Tuesday, 21 May 2013

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.

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