Friday, 24 January 2014

Bridging the gap to a team like Liverpool

While AFCB play Liverpool in a one off game this weekend where anything can happen, the gap between the two sides in terms of resources is a massive one. It is not just the size of the clubs that is side apart but the fan base, the city compared to the town and the financial baking and playing squads. All that may seem daunting to a club trying to knock the seven times FA Cup champions out of the competition, but there is a factor or two that are on Bournemouth's side.
There should be plenty of colour on show at Dean Court.
Firstly, Eddie Howe is no mean tactician and he will have prepared his team with his backroom staff as well as possible for the game. He will want nothing more than a performance that does the town proud and the players will want that too.

Secondly, what have Bournemouth got to lose? If they get well beaten then it is just another lesson in the road of experience and will stand them in good stead for the next big occasion.

Thirdly, AFCB are at home. Some will say that this is not an advantage looking at the Championship's home form but it has to give the Cherries a chance to be the team that settles first and sticks to its task on a pitch they know, in front of a crowd that is mainly behind them.

I'm open minded as to the possibility of a thumping from Liverpool or an upset. But bridging the gap to Liverpool on the field with 11 against 11 is something that the Cherries can do in a one off game. It may take many years to reach the Premiership and if the Cherries do get there they still would have a massive task to compete with teams like Liverpool, but the gap has been closing over the last few seasons. 

Jeff Mostyn talked this week on the All Departments' podcast of some teams perhaps on their way down while AFCB are one of a few clubs marching up the leagues. At some point that progress was likely to slow and level out, but if the Cherries can win a game like the match this weekend and carry that momentum on to their league campaign then the strides they will be taking in such games are huge. It simply is an FA Cup tie that AFCB will not be the loser even if Liverpool score many more goals than the Cherries. The spirit of the club and it's growing fan base are pushing the club to days like this and Liverpool fans will see that while they may have the superstars and the reputation, the smaller clubs like AFCB lack no passion or fight and our supporters and players will be giving it 110 per cent. 

If the Reds are not up for the match, they could be in for a rude surprise and that gap may simply disappear over night in terms of the cup. But while progression to the next round would be sweet, there are bigger dreams for this south coast to aim for. So we will enjoy the day and look to the future, win or lose, knowing that this is a stepping stone that may lead to better things.

Finally, I've been approached by the owners of a new football App called CrowdScores who have a special competition for AFCB fans to win a signed shirt. CrowdScores invites fans to get more involved to report on matches and to report on KO, HT and FT. The winner is the writer who earns the most points. The competition is free to enter - see the CrowdScores' website to find out more and download the App. I will be retweeting CrowdScored when I can and the competition includes the Liverpool and Huddersfield games.

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