Friday, 31 May 2013

Pick your team's kit colour - whatever next?

I am looking forward to seeing what AFC Bournemouth has lined up for the new home and third kits tomorrow. We have been told that the home kit will be sort of retro but with some modern elements to it as well. While I am sure red and back will feature on the home kit the third kit could have any colour on it that you could think of. There are a few colours that I would not select like Yeovil's luminous green and I find grey kits very uninspiring.

Spare a thought for the Cardiff fans. Having had their kit changed to red from blue to match their Malaysian owner's preference to match up with his Southeast Asian national identity, they are now being allowed to choose the colour of their teams shorts.

It makes me think that the marketing people in charge of making such decisions just don't know what the fans want, and rather than get it wrong they can pass on their decision.

Let's hope that the Cherries new kits will serve the team well in the Championship. If the players like them and the new kit helps them win more matches, I guess I don't really mind what colours are chosen. Then again, if their are similarities with Southampton's kits I might just baulk at buying the new strip.

What do you hope to see on AFCB's official dvd of last season?

The club announced recently that there would be an official dvd of AFC Bournemouth's amazing promotion season to the Championship. I started to imagine what would be on this dvd and hope that there will be one or two moments where the players are seen in a light which they may not have been seen before. Like one of those documentaries when you see players in a relaxed mood, going about their day with a bit of banter or laughing and talking about events after the game or perhaps on the coach as they travel to a game.

Surely there will be scenes of Eddie Howe and Jason Tindall's news conference when they came back to the club and pictures when Eddie Mitchell was addressing the crowds on changing the manager after the home defeat to Walsall, last September. We may also see shots of the training ground opening with Harry Redknapp or the revealing of the Cherry Brick Road.

No doubt some coverage of the awards for best Family club and Matt Ricthies' NPower League One player of the year award should be celebrated. We'll also never forget Super Fletch's Brussels sprouts and special moments that we have come to love like Super Fletch taking to the pitch and Tommy Elphick's personal homages to the goal post before every match kicked off.

And what of the matches? There are so many memorable games. The three derby meetings with Pompey, the fabulous unbeaten run and the FA Cup games against Wigan Athletic. I hope the club can get the mixture of emotions from fans and players as the season developed because there were some lows and some massive highs. I expect there to be a lot of footage of the Carlisle home game when promotion was clinched and plenty of inflatable pictures from Tranmere. But the most amazing scenes were probably those open bus tour celebrations in Bournemouth Square.

I think the dvd will be a piece of history that most AFCB fans will love to own. The front cover will be a difficult choice but the whole team's photo on the pitch after the Carlisle game is going to take some beating. What moment do you most want to see on the dvd from last season?

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Ticketing bliss

I had not really used the online booking system for AFC Bournemouth tickets before this summer because it would not allow family tickets to be ordered. Instead I had the task of either phoning the club directly or would have to go through the BIC phone system. It used to be quite a headache to wait in a queue to finally talk to some one. Now, I am hoping that I don't have to call up too much more in the forthcoming season for non-season ticket games.

For the West Ham testimonial match of Stephen Purches I did manage to book online and while I could not quite get the system to select the seats I really wanted even when a complete row looked unbooked, I did get roughly the area I wanted. The system was pretty quick and I feel it will work well for those who do not have season tickets for home matches next season.

Away games though will still need tickets to be purchased either in person or over the phone I imagine. The fixture list will make for some great reading come 19 June and I am just hoping the away games I want to attend are not all around the same part of the year.

It will be interesting to see how much away support the Cherries can amass. Many of the games are far away in Lancashire, Yorkshire and in the Midlands. Still, for such games we are usually allowed to pay on the gate and somehow I still enjoy the old fashion ways even in this digital age.

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

International call ups should help AFCB players

The international fixtures seem the always come at the wrong times of the season for most league clubs. As a youngster I would look forward to the international friendlies and full internationals but I find it harder to get excited these days. As a player though I can only imagine that it must be a feeling of immense pride and achievement to be selected for these games.

At the Cherries we already have a large selection of internationals: Joe Partington (Wales U21), Eunan O'Kane (N.Ireland U21), Josh McQuiod (N.Ireland), Ryan Fraser (Scotland U21), Shaun MacDonald (Wales) and Stephane Zubar (Guadeloupe).

Miles Addisson (U21) and Harry Arter (U19) have made appearances internationally and Arter could well get a full call up for Giovanni Trapattoni's Republic Ireland at some point in the near future. It would be a great achievement for him to break into the squad.

In the Championship there are weekends when there is no football because of the international games. That will be great for AFCB, as we did not get international breaks in League One. As the club establishes itself in the Championship it is likely that internationals will have more impact on the club if we can attract the best talent available. 

The opportunity for our players to mix and play with other internationals should help them improve and should be a positive experience playing in some of the world's best stadiums. Some times just being around winners has a knock-on effect.

The down side is that injuries can occur in these matches and it does mean extra games for some of our players. But I do think the positives far outweigh the negatives. Who for example wouldn't want to line up against Brazil or Germany in a full international?

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Grabban cutting-edge or much to learn?

While everyone has been celebrating how well the AFCB team has done, there is certainly one striker at the club who will be thinking what happened to his goal count towards the end of last season. I feel that Lewis Grabban did extremely well in his first season at Bournemouth, having started off with some great finishes and he took the fight to the opposition by leading the line well in the first part of the season. I am not sure if he changed his role slightly or felt that he needed to play slightly less greedily in the second half of the season, when Pitman came into the team, but the goals for Lewis dried up.

That is not to say that he wasn't playing well, stretching teams and making space for others to exploit. It is just the number of one-on-ones that he could not convert that concerned me. At Colchester he had a great opportunity to put the game to bed before half-time and again at the home match against Bury Lewis had chances to get on the score sheet but failed.

His 13 goals were still a vital contribution to the team and I'm sure he will look to improve on that in the Championship. It will be a step up for him but the goal is still the same size and he will have had a season behind him to better understand the way AFCB play. For those of you scratching your heads trying to work out when Grabban last scored, I make it during the 2:0 home win against Portsmouth on 9 February. But Lewis can claim that he would have had a few more goals had Pitman not taken over the Cerries' penalty spot duties.

Some of you will certainly be looking for Lewis to be replaced by another top striker. But there is no guarantees if Lewis stays in the starting 11 or if we bring in someone else. Eddie Howe has already spoken about finding the cutting-edge and it is here that I am sure he is looking. He needs his front men to be deadly and if he can get them working as a pair AFCB will have a better chance of being towards the top end of the league.

Personally, I think Lewis will get his starting place because his all round game is important to how the Cherries play, but I hope he is practising those one-on-ones in pre-season. We need Grabban to be confident of sticking away his chances.

Monday, 27 May 2013

The Championship: is that as good as it gets?

I'm starting to think that the position that AFCB are now in is really as good as it can ever can get for a Cherry supporter. Why is that? Well I know we all have dreams of seeing our team play the Man Utd's, Liverpool's and Arsenal's of this world in the Premiership. I can't say that I have never wondered what it would be like to see the Cherries taking on such teams regularly, but there is a catch. firstly the cost but also do I want to see my team losing most weekends?

Who can blame adult supporters of Premiership teams for becoming armchair fans when they were asked to pay £453-650 for a season ticket in the 2012/13 season? (Prices from Guardian Newspaper survey 22 May 2012).

If we were to ever go up to the Premiership we are likely to see more high earning players coming into our squad. For the owners, it is more beneficial to get to the Premiership with higher revenues and even larger TV viewing money. But what is in it for your average supporter?

I read that Premiership attendances were actually up on average this season to 35931 from 34601 the season before, but you see fewer games and pay more for them. 
If AFCB stay in the Championship for a decade we are still likely to draw some big teams in the cups, especially now that we do not have to play the earlier rounds. We will also see some big names and teams who have been relegated from the Premiership only the season before. Our club will benefit from being in the Championship with good TV money and healthy crowds. 

For supporters then, surely AFCB is now in the best league it can be in for our family club if fans want to watch good football at a reasonable price. But I am not happy about that because for players and supporters it should be about trying to achieve the very best standard that the club is able to reach.

Even more worrying, come the end of next season what if AFCB are in the play-offs should I be wanting them to lose? I would be ecstatic if the Cherries were playing at Wembley a year from today. It also makes me understand why some QPR, Reading and Wigan fans are even looking forward to playing in the Championship again - maybe they are not so daft.

Have I got it wrong? Would we be happier fans in the Premiership?

Sunday, 26 May 2013

How important is the 12th, 13th and the 6852nd person?

I don't know if some have you have seen the recent set of attendance figures listed by the NPower Football League for last season yet, but they make interesting viewing. Looking at League One last season the top six clubs that had the largest average attendances were: Sheffield Utd, Portsmouth, Coventry Preston NE, MK Dons and Swindon Town. Bournemouth did not fare so badly coming in 8th place with an average gate of 6852.

So none of the top most supported teams managed to get promoted from League One and only two of them made the play-offs. We all know that there are times when we have big gates but the many don't always make for the biggest crowd noise. Some fans simply come to watch and expect a result without really getting vocally behind their team.

If we look at AFCB's average attendances in the 2011/12 season, the figures dip to 5881. So we have put on around 1000 on our average gates in the promotion winning season of 2012/13, but back in 2010/11 when we reached the League One play-off semi-final we had average attendances of 7103.

Go up a league to the Championship and attendances in 2012/13 make ours look pretty small. Peterborough was the least supported team with average gates of 8215, but Barnsely, Millwall and Burnley, the three next up the ladder in terms of support, all survived the threat of relegation.

So did the biggest teams get promoted? Well in terms of average gates it should have been Brighton, Sheffield Wednesday and Derby County. Cardiff only came fifth in terms of support with average gates of 22998, while Hull were 12th with 17368.

So there is not a great correlation between the highest supported teams in League One and the Championship in gaining promotion.There is hope for us yet.

And if you are wondering where Wolves fitted in they were the seventh largest supported team in the Championship. Check out the stats at You'll also find other stats on the number of players used, form and appearances etc. 

Saturday, 25 May 2013

One that got away - Lyle Taylor

To some extent it did not surprise me that former Cherries player Lyle Taylor managed to have a sensational season for Falkirk in Scottish League Division One. He scored 29 goals in total, 24 of which were in the league making him the second highest scorer in the division. This gave him a place in the PFA's Scottish League One Team of the Year, announced yesterday.

It doesn't half make you wonder, did someone make a mistake in letting him go to early at AFCB? Lyle was bought by Eddie Howe and AFCB in 2010 when he played for Concord Rangers in the Isthmian League One as a 20 year old. I don't think many of our supporters knew that the Essex club existed before Lyle appeared on the scene. He had a great record for Concord Rangers (The Beach Boys) scoring 34 goals in 42 games.

Now Lyle is 23 years old and looks set for the big time, although he struggled to make his mark when he played in Red & Black. He always had startling pace and was a handful for slow centre backs, but it's his finishing prowess has made him quite a star north of the border. Was a sell on clause in his contract when he signed for Falkirk? No, it seems it was a free transfer!

This goes to show that while a player may not suit a manager or a team at one time they can go on to prove themselves more than capable somewhere else. Like many AFCB supporters I suspect, I am only too pleased that Lyle has done well as he always put in 100 per cent whenever I saw him on the pitch at Dean Court. It was just that he never got a good run in the team and was then sent out to Lewis, Woking and Hereford Utd on loan at the end. Did Lyle just need another year to bed in with us or did we simply not have the time to wait? Sadly, clubs have to make decisions to let players go even if they feel the player will succeed and for Lyle it has done wonders for his career to make that move. 

Now what is the betting that Charlie Sherringham might do something similar? I see AFC Wimbledon are considering a move for the Dartford FC front man.

Sadly we haven't all got a crystal ball and some fish do slip through the net, even when they have been landed.

Friday, 24 May 2013

AFC Bournemouth - expect more squad trimming

With the announcement earlier this week that Jonathan Meades is no longer to be an AFCB player having spent most of his time out on loan at AFC Wimbledon and not even having made an appearance for the Cherries first team, it is clear that those who are not Championship material are likely to be ousted over the summer. Good luck to Jon who signed for Oxford Utd.

Looking at the squads in the Championship in the 2012/13 season most of them had playing squads of around 35 players or less. Only Wolves stood out with a massive squad of some 44 or more players on their books although only 35 were used.

AFCB still has a large number of players and Eddie Howe has to get the wage bill down if he wants to buy in quality, those surplus to requirements must be shed. Loan deals may offer an opportunity to some, but if Eddie feels they don't fit he has to show several players the door now. Last season we used 34 players but the squad was much bigger than this.

We have to remember that Eddie Howe inherited this squad and not all of the players were his choices, so I expect more players to be exiting stage right than will come in. But we were short of quality at times in defence last season when injuries hit and we won't be able to afford that luxury of being short on quality in the Championship.

These are just approximations, but of those who went up Cardiff used 29 players and Hull 34. Watford had 36 and Palace 36. Derby County used the smallest number of players at just 26.

It can of course be a risk to have a smaller squad with injuries but the wages should come down which is likely to be important for AFCB. I would of thought a squad or around 33 would be ample. This is the number of players Howe used in the 2010/11 season.The next problem is to make sure it is the right 33 players that we are left with.

Incidentally, Stephane Zubar's name was being talked about quite strongly last night with a possible move back to Plymouth Argyle suggested. That's one I could see happening even though I like Zubar and how he plays. He would still have to pass a fitness test though over the summer if he were to leave.

Thursday, 23 May 2013

All Departments Episode Two: AFCB away fan George James

Episode Two of All Department’s podcast is out now and features an interview with George James, a committed away fan who talks about his experiences following the Cherries around the country. You can subscribe through iTunes, Zune, Miro and Doggcatcher or listen via RSS through the website at . We will also feature the podcast on our side bar at Cherry Chimes later today.

Michael Dunne, a family stand season ticket holder at AFCB,  is the author of the All Departments podcasts and below he offers more details about what it’s all about and why he started it.
Michael on the pitch after the last game of the season that was away at Tranmere Rovers.
Thanks Peter for allowing me to post on Cherry Chimes about the All Departments podcast.  

All Departments is an attempt to in some way reflect the fan experience at Dean Court, both over the years and up to the present day. It isn't a professional undertaking but just something I thought I would enjoy doing and hopefully people would like to listen to. As a DIY endeavour, All Departments isn't an attempt to compete with the likes of Solent and the much missed official Up the Cherries podcast. I am more aiming to celebrate the fans' perspective and the joy the club brings into our lives, even during our many less successful periods. I've always had a sense of enormous good fortune to have grown up in a town with its own Football League team, and this is something I hope will come across in the podcast.

I'm an enthusiastic radio and podcast listener, and this, along with my lifelong love affair with the Cherries, was my inspiration for starting All Departments. The name is obviously taken from the cry of 'Up the Cherries in All Departments' which has rung around the Court ever since I can remember.

Anyone who supports the mighty AFCB or has a connection to the club is welcome to come on All Departments. As well as discussing events in and around Dean Court, I am quite keen to have a regular opinion feature where individual fans have the opportunity to get it all off their chest. I'd also like to look at the history of the club as this is something I have always enjoyed taking to other fans about.

Over the summer I am hoping to put out All Departments about once every two or three weeks. All being well, when the new season in the Championship begins I would like to podcast a little more regularly. Ideally this would be within 24 hours of every game but that seems a little ambitious at the moment. 

If you are interested in coming on All Departments, want to say your piece in the opinion section or have any ideas or feedback on the show, get in touch by e-mailing: You can also follow on Twitter: @alldepartments

Hope you enjoy All Departments if you choose to listen. UTCIAD!

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Is the Championship such a big challenge?

Planning for next season is now in full swing at AFC Bournemouth. Only Crystal Palace and Watford await their fate when it comes to arranging the new fixtures and league line ups.The leap from League One to the Championship is said to be one of the biggest in terms of skill on the pitch, so what are the main challenges that Eddie Howe and his team face in the coming season?

1.The first priority has to be to make Dean Court a fortress in home games. If we can't win at home we will suffer the fate of Bristol City in very quick fashion.

2. Resilience is a quality we must harness. Whether the team gets ahead in a game or needs to find something to get back into it AFCB has to get that steel that defines the consistent teams from the rest.

3. Enjoy our football. If there are smiles on faces, no fear and belief in ability, AFCB can upset the best teams in the Championship. Many of our players have longed for a chance to pit themselves against higher competition, now they have that chance they should enjoy the experience.

4. There will be defeats, some of them may be heavy. Hey, Cardiff even found Peterborough too good for them. We have to accept that it won't be our day sometimes, but not get too down about it.

5. The team that goes out to represent AFCB each game must see just 11 opposition players in front of them. They have to forget they are playing Leeds Utd, Middlesborough or Blackburn Rovers. It's not the names and reputations that get the 3 points, but the best 11 players and subs and the tactics used on the day. We can't play against history or tradition.

6. Finances will be against us compared to most of the other teams, but we can build on a good season.

7. Cherry supporters need to sing as well as we did when Eddie Howe and Jason Tindall first returned to the club. The opposing fans are likely to be bigger than we have had in League One on average and it's up to us to make ourselves heard and be that 12th man.

8. Eddie Howe has to find a couple of players to compliment the squad and take it forward without upsetting the mould that we already have. We also have to try and keep our star players.

9. We are going to need goal scorers. A 20 goal a season man is a must, but the best teams have great strike partnerships.

10. Aim for the top. It's no good us just aiming to jog along and scrape in 21st in the league. While I don't want us to overspend, on the pitch AFCB has to look to hit top form right from the start unlike last season.

All easy to say I hear you say. Bringing it all together is going to be difficult when lot of other distractions will be happening around the club everyday, but I wouldn't want any other management team to guide this group of players - I can't wait.

The fixtures for the 2013/14 season are announced on 19 June 2013 at 9.00am  UTCIAD!

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

AFCB accounts not great reading

Tony Husband announced on BBC South this evening that: "AFC Bournemouth made a loss of £3.4 million, according to their accounts file for last year, amidst concerns from auditors about the company's ability to continue as a going concern. The significance of Russian businessman, Maxim Demin's investment is highlighted. He loaned the company £6 million loan last year.

"The Cherries achieved promotion to the Championship last year on the back of heavy investment. Auditors had noticed that there's been an uncertainty about Bournemouth's ability to continue trading, these concerns are allayed by the directors who point to the presence of Demin, the 50 per cent co-owner of the club along with Eddie Mitchell.

"Bournemouth also face a half million pound bill if they lose an up coming employment tribunal with former boss Lee Bradbury, who left the club in 2012. That's a claim they are contesting."

Having heard all that, it does seem that the club has a gamble at getting promotion and without Demin's financial loan the club was financially stretched.

Today though we hear the that the club has sold a record 4000 season tickets and it's revenue is likely to climb next season now that it has reached the Championship.

It is a thin tightrope that the club has been treading to get promotion but let's hope that it does not break the bank in trying to stay there. Common sense must prevail and that is no doubt what the club has been thinking with its "restructuring''.

BBC article is at

Promotion winning season: lessons learnt

It has been a long season for AFC Bournemouth supporters, but an excellent one. While the team is going on to better things in the Championship, Cherry Chimes just wanted to take stock of the situation and work out what Eddie Howe might have learnt since his return to the Cherries and what the main challenges are that lay ahead.

Lessons learnt
1. This team could have given up on the season by the time Eddie took over but it listened to him from the start and never gave up.

2. Players' heads could have gone down when they lost away at Walsall when their long unbeaten run came to an end, but they picked themselves up.

3. Again when the doubters thought they had wobbled and blown their chance of automatic promotion losing five games in a row, they focussed and set themselves the challenge of gaining a top two place.

4. I remember Harry Arter stating that he was 100 per cent sure that the team would get promoted and at the time I thought that was cocky, considering that they were not favourites and under enormous pressure to achieve that. But it turned out that he was right and that the team had that inner belief.

5. Without Charlie Daniels giving balance on the left and without the leadership of Tommy Elphick, AFCB struggled.

6. Brett Pitman's goal run was a big factor that tipped the scales in favour of AFCB gaining an automatic promotion spot.

7. Matt Ritchie and Wes Fogden proved that they could play out of position and do a job when the team needed them to, while Steve Cook was a calming influence when the pressure was on and he was up to the challenge of stand in captain.

8. AFCB found a goalkeeper who had confidence in himself to go and get clean sheet after clean sheet.

9. Getting Eddie Howe and Jason Tindall back to the club was the best money the club has spent for many years and the experience they gained while being away will only help the club in the future.

10. We have an exceptional manager. It is not by luck that he picks up manager of the month awards and installs confidence in his squad and enables them to play flowing, attacking and incisive football. Eddie Howe is very special, even if he won't admit it. A hard worker, yes. But gifted too and a man manager who gets the very best out of players.

Out of all these factors it is Eddie Howe that I believe is the main key to AFC Bournemouth's continued success. The fans love him, he loves the club and now the whole town has been lifted.

While the summer months may clear your head of football, it will return in August when you will look again at where AFC Bournemouth sit. We are no longer a lower league team, but we are not yet the finished article.

Tomorrow Cherry Chimes will look at the challenges.

Monday, 20 May 2013

What does Eddie Howe do with Wes Thomas?

Wesley Thomas has been on loan to Birmingham City since January. The striker made it plainly clear that he did not want to play for the Cherries any more, having had an earlier loan spell at Portsmouth and then Blackpool, following Michael Appleton's managerial career. His reward was to get the loan move to Birmingham City, but what if Birmingham now do not want his services for next season and are not willing to part with any cash for him?

The striker has always been wanted by Eddie Howe. While Wes' form stalled under Bradbury and became a veritable drought under Groves' management, Eddie has not really had the chance to work with the former Crawley striker. It is just possible that Wes has the talent to be a 20 goal a season man for the Cherries in the Championship. But would the fans accept him back? Could he get his head down at AFCB and make up?

No doubt Mr Thomas will be hoping that he gets another move in the summer if he can't win a place at Birmingham City. Wes scored 3 goals in the Championship for Blackpool in 9 appearances and 3 for Birmingham in 11 games. A one in three or four goal ratio in the Championship is reasonable. At Portsmouth, in League One, Wes scored 3 goals in 6 appearances. I just wonder if Eddie Howe will put an arm around Wes or if he feels his time is over at AFCB?

There are things to consider, like how Wes is playing and if he could play well with the other strikers we have.  To most supporters it may seem clear cut that they do not want Thomas to play for AFCB, but he is still AFCB's asset and if he is not sold or sent out on loan again he will be in and around the squad.

Wes Thomas is 26, has Championship experience and clearly wants to play at this level. There is something Eddie Howe has to get to the bottom of though. What was Wes' reason for turning down AFCB to play for him last season? Was it just that he needed a change of scenery to get his goal scoring going again?
Has his attitude changed about playing for the Cherries, because AFB are now in the Championship? Does he have the stomach to compete for a place? If he does come back to Bournemouth he will start on the bench you would feel, but who knows whether another club will come in for Grabban or Tubbs for example. 

Is the Wes Thomas question done and dusted? No I don't think so. We will hear more on him this summer. His future is by no means clear. Will Eddie Howe offer him a new start and bring him back into the fold? I wouldn't rule it out completely.

Other clubs that had been interested in Thomas at the time when he signed for Birmingham are said to be Derby County, Blackburn Rovers, Watford and Burnley. Of these, a move to Watford would be a win-win on all sides if Watford win promotion to the Premiership. However, would Howe be so keen to see Wes go out on loan to one of the rival championship teams next season?

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Who is everyone else playing pre-season?

If you thought that most of the other Championship teams would be as early as AFCB in declaring their pre-season fixture lists think again. There are only a few mentions that I have come across in the Championship gossip but here is what I did find.

Charlton Athletic are keen to take a page out of AFCB's book because they are lined up to play Pompey but this time at Fratton Park. Not wanting to travel to far the Addicks will also play AFC Wimbledon at their ground. This will be followed up be a trip to Dagenham and Redbridge, while Charlton always start their pre-season with a game against Welling United.

Ipswich Town had high ambitions of travelling up to St Mirren, but the fixture has been cancelled. Surprise, surprise they will go to Colchester to play a game.

Bolton Wanderers will play Chester FC and Welsh side Rhyl FC of the Cymru Alliance League.

Nottingham Forest are to play Ilkeston FC and Walsall away.

Meanwhile, Sheffield Wednesday are playing the Tigers. No not Hull City, Worksop Town of the Evo-Stick Premier League.

Hull City of the Premiership though are going to play one of Steve Bruce's former teams - Birmingham City of the Championship at St Andrews.

Mark Robins Huddersfield will take on Chesterfield and York City away and also have visits to newly-promoted Rotherham and League One's Oldham. Huddersfield clearly don't like playing at home.

Middlesbrough also want to be among the first to test out Rotherham's New York stadium.

So perhaps AFCB's friendly fixtures look a bit more glamorous now. 

Other news from the Championship wire says Alan Judge has agreed a deal to join Blackburn Rovers now that his contract with Notts County is up, so sorry to any of those who thought he could have been a target for the Cherries. Ipswich are said to be in talks with St Johnson's midfielder Murray Davidson. Bolton are said to be talking to Jermain Beckford of Leicester as they seek to get back to the Premiership.

Brentford V Yeovil - who will join us in the Championship?

Today's game will be massive for the two teams of Brentford and Yeovil. Whichever team triumphs at Wembley will be joining AFCB and Doncaster in the Championship, but the loser will have the worst feeling in the world.

Of the two teams the Bees are the slight favourites and their play-off record over the last few years is pretty dire having not played in the second tier since 1992-93. For those who have not already picked up a copy of When Saturday Comes there is a great article, written by David Stubbs, which really takes in the atmosphere of the Brentford v Doncaster game on the last day of the League One fixtures. Mr Trotta will no doubt be involved at some stage on Sunday and no one will be more pleased than him if the Bees succeed. And yes, he still might have to take another penalty in a shoot out - just imagine that!

However, I have more feelings for Yeovil Town. James Hayter is becoming a play-off veteran, but his skill and Paddy Madden's eye for goal could yet see the Somerset club win promotion. Gary Johnson is already loved by Yeovil fans as greatly as Eddie Howe is at our club, but his status will surely rise even higher if he can win this game.

The winner will have a great celebration and a cup to go with it, but AFCB have already started planning ahead for next season and will have a big advantage over whichever of these teams clinches promotion at Wembley today. 

Spare a thought for the loser though. Defeat will be cruel having come so far only to fail. I'm just so glad it is not the Cherries in this final. While I would have loved the trip to Wembley, a defeat at this stage would have been unimaginable. But one of these teams could so easily have been us. Thank goodness, we are up! 

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Sunny days at AFC Bournemouth - something we should make more use of?

I was looking at the teams in the Championship and wondering how well equipped AFCB is in terms of its resources and one of the facilities we have not got yet is undersoil heating. You may say that being based in the south this does not matter so much. Although we do sometimes lose the odd game during the season due to climatic reasons. Southampton was the only Premier League team not to have undersoil heating in 2012-13.

The reason for looking at this is that televised games will attract lucrative revenue for AFCB in the Championship but when a fixture is cancelled those TV deals will be scuppered for that match when the game does not go ahead. The Saints risked losing £485,000 of Sky's money for TV viewing last season, trying to get their match on after heavy snow falls. I doubt we would lose quite so much in the Championship, but still a sizeable amount of revenue could be lost.

I then started to think why can't clubs generate their own electricity by installing solar panels on their football stand roofs and could it supplement electricity to power undersoil heating? When undersoil heating is not needed the power could go to the national grid to earn the club revenue. A mad idea?

I did some research to see if any sports facilities had installed solar panels on their stand roofs in the UK. It seems that Northampton Saints are equipping their Burrda stadium with 200 panels, while Saracens rugby club and Barnsley football club have invested in solar panels. Barnsley installed their panels in 2011 at a cost of £1 million and forecast that they would reduce their electricity bill by half. 
Apparently non-league Forest Green Rovers has also fitted its New Lawn ground with 180 solar panels in an attempt to reduce its carbon footprint. Dartford  FC has also put solar panels in its 2006 built stadium to serve community changing areas.

Sheffield Wednesday announced plans for solar panels back in 2009, but it was included in a total ground revamp which has not happened yet. 
Being in the south of England I would expect Bournemouth to have one of the highest levels of sunshine in the UK.

What I did not see is any ground that used solar panels to provide electricity for undersoil heating systems. Most under-soil systems seem to use boilers run off natural gas, diesel or LPG. Perhaps there is just not enough power to be generated by solar panels to supplement undersoil heating systems and perhaps the temperature is easier to regulate with gas or oil.

But then I came across an article on Blackburn Rovers who are looking at a solar powered undersoil heating system for its training picthes with a 40% EEC grant towards the costs. 

Looking on the internet, it was suggested that an undersoil heating system at Peterborough's ground would cost £0.7 million in 2012 and for them it just was not worth the investment when they only have three delayed matches on average a season.

So perhaps under-soil heating is not worth it at Dean Court, even perhaps if we made the Premiership. 
May be it's not such great value to heat the pitch with the aid of sunlight if your weather is fairly good, but solar panels could provide some extra income depending on what the tariff rates are now. The government had more favourable rates a few years ago and perhaps needs to think about making it easier for company's to invest in more eco-friendly grounds.

Friday, 17 May 2013

AFCB: we don't know how good we are yet

This season seems to be the year for retirement. First our own sup Fletch decides to call time on a fantastic career and then Fergie and Scholes, only to be followed by David Beckham. It doesn't seem like the end of the season but more like the end of an era.

Like most good wines though, there will be a new vintage to come along on the heels of the last one. We have a lot to look forward to at AFCB. Unlike many sides we have a very settled team with a manager and assistant manager who know exactly what to expect come 3rd August 2013. Experience of the Championship may not be what all of our players have, but they will not go into that arena without being well prepared for the competition.

It niggled me a bit to see a Premiership teams blog taking the Mickey out of Leeds Utd fans saying that they only had small teams to play next season, but at least they had a few trips to the coast. It is going to take time for AFCB to establish itself at the higher levels of English football. We are seen as an outsider, an interloper or gate crasher by many. Yet, when they see the Cherries going to their ground with no fear and taking down some of the so-called giants, AFCB will become more noticed.

If Eddie Howe is also able to invest in some experienced Championship players to add to the squad that will also alert the competition that we will be no push over. If the new era means that the old names at the top of the table have to make way for the new ones who are playing with pride and passion then the Championship had better watch out, because AFCB will look to gain experience quickly over the summer and the start of next season.

The Cherries are coming and we may catch out quite a few by surprise. We may start out the next campaign with an ambition similar to Barnsley, Doncaster, Huddersfield and Yeovil/ Brentford (no disrespect to any of them), but it will be intriguing to see Eddie Howe take on the Leeds, Burnley's and Brighton's of this world and see if he can put AFC Bournemouth firmly on the football map. The great things is, we really don't know how good our team is yet which makes us a really dangerous opponent for any team.

Are the bookies running scared of AFCB?

There have been quite a few bemused looks and murmurings about how the bookies see AFCB's chances in the Championship and in the cup competitions next season. I wonder are they still running scared after they big payouts they had to make after Eddie Howe returned to the Cherries and guided them to promotion? Or have we really already got the quality to play well against the best that the Championship has to offer?

I am a bit in two minds about this. Bookies don't often get things very wrong and yet AFCB's odds of 12-1 or 16-1 (now drifting to 20-1) to be the champions and 5-1 to win promotion just seems a bit too short in the pricing. I mean we will be up against QPR, Reading and Wigan for starters and play-off teams like Brighton and either Watford or Crystal Palace.

We are going to need a few more players of quality to make a real challenge. I know Southampton and Norwich managed to go straight through the Championship to the Premiership, but they are the exceptions and not the rule. To finish 21st next season would not be failure to me, although I hope AFCB do better than that.

If you want longer odds the cups are a little better. AFCB will enter the FA Cup in the Third Round so we could get a big club straight away. The odds to win Wigan's latest silverware for AFCB is currently 150-1 and the League cup is 125-1.

Sadly, I still feel we have some way to go to be among the favourites for anything. I am not a betting man, but my head suggests hang on a bit and wait for the odds to improve before parting with money on AFCB next season. Once other clubs have made a few big signings a bit more value may hit the market.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

New Temporary covered stand announced

Neil Perret of the Echo broke the news on Twitter tonight that it had been agreed by the AFCB board that the club would have a temporary covered stand at the south end of Dean Court for the start of next season. I think most of us expected a temporary stand after Eddie Mitchell's words a few days ago about having second thoughts on a permanent stand if the capacity was going to be inadequate for what the club really needed in the Championship.

There is still much discussion to take place by the sound of things over which fans will be placed in the temporary stand. Perret said Eddie Howe would be consulted on whether it will be all away fans or if AFCB fans would fill seats in the stand.

I understand there are concerns over the small contingent of away fans from Championship clubs this last season. I expect the Echo will have a full story in the morning.

Meanwhile, I also saw pictures today of a new pitch being prepared at Dean Court so things are already getting underway for the pre-season friendlies and next season.

How do you feel about the temporary stand?

Youth and breaking into the first team at AFC Bournemouth

There is no doubt that AFCB is keen to harness and develop local talent. You can see this in its Academy, Youth and Development teams, and its efforts to sign local players like Harry Cornick from Christchurch.

Josh Carmichael, 18, and Jayden Stockley, 19, are two of the young players who have broken into the first team in the past. Another is Dan Strugnell, 20, who this week we have learnt has chosen to moved on to Havant & Waterlooville on a permanent deal. Dan's first team experience was to come on as sub to replace Stephen Purches at Rochdale, in February 2012, when Stephen had his double leg break, but Dan has not had another chance to play for the first team. Loan spells at Bashley and Havant & Waterlooville followed before his decision to now leave AFCB.

Getting such young players to the first team or on the edge of it has proved to be quite a challenge. Now that the club is in the Championship it is likely that the young talent is going to have to be even more exceptional to get an opportunity of the big time.

Joe Partington, who was a Pompey youth player, is probably highest in the pecking order of those who have been developed locally, but he is now 23. It will be of great interest to see if he can become more of a regular face in and around the first team in the next couple of seasons or if he will find loan moves the best way to continue his development. Having been a Welsh U-21 international you would have to say that Joe has the talent to make an impact in the future and hopefully it will be for AFCB as a central defender.

Other 23 year olds at the club include, Matt Ritchie, Donal McDermott, Harry Arter, Josh McQuoid and Eunan O'Kane, while Steve Cook is a year younger. So AFCB does have a youthful squad and youth is not a barrier when you look at 19 year old Ryan Fraser, who was signed in January 2013 from Aberdeen. I think the whole club is excited to see what this young man can do and the stage is really set for him to grab some headlines in the Championship when he gets his opportunity.

At the moment we have a good balance of youth and experience at the club. We will have to wait to see what the squad lacks or doesn't lack next season, but all the time the club will be scouting locally, as well as further afield, to see if better players are available. It should be an exciting summer.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

10 things Cherry Chimes wishes had been different this season

AFC Bournemouth has had a fantastic season but there are just a few things that would have been nice to change. Can you guess any of Cherry Chimes top 10 changes that we would have liked to have happen?

10. I wish we could have mastered the penalty shot out against Oxford in the Capital One Cup, I so hate going out of cups in the first round.

9. Southampton, can't they be docked 10 points for unfairly sacking Nigel Adkins and have to play us in the Championship next season?

8. I wish one of those who came on loan had realised that coming to AFCB was not a holiday resort (I'll let you guess the player). Then again perhaps he was just not very good.

7. Eunan O'Kane decides it is not wise to collect the ball with his hands in the penalty area when playing Walsall.

6. Tommy Elphick manages to evade that tackle from MK Don's Ryan Lowe. 

5. Paulo Di Canio could have decided to leave Swindon Town earlier in the season so that they did not inflict that 4:0 drubbing on AFCB!

4. Super Fletch finds he can shed years and turns up at pre-season training looking like a 21 year old and comes out of retirement.

3. Wigan were not awarded a penalty in the first leg of our third round FA Cup tie and Eunan O'Kane's goal won the tie. AFCB then went on to Wembley, where Eddie Howe's team won the club's best ever trophy, the fans had a great day out and the Cherries go into Europe for next season. 

2. Paul Groves and Shaun Brooks had decided that diamonds are best worn on a girl's finger, so that AFCB would have had a better start in League One.

1. Brentford's O'Connor tells Marcello Trotta to take a long walk off a short cliff and grabs the ball from him to score in the 95th minute against Doncaster Rovers to promote Brentford and send 2000+ fans at Prenton Park delirious as AFCB fans celebrate being League One champions!

Have you any further suggestions that are printable?

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Is any one bound for Zurich?

Come on hands up, how many of you were checking your diaries and checking out whether there was any possibility that you could arrange a European excursion based around yesterday's news that AFCB would be playing against FC Zurich on Friday 5 July?

I don't blame you. Zurich is a beautiful city although I have only trotted along the cobbled streets once before and many years ago. I had a quick look at the easy Jet flights, as you do, just to see that a return flight would be just over £100 if you could fly out on the Thursday and return on the Monday for a long beer filled weekend. Then I thought, I hope it is not a closed door match! No mention of how many  tickets would be available for the actual match, but I am sure AFCB fans will be welcome.

Twitter was buzzing with the news after the announcement. Then I heard the venue would be in Horgen, 20km from the city, rather than at the stadium. Oh well, perhaps we should not expect too much.

At least we can have a quick look at FC Zurich's players. Among them is Josip Drmic who is their top goalscorer on 10 and Amine Chermiti on 8. Not quite household names but they play in a good league with Young Boys, Basel and Grasshopers. As I said a few days a go it is great for our team to get to play against a different style of play and it should be good preparation for what the team faces next season.

AFCB's site also announced today that Sean O'Driscoll's Bristol City will play the Cherries at the Goldsands stadium on 27 July.

Monday, 13 May 2013

Did you miss All Departments' podcast Episode One?

Just in case some of you have not noticed the ALL Departments Episode One interview of Cherry Chimes by Michael Dunne on the blog, please go to ALL Departments website at: where you can listen to it in full. It is also found in the right hand panel on this blog, below the ALL Departments banner picture.The picture will also take you to the podcast and the ALL Departments' website.

Michael says he will write a piece before his next podcast which we will be able to post on Cherry Chimes.

Finally, can I just say a big thank you to all of you have been loyally reading Cherry Chimes. You will see that we gone over 10,000 reader hits today, so thank you very much and keep reading.


Dan Seaborne - will Eddie try and sign him?

Dan Seaborne's contract with Southampton is up this summer and he will enter contract negotiations with them in the coming weeks. If it turns out that he cannot come to an agreement with Southampton and Mauricio Pochettino should Eddie Howe look to sign the defender?

Dan Seaborne, 26, joined the Cherries in January and was at first on the bench for the Walsall away game which AFCB lost 1:3. For the next game Dan came into the team at centre back and he remained in the team up to the point when Marcus Painter came in for the Sheffield match in late February. Dan was back in favour though for the next game and kept his place until Tommy Elphick returned to the starting 11 at the end of March for the Colchester away match.

It was a total of 12 starting appearances and five selections on the bench that Dan contributed to AFCB's promotion winning season. It was a loan move that was a positive for him and for AFCB and I expect he learnt a lot from Eddie Howe and Jason Tindall, while he also gave a lot back to the squad in the way of advice as well as his performances on the pitch. I don't think Dan had many bad matches and for someone coming in for such crucial matches in our season he did a valuable job in my opinion.

While our main centre back choice seems to be Cook and Elphick it is likely that we will need strong cover for those positions. Miles Addison remains at the club and offers cover as does Joe Partington who is on a learning curve and we have Stephane Zubar who is recovering from his knee injury, although he is seen more as a full back. 

If Dan is available in the summer he might come into Eddie Howe's thinking, while other fan suggestions have included making a bid for Tranmere's French born Zoumana Bakayago and even making a bid to resign Jason Pearce from Leeds Utd. I wouldn't mind Pearce's younger playing partner, Lee Peltier would be a player to be interested in, I think is only going to get better.

An even bigger name though could be on the cards if AFCB feel that the centre back position is our most vulnerable area with the heading power of forwards like Nugent, Murray and Rhodes lining up against the Cherries - at least we don't have to face them all at once.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

How important is it for AFCB to own its ground?

I have always thought it was extremely important for football clubs to own their ground as it gives them much more manoeuvrability when they own the freehold to make developments and the club is not wasting money in paying large sums in rent. The sale of the freehold for a quick cash injection should be as a last resort and in AFCB's case it probably was a choice of that or going out of business in 2005.

But when should the club look to buy back the freehold again or should it forget the idea? Does the flexibility of only paying rent offer the chance to move to a different location at some point in the future?

Property investors Structadene are the current owners of the freehold at Dean Court and there have been various attempts to buy back the ground from the company, but things have been quiet on the surface since 2011, when AFCB was unsuccessful in two attempts to come to an agreement. At that time Mr Mitchell was willing to offer quite a large sum of money to secure the club's future in this respect, but he did have a cap.

"I don't think it makes commercial sense to increase that bid above that ceiling of £4.5m," Mitchell said in 2011.

Since then the club has invested in other areas around ground and it's likely that the club has such a pot of gold now, while investments in other areas are still ongoing. At the moment it seems sensible for the club to invest firstly in securing the current squad that has been promoted and to see if further strengthening is needed in the team, rather than on making any further approaches to Structadene.

With higher attendances forecast for AFCB and with better TV revenue and all other interest that comes with being in the Championship, hopefully the club will start to accumulate revenue with the ultimate aim of one day buying back the ground. Yet, the club will have higher expenses in the Championship and it has had to rely on the financial support of Mr Demin for its growth. With stand development, training ground changing rooms and shop extensions being key consideration this summer, it doesn't look like AFCB wants to move away from Dean Court and I am at least pleased about that.

What do you feel about the ground's ownership? How much of a priority should it be if the club intends to stay in Kings Park?

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Who was Bull Durrant?

Here is something a bit different for Cherry Chimes. I was sent a beautiful Bournemouth & Boscombe Athletic Football programme a few weeks ago from Julie Newman whose grandfather was Arthur Lane, who played for the Cherries in the 1920s and 1930s. Arthur used to play with Freddie Wilson who carried on playing after the Second World War for the Cherries. Julie asked me to do some investigative detective work on one of the programmes where Freddie Wilson is listed as playing in the 1947-48 season.

Mr Wilson played in centre midfield and the match programme below which shows him in the Cherries team to play Queens Park Rangers. Perhaps the older ones remember hearing about Freddie Wilson or have heard stories about him playing?

The programme was discovered along with some others in an old Morris Marina car, under one of the carpets some 25 years ago, and being an avid AFCB supporter Julie hung onto the programmes and this one in particular as it was important to her with Freddie on the team sheet.

Now it is the picture above of the team and the writing at the bottom that I'd like you to look closely at. The Bournemouth & Boscombe team reads:

Goal keeper@ Bird 
Full backs: Marsden and Sanaghan
Midfield: Tagg, Wilson, Percival
Wingers and Forwards: MacKenzie, Blair, Milligan Lunn, McDonald

QPR's team reads: 
Goalkeeper: Allen
Full Backs: Jefferson and Powell G
Midfield: Smith A, Smith G and Powell I
Wingers and Forwards: Hartburn, Mills, Hatton, Stewart and Boxshall.

They are quite attacking line ups with those formations, not like today's 4-4-2. What we are interested in is the name and the information scribbled in pen on the bottom of the programme, which reads: ''Bull Durrant scored only goal.''

I can detect that Bournemouth & Boscombe lost the game 0:1 from old league records, but we want to know who was Bull Durrant? Did he play for Bournemouth & Boscombe, coming on as a sub to score an own goal or did he play for QPR and score a goal for them that day?

I expect it was the latter as I have seen the name Durant on a couple of QPR blogs on matches of that time, but we need confirmation. Perhaps you have a photograph or know someone who follows QPR who knows more about Bull Durrant?

It seems that subs were never listed in programmes in those days. Moreover, why does Durrant not appear on QPR's 1947-48 team photo which I have seen on ebay? Perhaps there is another story there?

The match was a very important game as both teams were pushing for promotion as you can see from the table below on the back cover of the programme.

Bournemouth & Boscombe Athletic ended up that season being runners-up to QPR who won the Third Division South title. If you know of someone who could have been at the match or if you know how we can find out more about Bull Durrant and who he played for we are keen to find out more.

If we can get the full story of that day we would be pleased to let Cherry Chimes readers know what the outcome was, but we need some help. 

Furthermore, Julie would love to know if any of the families from the programme are still living in Bournemouth. Apparently, Arthur Lane used to have Freddie Wilson and several of the other members of the Cherries come round to his house after the Second World War to do the football pools. Mr Lane was always telling stories to the then current Bournemouth players about what the Cherries were like to play for in the early years, before the war. 

I hope we can find out some more details for Julie.

In the meantime, if you have a good story about a former Bournemouth & Boscombe player, perhaps a relative of yours, please write in and send a photograph.

Perhaps we could start a gallery of former greats, even if Mr Durrant is not one of them!

Julie also asked me to kindly mention Mr Vernon Maslin, who was a lifetime Cherry supporter who sadly passed away after a long illness on 21 April 2013. Our condolences to the family.

Friday, 10 May 2013

Pre-season friendlies - are we getting excited?

Well the pre-season frendlies are already starting to stack up with confirmed fixtures against West Ham and Portsmouth in the bag. I am beginning to wonder who else we might attract to the Goldsands stadium over the summer?

I don't think I am alone in saying that the Portsmouth fixtures this last season were great games and the occasion of a derby match is always thrilling. I commented at the time that the Pompey fans were tremendous at our home game and even when we visited their ground at the start of last season they seemed to have nothing but positive things to say about AFCB's chances and they proved to be correct.

I wonder if tournaments are less popular or more difficult to organise these days. Do you remember the extraordinary European summer tournament in 2011? It featured Saarbruken, Lokomotiv Moscow,  and Glenn Hoddle's Academy all playing the Cherries in a competition sponsored by Energy Consulting Group. I don't think any of us really knew what Maxim Demin would bring to our small club then but that was just a taster. While Paris Saint-Gemain and David Beckham might be outside our purse strings it's always great to have the opportunity to see some clubs that would not normally visit the Goldsands stadium.

I feel it is important to have some very competitive games before the season kicks off and if AFCB get the chance to play some top quality opposition from the Premiership or elsewhere in Europe's top leagues it's no bad thing. I bet Watford will be having a friendly against Udinese, for example. While I am not sure of the fairness of such tie-ups as Watford and Udinese's arrangement regards player contracts, there is no doubt that having the experience of exchanging ideas and playing styles can be beneficial.

Cardiff and Reading have provided good opposition in the recent past for AFCB in friendlies, perhaps Harry Redknapp can bring QPR down early so we can work out how to beat them in the league.

Is there any team you would really like to see at Dean Court over the summer to play the Cherries?

Thursday, 9 May 2013

AFCB is swelling its ranks of supporters

AFCB is certainly going through a building phase at the moment. While the South stand may be delayed because of the prospect of being able to attract enough away supporters for a larger capacity stand there are plenty of other developments on the horizon.

This week's announcement that more than 2000 season tickets for next year's home matches have already been sold is excellent. The ground swell of new supporters is really gathering pace and Eddie Mitchell looks keen to harness further supporters with a new club shop in Poole.

AFCB has successfully been building its Junior Cherry Support in the last couple of years and I see it growing even more in the next 12 months. Those who were hoping to just turn up on match day and buy a ticket to get into the family stand look as if they will be unable to do that now. By extending the family zone to the Main stand No 1 block, family membership is really looking strong.

It makes you wonder what is the possible catchment area of AFCB? While Southampton are in the Premiership you might have thought it difficult to see the Cherries attracting many more fans but having reached the Championship, the lure of quality football at Dean Court is really bringing in the numbers. I would think that it would be possible to have home support of 15,000 in the coming years if and when the ground is further developed.

For now, with may big clubs having to visit the Goldsands stadium next season it is a shame that we may only be able to offer an extra 3000 or so temporary seats on top of our current capacity. But in the long term, a permanent South stand with a larger capacity would seem the prudent option for the board to take if we can sustain Championship football.

After that the club may have to look at ways of expanding the capacity for home supporters. Along with that though will come further planning, safety issues and car parking needs. But I feel that those are good challenges to have considering where AFCB was only a few seasons ago.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

The price of success

Are we still a selling club or will AFCB be able to say ''no'' this summer? Offers for our players will no doubt arise, but keeping the squad together will be something that Eddie Howe will be desperate to achieve.

The rumour mills have started early this summer with possible AFCB player interest from other clubs and now some management sackings and resignations have further upped interest in those who had a successful season in 2012-13. While supporters like you and me only want to keep our best players and look to build on what has been a great team effort, there will be those who have envious eyes who will attempt to see if they can tempt certain individuals away from the Cherries over the coming months.

You can't blame players for leaving though either. They only have one career and will always look to maximise their earning potential, especially if a move to a top Premiership club comes along.

I'm not actually too convinced that our management duo or top players will be seeking any moves just yet. While better finances and the chance to be in the Premiership could tempt one or two, the kind of positive spirit and sense of belonging at AFCB is a pull factor that many other clubs simply haven't got. AFCB is buzzing - it's very hard to leave such a club.

Over the weekend though there was Twitter gossip about supposed bids coming in for Matt Ritchie from Sunderland and Mr Di Canio to the tune of £2 million and £3 million. AFCB fans might hope that Sunderland face the drop, so that they are less inclined to cast their eyes on League One's top voted player for last season.

Other targets for some clubs will probably include Brett Pitman and Harry Arter who have both had great seasons for the Cherries. To be honest, the club and the players should be flattered to be getting such attention. I just hope the season starts with most of our star players and management team still in place at Dean Court.

The restructuring plans of AFCB are hopefully not major surgery from here on in. But clubs will have been alerted to the fact that the Cherries may be looking very closely at balancing the books even after a promotion. 

While many have tried and failed before to entice Eddie Howe and Jason Tindall away from the club, with only Burnley achieving success in this aim, I suspect that our management duo feel that they have only just started what they hope to be a long and fruitful chapter of their second management spell at the club. They have the opportunity of taking AFCB higher than it has ever been before and I think they are committed to that objective now. Why would Millwall or Wolves, for example, be of interest to them? Bigger clubs they may be but AFCB is entering a new age and the talent we have now is something we have never had before.

It's the 2014-15 season that will worry me more, when AFCB have hopefully had a good campaign in the Championship and the team has another year of experience behind it. If our players improve again on what they have managed this year, they and the management will attract even more attention.

But if AFCB want to be a stable Championship club, it is now that we have to build on the success rather than looking to dismantle its foundations. UTCIAD!

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Can Brett Pitman finish top goal scorer in the Championship next season?

Do you think Pitman can be a 20 or more
goal man in the Championship?
There is no doubt that Brett Pitman was in sensational form for AFCB towards the end of last season. He may not have stuck away a goal in the last game against Tranmere Rovers to give the club the title but in the 8 games before that he was an ever present feature on the scoreboard. the thing is can he do it in the Championship?

While Brett has had some Championship experience at Bristol City he never had a reasonable run in the team and mainly appeared as a substitute. This time around he is going to be AFCB's main striker and the pressure will be on him to put the ball in the back of the net on a regular basis. I don't think Brett will worry to much. He is desperate to prove himself in the Championship and he will have a thing or two to prove to Bristol City.

Looking at the other top strikers in that division, Brett is going to have his work cut out to walk away with the golden boot. Top of the strikers before the play-offs was Crystal Palace's Glenn Murray on 30, then Jordan Rhodes at Blackburn on 29, Charlie Austin at Burnley on 25 and Matej Vydra for Watford and Chris Wood of Leicester on 20.

Even relegated Wolves had Sylvan Ebanks-Blake scoring 15. It was not enough to save them but a 20 goal man a season in the Championship is going to steer you towards safety and better things more often than not.

While Brett is capable of scoring a great variety of goals from the penalty spot, free kicks, inside and outside the box and with both feet it might be that a few more headed goals is something he can work on. I think Brett will do well because he wants to show that he can be a big name like Jordan Rhodes, Nicky Maynard, Jermaine Beckford and Craig Mackail-Smith.

But where would you expect Brett to be in the list of the top 20 strikers in the Championship? If he comes in ranked 8th or better AFCB will probably have done well as a team, but goals are not the only answer to success. Consider Blackburn's Jordan Rhodes who, as already mentioned, had a great goal scoring season, but his team only finished 4 points above the relegation zone! 

Let's hope our defenders are better than those at Wolves of Bristol City because it wasn't their strikers who failed so badly. Evans-Blake was ranked 9th top striker this season, while Bristol City's Steven Davies was equal 12th. 

Monday, 6 May 2013

Allsop looks supreme as AFCB's No1 but who is No2?

Ryan Allsop or Rocky as he is affectionately know really has been one of AFCB's best signings in the last year. He seems utterly fearless and composed when under pressure and has made some outstanding saves since he has been in goal for the Cherries, especially the remarkable penalty save he made against Oldham. I have the feeling that he will be AFCB's first goalkeeper choice for some time to come barring injury.

The question that is harder to answer is, who is Eddie Howe's No 2 goalkeeper? It was a bit of a surprise to me that Darryl Flahavan was given a new one year contract at the start of May as he had not featured much in the last year with his shoulder operation and we had not heard much about his performances apart from the Hampshire Senior Cup. It seems that he did enough to impress Eddie Howe in training and he will certainly be competition for the goalkeepers' shirt. I felt that he was a good shot stopper but I don't think he is big enough to fill the goal and good strikers can take advantage of this no matter how agile he is.

Darryl will want to be first choice keeper but I don't think he is as good as Ryan and will more likely be battling out with Shwan Jalal for the subs bench next season. Shwan is either Mr Brilliant or Mr Sloppy in my book. He makes saves that he really shouldn't at times and then let's shots in that would seem bread and butter to a five year old - don't remind me of the first Portsmouth game last season. I don't know whether it's a concentration thing or something else, but he has shown that he can be an amazing keeper and it is frustrating when he makes simple errors. 

I get the feeling that the next season will be make or break for both Darryl and Shwan at AFCB. They have to push Ryan for that No1 shirt and while they will both be involved in training and perhaps the odd game in the cups, three into one just doesn't go. Darryl's age is also creeping up at 34 although goalkeepers are said to get better with age.

There is also the development squad keeper Benjamin Buchel but I don't think he will come into Howe's thinking unless we have several goalkeeping injuries. I understand Benjamin himself has been injured while playing for Dorchester.

The goalkeepers' position is the most crucial on the pitch in my book. I just wonder if Eddie Howe is happy with his keepers or will he accept offers for Jalal and seek another more experienced goalie this summer?

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Which ex-players can we expect to play against next season?

While AFCB fans will simply just be ecstatic that our club is now in the Championship can I just remind you all that we will be bumping into a few old friends when we go up. These will be familiar faces but should just be visitors. Mind you, you never know, our spending spree over the summer could take in another batch of ex-Cherry players who have decided to come back to the south coast on a permanent basis.

So who might we see then as a visitor to the Goldsands stadium who used to wear Red & Black?

First stop must be Burnley FC where most of our 2010-11 squad seemed to end up. Danny Ings has managed to make 32 appearances for the Clarets in the 2012-13 season, but made 17 of those as sub and has scored just 3 times.

Wait for it, I can hear the boos and hisses already! Midfield maverick Marvin Bartley has  made 24 appearances for the Clarets, 14 as a sub and has not netted this season. He"ll get an interesting reception at Dean Court.

How about Jon Stewart, who plays in goal but has not appeared for Burnley FC this season? I am not sure he would be a popular sight on the bench at Dean Court, having been dismissed by AFCB.

We could also include Burnley's Charlie Austin who had a trial but I don't think he ever played a senior game for AFCB, perhaps that could change in the future. 

Who might we pick out from Charlton Athletic? Midfielder Danny Hollands is out on loan at Swindon at the moment but he would be a great face to see again. Then there's yet another less popular figure in (I want a transfer request) Mr Rhoys Wiggins who has only made 19 appearances for the Addicks in the Championship this last season.

Keeping with the bad boys, I wonder if Wes Thomas will still be on loan or have a permanent deal at Birmingham City before the summer is out. I don't think he will come back to AFCB even if Eddie Howe seems to like his ability, but I have been wrong before.

Sometimes in the past I have wondered if we have been too much of a feeder club to Millwall FC. It is as if Kenny Jacket has his own season ticket at Dean Court and can pick the Cherries he most wants to help them stay in the Championship. He hasn't done badly in picking up Scott Malone who has surprising only made 16 appearances this season for Millwall and the much liked Liam Feeney who has made 25 appearances and has two goals. Of course Josh McQuoid is back with us, but he was another Kenny Jacket raid.

A big welcome will also go to Jason Pearce who has made 40 appearances this season and is ever present in the Leeds team. I don't suppose Eddie could entice him back to the south coast, could he? 

Anton Robinson is on loan at Gillingham, but is still a Huddersfield Town player. Might Eddie decide to see if Anton wants a return to the Cherries?

We may even see James Hayter if Yeovil are successful in the League One play-off. 

I expect we can add Marcos Painter from Brighton to our list having dabbled at being an AFCB player last season at left back.

I am guessing that the player who would be top of the list to see is Jason Pearce, but is there a more popular ex-Cherry player currently carrying out his craft in the Championship?

There is just one other familiar face that we will see, although he is a manager and not a player - Harry Rednapp. That will be a great day at Dean Court. I hope we can send Harry home to Sandra rather unhappy that weekend.

Have I missed any heroes or villains out? I expect you can add some more players who are likely to come visiting next season. Won't it be great though if we can beat Burnley, Charlton, Birmingham, Leeds, Brighton, Yeovil (if they make it), Huddersfield and Millwall just for starters? UTCIAD