special things.

Cherry Chimes looks forward to following their progress as we meet the next challenge and take on the Championship. While the stories may slow over the summer Cherry Chimes will continue to comment on AFCB whenever there is something to say and if you have something to share with fellow AFCB supporters why not write in to us?

Contact Cherry Chimes by email: Bellp2103@gmail.com

UTCIAD! Thanks to everyone at AFCB and all you supporters for making this such a memorable season.

Sunday, 28 April 2013

No trophy but a great season for AFCB

Match Report

Tranmere 0 v 0 AFCB
17 April 2013
Attendance 6745

Prenton Park soaks up the sunshine 
AFCB players get their elastic bands out for stretching exercises

Spot the Tranmere fan

We all knew some 10 games ago that it was going to be a special occasion when AFCB supporters would make the trip up to the Wirral on 27 April. What we did not know then was whether it would be important for a play-off place, automatic promotion or even the title.

Players line up before the match

Teams enter Prenton Park 

As Tranmere Rovers' challenge has faded it was only the Cherries that really had anything to play for in this game and the expectation of becoming the Champions of League One had the 2000 or more travelling fans in party mood right from the off with balloons, inflatables and fancy dress characters the order of the day. Tranmere stewards and fans looked on bemused at what could have been for them as we taunted their demise and informed the stewards that, "we've got inflatables.''

Did someone say no inflatables? Oh well.

The pitch was looking pretty ropey with hollows and sand all over the place and some big wet puddles where the sprinklers had soaked some patches that did not drain away. Still the sun was shining and there was a match to win and the banter started almost immediately with Tranmere's Robinson hoofing his cross into the Cowshed end much to the delight of the Cherry fans who shouted, ''that's why you're not going up."

Harry Arter was the first AFCB player to have a shot at goal after 3 minutes and Grabban tried to follow up but was just a bit  too slow.

Tranmere were managing to cope with the bobbly pitch with Bakayogo and Sidibe trying to find away past Bourenmouth's back line.

Ritchie then fed a strong cross in for Grabban, but he could not reach it in time. A few moment s later Ritchie tried again to centre a ball only for it to fall behind Pugh. Arter was doing his best to get Grabban through while Shaun MacDonald was the one doing most to break up Tranmere's play in midfield.

Steve Cook had Sidibe virtually in his pocket all day. Every time Sidibe was chasing with the ball with Cook in attendance, Cook would win out. Pitman was winning headers up front but Grabban wasn't getting the breaks.

Arter though was striding forwards and would have had goal of the season if he had converted after 23 minutes having run the length of the pitch with the ball glued to his foot.

Tranmere too were crossing from the right with Robinson but Allsop was catching the ball cleanly under the posts.

Ritchie also did some defensive work, shepherding out the ball from Bakayogo when another Tranmere attack faded away. 

Pugh and Daniels were not able to get their free flowing moves working well in the first half, although AFCB were winning corners and after 33 minutes a Pugh corner was dummied by Pitman for Francis to strike but the ball was snatched away from him before he could let a shot go.

My favourite moment of the half came when Allsop received a tricky back pass that left him facing Akpa Akpro, whom he neatly side stepped and cleared when AFCB hearts were in their mouths for a second or two. "And that's why we are going up,'' sang the Red Army.

While MacDonald had a strong run up the left wing that went nowhere in the end, there was a feeling that AFCB had started to play to their strengths now with some great interplay in the middle of the park between Arter, Ritchie and Pitman. Such a build up led to a weak shot from Pugh in the box which the keeper easily gathered after 40 minutes.

Arter was showing some of his powerful running game which was sounding alarm bells for Tranmere's back four and if he had seen Pugh, darting in from the left, a break through might have come before half time. As it was, it was Tranmere pressing after MacDonald gave away a foul for what looked a reasonable attempt at a tackle.

Grabban then almost had a gift when their fall back slipped but Grabban dallied and failed get past the centre half before the fall back recovered and the chance was gone. Half Time.

Half Time was quite an event because a large throng of Bournemouth fans had decided to party hard in front of the bar below the Cowshed stand. The noise was deafening as the fans celebrated being top of the league, while stewards and the police looked on wondering whether things were going to get out of hand. I was just glad the rest rooms were away from the boisterous celebrations or things could have got nasty if I had to sit through a further 45 minutes with my legs crossed.

In the second half AFCB attacked down the right wing at first with MacDonald and Francis who crossed to Arter, but he shot wide. 

Tranmere had a corner that Stockton headed but it went out for another corner. Tranmere were upping their game an a few moments later Elphick made a big saving tackle. Tranmere's Robinson was making the most runs.

AFCB were also pressing to get the goal with Arter and Ritchie looking most likely.

Robinson again was prepared to shoot at any opportunity and shot wide after 53 minutes. It was a case of your go, our go, for a while but AFCB fans were frustrated when Arter came in from the right heading right across the box beating players but failing to get his shot off.

Pugh then made a good run on the left and found Pitman free in their box but his header was planted right into the keeper's hands. Pugh himself then shot wide to the left of goal. Ritchie and Daniels were also more influential now but no one had brought their finishing boots today.

Tranmere made a double substitution on 65 minutes taking off Sidibe and brought on McGurk, then subbing Robinson for Bell-Baggie. Bell-Baggie reminded me of Shaun Wright-Philips on the right and he immediately had a shot that went out for a corner.

Daniels and Pugh were working hard on the left but were not having their usual success. Meanwhile, Tranmere would break fast with Bell-Baggie their quick outlet, scampering down the right wing.

MacDonald then went down with cramp in his own box in what was his first start for a while with O'Kane being injured. AFCB brought on McQuoid and Hughes to replace Grabban and MacDonald on with 15 minutes to go.

Arter than made a great play on the left rounding the full back and gliding along the dead ball line before reaching the six yard area and trying to pull back the ball for someone to tap in but he could not find anyone who had made a run.

Pitman was doing his best at getting angry at everyone who did not make the perfect pass as the frustration mounted. He hit a good shot that the keeper saved stretching high to his left.

Tranmere had an effort from McGurk that Allsop saved well before Stockton could get there. Tranmere then subbed Palmer and brought on Harrison.

McQuoid was dithering most of the time and not managing to get the ball from out of his feet. Francis was pinging crosses in but nothing was really working. Even when Hughes fed in McQuiod on the penalty spot he shot wide when the goal was gaping.

Ritchie and Pugh carved out another chance only for Pugh to head wide while Elphick was still having to make some big tackles at the other end. 

Arter was then booked for taking down his man in a miss timed tackle as full time approached.

The huge cheers of the day took place then when Super Fletch replaced Ritchie with chants of: ''if Fletcher scores we're on the pitch.'' But it was not to be.

Trophy snatched away from AFCB's grasp
As the whistle went and the crowds flooded on to the pitch we all waited for news from the Brentford and Doncaster match. Still 0:0 things were looking good, then Brentford had a penalty, even better we thought. Trotter had stepped up and hit the bar unknown to us and Donny had gone down the other end with Paynter and Coppinger and had won the game in injury time. Donny were champs and AFCB were second.

Good news at first, AFCB could be champions

Bournemouth fans await the Brentford and Doncaster result 

The air in our lungs had been sucked out just like the beach balls had been deflated by the smiling stewards. It was the end of the season and it had left with a whimper on the pitch but we were still going to celebrate out team's achievement even if there would be no cup to show for it.

It's not good news, but second is still a great achievement for AFCB

Long trip home

AFCB Player Ratings
Allsop 6, Francis 7, Cook 8, Elphick 7, Daniels 7, Ritchie 7, Arter 8, MacDonald 8, Pugh 6, Grabban 6, Pitman 7 

My man of the match was Arter although Cook pushed him hard.

AFCB unused Subs: Jalal, Seaborne, Fogden, Tubbs

Saturday, 27 April 2013

AFCB offers sensible season ticket prices

I was delighted to see that AFCB has released the kind of season ticket prices that many of us seem to think is reasonable for next season considering that the team has won promotion.

It would be great to think that Cherry Chimes' look at season ticket prices in the Championship might have had something to do with Mr Mitchell not putting prices through the roof for next season. 

I must admit I was expecting the prices to be higher and will be very pleased to see Championship football with my family at the Goldsands Stadium for an average of £15.22 per game, once I have bought my two Junior Cherry memberships. I don't think many other teams in the Championship will beat that watching in their Family Stands next year.

That will allow Cherry Chimes to take in a few of the away games as well I hope. There could be a number of mouth-watering away fixtures that are not too far for supporters to travel too either next year if some of the southern teams fail to make the Premiership. This would include Brighton, Watford and Crystal Palace but I expect we will lose one of those to the Premiership. Still we will have Reading, Charlton and Millwall which are all fairly close to home. With a bit of luck one of Brentford, Swndon or Yeovil could be joining us as well.

I think there might be a bit of a rush on to book those season tickets. What do you think about next year's season ticket prices?

Enjoy the match today. 

It also looks like there is a lot to look forward to from next August. Championship here we come!!! UTCIAD.

Friday, 26 April 2013

Tranmere v AFCB match preview

The final day of the season for League One teams will soon be here. AFCB have the chance to be Champions if they can get a record 9th win in a row in the league and put a further dampener on Tranmere Rovers last home game of the season.

It has now been made known that Tranmere Rovers are the ones preventing AFCB fans from celebrating with the trophy if the Cherries did become League One Champions on Saturday. It doesn't do the Merseyside club's fans any justice as they might even be appreciative of what the Cherries have achieved this season, but now they too will not be able to watch us lift the trophy either if AFCB win the game.

It was very evident that Carlisle's smurf's were keen to see how AFCB supporters celebrated last weekend and I doubt most Tranmere fans would have had any objections.

While other talk this week has been about the banning of inflatables, it is Tranmere Rovers who ran out of puff during the run-in as AFCB just got stronger and stronger. The Superwhites have been on an abysmal run in March and April, although they have recorded two home wins during this period. It is their form in April that scuppered any hopes they might have had in gaining promotion as they have lost their last five games in tight 1:0 encounters.

Jake Cassidy is their top scorer with 11 goals, but I have been informed that he returned to Wolves in January. Akpa Akpro usually provides great support up front with his physical presence. Midfielder Andy Robinson is also a good goal source having registered 10 this season.

In addition, Tranmere have the delightfully named Max Power who also plays in midfield - I bet he has a good battery! Sorry.

Tranmere have already done Eddie Howe's team talk for him for this game. The promise of no trophy until Sunday if they win should give the boys the incentive to get stuck into the Superwhites. 

I can't see anything other than an away win for this game with the current form of the Cherries. Sure, it won't be easy on the sand bed of a pitch that we will see at Prenton Park, but the Barmy Army voices should inspire the Cherries to a memorable title win.

Then let the partying begin, unless you are a Tranmere official.

Any score predictions are welcome and I'll post them as usual on the site. Can you get the score right for the last game?

Tranmere Rovers Home Form:

AFCB Away Form:

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Is Brett right in saying the Championship will suit AFCB's style of play?

After the post-match celebrations of the weekend and the initial jubilation of the day had calmed down a bit, I was very intrigued to hear Brett Pitman say that he felt that the Championship would suit AFCB's style of play. 

Brett's comments were a great insight into how he sees the task ahead of the Cherries now that they have won promotion from League One - not phased seems to be the message of this team. The challenge of the Championship is something they are going to relish.

One commentator in a weekend paper said that Bournemouth were good value for going up "because they pass teams to death!"

I'm not sure we quite do that, but teams do get tired playing against AFCB's quick passing game, and we were a strong second half team this season as other teams wilted against the onslaught.

AFCB players have found League One a difficult league to get out of and they did seem to struggle against some of the big named teams who tended to stifle games, block our creative play and looked for the set piece to steal the match. Doncaster were master craftsman at this particular kind of game and if you look at Sheffield Utd's season they hardly set any goal scoring records but had a stern defence, which in their case led to too many drawn games.

So what have we learnt about AFCB's tactics under Eddie Howe and where do they need to improve if they are to do better than just survive in the Championship? When I look at our wing play and our flying wing backs on both flanks it is evident that Howe does aim to get at teams from the wings and get behind defences. We haven't the heading power of some teams, but Steve Cook and Tommy Elphick have come up with a few headed goals this season and they may well improve on their tally next season.

It has also been a feature to see Harry Arter and Eunan O'Kane being prepared to run with the ball and go at the heart of defences and I feel this tactic can be extremely effective when teams are so used to us playing it wide and suddenly find that we have changed to a more direct game. It will be exciting to see what Ryan Fraser will also be able to do at this level and if he can add even more running power to the Cherries' formula.

I also hope Howe continues to work with the defenders as 53 goals against is something that we can try and improve upon with Ryan Allsop now having a better understanding with the back four every game.

Certainly teams with good wingers and creative passing have done well in the Championship this year and AFCB must set out to try and emulate the likes of Brighton and Watford if they are to do well in that league.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Trophies, bus tours and fans

It is quite possible that the order of the headline for this article is the wrong way round and certain people should be thinking about core fans first at AFCB rather than last. I am referring to the Sunday Bus Tour in the main, which is not well timed when many loyal AFCB followers are staying up in Chester or Tranmere after Saturday's game and now have the problem of trying to see how they can get back in time to see the team and the League One trophy (hopefully) preseneted in Bournemouth.

It is clearly a problem for the authorities In Bournemouth to have events scheduled for the Bank Holiday weekend. It would seem that now the weather has improved and tourists are likely to flock to Bournemouth to see some sunshine, football celebrations are not welcome.

I also understand that Merseyside Police do not want to see any potential for crowd trouble at Tranmere's ground and would rather not let AFCB celebrate a possible Champion celebration there on Saturday. No doubt the cost of the extra police is something Tranmere Rovers are not keen on anyway.

But you have to say it is not particularly a favourable way to reward many core fans who booked their tickets weeks ago to follow the Cherries in the last game of the season. I know of many who have booked accommodation in Chester overnight and who now have to think about scrapping that idea to return to the south coast on Saturday night.

Success can be troublesome at times.

First match day experience of seeing the Cherries

Listening to Mike's All Departments episode Zero about the first match he attended at Dean Court made me look back at my own experience. I must have failing memory or perhaps the game was not that good but I am not 100% sure of what my first game was.

Sadly I did not buy a programme for every match I attended in those days but the first match programme I do have was in November 1981 when AFCB were at home to Reading in the FA Cup. Apparently we won the game 1:0.

The pictures was shot from my phone, so it's not to good but I treasure the first AFCB programme that I have.
Just 35p, what a bargain!

I would only have been 14 then and was at Portchester Boys School as it was called then. I remember David Webb as the Cherries' manager and several of the players like Ian Leigh, Tommy Heffernan, Chris Sulley, Nigel Spackman Tony Funnell and Keith Williams etc.

I know I was a keen Liverpool supporter in my early days but Bournemouth's red kit was also likable for me so it was not long before I swapped allegiances to the mighty Cherries. I think that because the Cherries were down the end of the road and Anfield was what seemed a million miles away might have had something to do with it.

Well the Reading game could not have been that bad because I still have the next programme for when AFCB played Sheffield Utd in the Third division at home. I guess that I had been hooked by that stage.

If you would like to recall your first match at Dean Court Cherry Chimes would be more than pleased to post your story on the site.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

A big thank you to Mr Mitchell

I know Eddie Mitchell is not every body's cup of tea and he has made a few mistakes along the way but thanks to his desire and drive it is AFC that have secured automatic promotion and there are many other clubs in League One that would have liked to achieve that.

Look around the ground now and you will see what improvements have been made in the last four or five years at Dean Court. You cannot say that Eddie Mitchell has not got ambition for this club and while he has had to make some tough decisions that have not often been popular, he has done it for what he considers the best interests of the club.

Whether it was his or his wife's decision to go and get Eddie Howe and Jason Tindall back I don't know but I am jolly glad he picked up the phone and got his man. His influence and friendship with Mr Maxim Demin has also brought wealth and opportunity to the club, plus some great signings - not to mention the car park!

We are all probably pleased that Eddie Mitchell has stayed away from the microphone a little more this season but I think we can allow him to say some triumphant words after his stunning success in pushing this club in the right direction.

I am one of those who never want to go down the road to watch Southampton play football and I don't think Mr Mitchell wants any of you to either.

Let's hope we get some SKY coverage next season as well. We need to bring in the bucks to compete with the big teams we will be facing next season.


Monday, 22 April 2013

Best memory of the season

It's hard not to recall the game against Leyton Orient at home this season without having fond memories. It was the game when Eddie Howe and Jason Tindall were introduced to the Bournemouth crowd as the new management team at AFCB. It was 13 October 2013 and 5715 people in the ground wondered what kind of effect would Eddie Howe have on this team that was struggling near the foot of the table.

In my wildest dreams, I like many never thought that I would see Eddie Howe back in charge at Dean Court when he left for Burnley FC. It was an unbelievable moment to finally see him take the applause  an salute the crowds as he stepped back out on to the pitch.

As we settled down to watch the game we saw Leyton Orient's red dragon mascot strutting around the pitch and I wondered whether it was good or bad luck to take a high five from him. I did slap his hand and hoped for the best. After all we are all football fans and I shouldn't be so superstitious I thought.  Knowing now what I didn't know then, I reckon I should high-five every away mascot that turns up at Dean Court.

Orient's mascot kept his distance from us in the away match -
and they won that day 3:1.

The home crowd were more than a bit lively that day, although there wasn't surprisingly a full house. Eddie Howe must have felt a bit awe struck to hear his name being belted out for pretty much 90 minutes. I am sure he was just pleased to get the first game out of the way. Still there is a link between him and the fans. He is one of our own and everyone only wanted him to succeed. A 2:0 victory for the Cherries was looking likely from the moment Eddie and Jason stood on the pitch that day.

Eddie manages to unite us as a club and his modesty is just so endearing that you feel you can go up to him and ask him about anything and he probably would not mind.

Well the Orient game set the wheels in motion for a fabulous run for the team. Somehow things just seem right with Eddie Howe back at the club. We are a perfect fit and my memories of his return on that day will long live with me and many others I suspect for this season.

By the way, Leyton Orient's mascot came nowhere near me in the return fixture at the Match Room Stadium and we lost that game. I'll have to tag him next time, whenever that may be now that we don't play each other next season. Perhaps I am still superstitious after all?