Friday, 3 May 2013

Is football in the south on the rise?

This season has been a historic one for AFCB in reaching the second tier of English football for only the second time. The club's rise has followed that of near-by neighbours Brighton & Hove Albion who are now pushing for a place in the Premiership and Southampton who have cemented their place in the Premiership already for next season. It makes you wonder, is football in the south finally on the up?

A glance at some of the other southern teams gives us some initial hope that this is true. Yeovil Town have a very good chance of joining AFCB in the Championship if they can reproduce their recent league form in the play-offs. Swindon too are battling for a promotion from League One. Take a look up a division and you will see Crystal Palace and Brighton are among the contenders for a multi-million pound Premiership shoot at Wembley later this month to replace Reading.

However, you can't escape the fact that AFCB's rise has coincided with Pompey's fall. Their new fan ownership, tremendous support and optimism for better things ahead though will see them recover lost ground I hope. I expect Portsmouth to be challenging for the Second division title next year and, former AFCB player, Shaun Cooper could be helping the to achieve this with Crawley Town with local paper reports yesterday telling Shaun that he is not part of their future plans.

Look again though to the west and you see the plight of the two Bristol clubs, Plymouth and Torquay United and the state of southern football does not look so rosey after all. Both Bristol Rovers and City have huge followings and Plymouth are also a massive club, but reputations and fan bases are not enough alone to sustain them in the higher divisions. Aldershot too have now fallen into the conference and are having problems in paying player wages. Yesterday, Aldershot entered into administration. I'm gutted for their fans, we know what it is like even if AFCB managed to avoid the conference.

We are lucky at AFCB that we have had significant investment in our team and our facilities and the club is very much on the up. The Cherries are suddenly near the top of the pile of southern clubs. I feel a lot of fellow supporters from other teams have been pleased with the Cherries progress as they have witnessed the hard times that we have been through in the past and are basically pleased to share in AFCB's recent success. 

Next season will certainly be thrilling and AFCB will be one of the most watched clubs in the south as the team seeks to reach its highest ever position in the Championship.

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