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.

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