Sunday, 30 March 2014

Pre-Blues v AFCB: Made in Brum shot questions at Cherry Chimes

I informed you all that Cherry Chimes had spoke to Gabriel Sutton of Made for Brum earlier last week as a preview item for the Birmingham Fanzine. As many of you will not have had the chance to make the away trip and to read the copy I thought I would post the interview up so that you can see what Cherry chimes was asked pre-AFCB's great win at Birmingham.

Bournemouth Fan Questions

MIB: You’re eleventh in the table and seventeen points clear of the drop. Could your first season in the Championship have gone much better?

CC: At the start of the season I predicted a finish of 18th and half way through, having seen the other teams I thought 12th was possible with a good wind, so to see the Cherries sitting in 11th and still a good month or more of games to go is absolutely fantastic. The club’s best ever finish was 12th in the 1988-89 season, under Harry Redknapp. That will be the next target and who knows perhaps a record points total in the Championship. I think the play-offs might be out of reach but it was not about that this season – consolidation is what the club wanted and they have more than achieved that.

MIB: From what I can see, Eddie Howe has got you playing some good, possession football. If we want to see our country produce better technical players, do we need more coaches like him?

CC: I had a joke with my mates this week saying I’ll shoot the next person who says Eddie Howe should be an England manager one day. It’s not that I don’t believe his is good enough or that he has the talent to get there but I just want to keep him all to ourselves at AFC Bournemouth. When anyone mentions Eddie being linked with any move away from the club, I keep saying shush! We have lost him once and we don’t want to lose him again. I think Everton is one club he would consider in the future if they made an approach as it is the club he supported in his youth, but Eddie has just signed a two-year extension to his contract at Bournemouth and we are overjoyed to keep him for as long as he wants to stay.

Brendan Rogers gave an eloquent speech after the FA Cup Third Round tie we had with Liverpool where he pointed out that playing from the back with possession football was the way England players will progress. He also said that Eddie Howe is one of the coaches that players will learn a great deal from in the way he sets up his team to play, being brave on the ball and using movement and quickness to create space and opportunities. It is not just the first team that plays that way at AFC Bournemouth it is all the teams, from Development, to Youth and Junior squads. 

MIBOnly a few years ago, your club went into administration and could have dropped out of the Football League. Talk us through the journey the club has been on since then…

CC: It has been a remarkable experience to be a fan that has seen how close the club was to exiting the football league and yet, in just a few years, has mounted a strong challenge in the Championship this season, following two promotions. In 2008-9 we started with a -17 point deficit along with Rotherham and Luton on -30 points. Bournemouth employed the league’s youngest manager from its own coaching squad and then saw Steve Fletcher score his 100th goal with the winner against Grimsby to keep us up.

Move on a year and the team spirit that had been built up by Eddie Howe and Jason Tindall pushed the team to promotion in 2009-10 to League One. While Eddie and Jason left during the 2010-11 season, Bournemouth still reached the play-offs under Lee Bradbury and Steve Fletcher. But then most of the team were sold to balance the books and while the following season was disappointing and Paul Groves could not resurrect the good times, it was only in October 2012 when Eddie and Jason returned and things took off again. The club went from the bottom three to finish second in League One.

Credit should also go to Eddie Mitchell our former chairman who found new Russian investors to secure the financial future of the club and totally changed the landscape around the ground to make it Championship quality. Now that Bournemouth are in the Championship the ambition is still growing, because Premiership football is something that the club and fans feel can be achieved with this squad of players under Eddie Howe.

MIBWhat did you make of the game back in December – a 2-0 win for Blues?

CC: I probably was not too complementary about Birmingham’s win as I thought the game really showed the naivety of Bournemouth at the Championship level at that time. The Blues showed us that you can defend as a team and just use your quality strikers to win the game as long as they can finish. It was a sucker punch job, but we’ve learned from that. It has taken until March to really get a few clean sheets but the team is defending much better now.

MIBOn my away day there, Bournemouth didn’t strike me as a town that especially welcomes football culture. Has it been difficult for the club to attract fans?

CC: The Saints down the road has a bigger population to pull from but with Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch being one of the country’s conurbations with good wealth creation and more young people now coming for the University and career opportunities in the south there are signs that things are changing. AFC Bournemouth attracted six thousand season ticket holders for the 2013-24 season and I believe the Junior Cherry membership has grown significantly from 303 in 2009 to 1400 in 2013. We average about 10,000 supporters for every home game now and will be looking to build that further next season.

MIBYou spent £2 million this summer on South African striker Tokelo Rantie. With two goals so far, the consensus seems to be that the club has been ripped off a bit. Would you agree?

CC: It is too early to say how good Tokelo Rantie is going to be. Very few players are an instant success when they change countries and leagues. He is a young international striker who plays for South Africa and is still learning his trade. Eddie Howe will work with him over the summer . It’s three goals I think, even if one was a bit disputed but you are right it’s not enough. He has to learn how to make a bigger frame and hold off challenges better with a good first touch. It’s a much more physical league than in Sweden where he played for Malmo. We have already seen that he can do the spectacular as seen in the Burnley away game. If he can start to put away chances from six yards as well he may yet prove to be a valuable signing within the next 12 months. And if the media reports are right, it was nearer to £2.25-2.5 million.

MIB: Time for your prediction. I’ve been looking through my record book, and the last time we scored a goal against you at St Andrews was from Andy Kennedy, a 1-1 draw back in August 1987. We’ve failed in five attempts since then, and with your defensive record of late, are we in danger of making it a sixth?

CC: I am writing this before the Leeds game which will take a bit out of our players. I know Birmingham will need the points perhaps more than us, but I can see more frustration for Lee Clark and perhaps another away win coming for our boys 0-1. We will bring good support.

I was a little out in my prediction, but at least I thought three points was something the Cherries could achieve and it has taken most peoples breath away just how well the team has played in the last two games - roll on QPR! 

I should have mentioned Jeff Mostyn as well who continues to work tirelessly for the cause of AFCB - we think you are great Jeff and we know you are always working behind the scenes to make the Cherries a success on and off the field. UTCIAD! Thanks again Made in Brum.

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