Saturday, 31 May 2014

Some new faces will be needed at AFCB

There has not been a huge rush of new names linked with AFCB. I can guess that striker options will be continue to be the headache for the club right up until the first day of the new season, but I have said that I would like to see a few more defenders added to the squad. But who stands out as a contender to fit a club that is on the rise and aiming for the top end of the Championship? I would like to see the Cherries go for good Championship players that know the league well and are on similar wages to those already at the club,,just because I don't want to see a massive overspend. That may mean looking at players in rival teams in the Championship and seeing who stood out last season.
Grant Hanley limbers up in the background at Dean Court last season.
 I wouldn't mind seeing him in a Cherries' shirt.

Kasper Gorkss has been released by Reading and is a free agent with experience of the Premiership with QPR and Reading. Then there's Wigan's captain Gary Caldwell who would be a committed defender although some may say that for both of these players have their best years behind them at 32. A younger talent is Ben Gibson at Middlesbrough who had a strong season - a 21 year old who has been capped at England U17-U21. A player certainly in his prime that I like is Grant Hanley, captain at Blackburn. He has also played for Rangers as well as being a Scotland international and is still only 22. Such quality would come at a price though and we will see if AFCB are really looking to bring in high calibre players in the next few weeks and if they can get near the asking prices. 

Of course we would like to see Premiership quality players at AFCB and whoever does come in will not meet everybody's tastes. The important thing will be can they work well with the other members of the squad and Eddie Howe and Jason Tindall? When it comes to central defenders you need players that can form partnerships and feel at ease playing from the back like Eddie Howe has encouraged his players to do. Such needs could send the scouts to the continent or even further afield, but some freshening up will not only boost the squad, but also the fans and the manager. UTCIAD!

World Cup Chimes gives a reaction to England's 3-0 win against Peru and hope for further improvements in Florida.

Friday, 30 May 2014

The most unfortunate AFCB player of last season

If you remember we had a few difficulties at the start of last season. While Ryan Allsop was finding the Championship a big step up, Eddie Howe signed the West Ham shot stopper Stephen Henderson on 3 October and it looked like he would be on loan until the January window. But all that changed when he dislocated his shoulder at Nottingham Forest and he has been out of action ever since.
Stephen Henderson before Millwall home game.
I have scoured the news to see if anything has been written on Stephen since then, but there are no reports of an update on how his recovery has been going - perhaps some West Ham fans can tell us. Still I did see that he is on the retained list of players at West ham so he should be looking to get back into action during pre-season. While Henderson's season went very wrong at the City ground it is something that can happen in the game and if it had not taken place it is probable that Lee Camp would never have come to the Cherries. So in so many ways the Forest away match was one of the biggest turning points of last season for AFCB. It was great to be there and to see the team get that late, late equaliser scored by Marc Pugh. Whether the injury to Henderson inspired the team or not it was quite a day for away supporters.
Henderson has been retained by West Ham.
The lingering thoughts though were with Henderson. He had spent just 16 days on the south coast and his season was over. Unlucky, I think we can say. 

World Cup Chimes
As you probably know, England play an important friendly tonight against Peru so World Cup Chimes checks out Peru's top players. I have also registered on the FIFA Fantasy league sponsored by MacDonalds - You can register on this link but you can't choose a squad until 8 June when I hope I can also set up a Chimes league for AFCB fans who want to take part. It's free to enter and I am looking forward to seeing if I can pick a better squad than you!

New pitches
Meanwhile, in the last few days we have been told that new pitches are being prepared at Dean Court and at the training ground so that they will be ready for the new season. Without any prompting, my good friend Michael Dunne of All Departments took it upon himself to go down to Kings Park and do some investigating for all of us. Here are his pictures.

The training pitches need a bit of work. Good job the lads are off to Austria soon.

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Has Kermorgant been AFCB's most impressive buy?

There were quite a few players that have joined the team since Eddie Howe's return, while many have also signed new contracts. It is difficult to say which player has been the most important for the team and yet with all things considered I would vote that Yann Kermorgant is the man that has knitted everything together and provided that spark to really set the team on its top half finish.
Yann was quick to establish himself in the side.
Yann will be looking forward to a full season with AFCB.
The impact of Yann cannot be underestimated. Having only played his first game for AFCB against Leicester City at home in February, he went on to firmly establish himself in the side and provided many vital goals as well as help add to Grabban's impressive total. The Cherries had never looked like a two player strike force during the season until Yann arrived on the scene and I just feel that if Grabban does leave it may well not be the most important cog in the forward line as long as Eddie Howe can find another name to put away some of the chances. That is not to lessen what Grabban has done, but Kermorgant has offered a link between midfield and the strike force that was absent.
Yann has quickly become a favourite at Dean Court.
Yann's heading ability is second to none and it has also given a positive goal scoring finish to so many of Simon Francis' crosses that before went virtually across the box, into an oasis of space, with no AFCB player likely to be in close attendance. So even if Yann remains the lead man in a Cherries forward line without Lewis Grabban, I believe his contribution will still make the Cherries a very dangerous team next season.
Yann was a really great buy but can AFCB find
some quality like that over the summer? 
We have uploaded some more pictures to Cherry Chimes on Facebook - Birmingham City at home and Ipswich Town at home. Either search for Cherry Chimes on Facebook or download the Cherry Chimes' phone app to view the pictures.

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

There's nothing to fear while the Cherries hold on to Eddie

A look at the line up of Championship managers shouts big names through most of the clubs. At AFCB I don't think Eddie Howe considers himself as a big name and yet everyone else on the south coast sees him as the special one, if you don't mind Jose. With Eddie you just feel that the club is in safe hands and that the goal is always to improve. But you never get that feeling that he feels it's job done. That is the message that AFCB fans are already getting across to the Saints' fans who had their fears confirmed yesterday when Mauricio Pochettino was appointed as the new Spurs boss, while Eddie Howe was short-listed as 12-1 for the Southampton job, but has already gone out to 14-1.
Eddie Howe has already turned down Southampton
before. I hope his loyalty is not tested again.
Yes, AFCB have shot up the leagues in recent years and have been great entertainment while they have been doing this. Much if not pretty much all of that is down to Eddie, even if he won't admit it. Without him you couldn't really have imagined the club getting to the Championship. He may not yet have the experience of Harry Redknapp or Steve McLaren who were the two battling it out the Premiership spot last weekend, but I wouldn't swap either of them or any of the other Championship managers for Eddie Howe. Why? Because Eddie has given the club direction and belief and everyone of those players and all of the fans have bought into his belief. The result has been to see a team that has excelled and still believes it has room for improvement.

We may sit here in two years time or more and be disappointed if the Cherries are unable to keep their place in the Championship. I don't expect that to happen though while Eddie is in charge. He puts too much of himself into the job to ever see his players under perform and while he is inspiring and willing all around him to give of their best, I don't see any of them shirking their responsibility. They all try even harder because it's for Eddie, and that extends to the fans in the stands. 

I hope we can always hold Eddie Howe as high in our regard for him as it is now as it rarely happens at a football club. It's easy not to like, not to applaud to pick fault or, just dismiss - it takes courage to say you believe in someone and in Eddie we have something to treasure. He is simply too valuable at this stage and to let him go to our arch-rivals. It would be more than most could take, so quickly rule yourself out of the Saint's job Eddie. UTCIAD!

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Will QPR make a late raid for Lewis Grabban?

Harry Redknapp will have been delighted to get QPR promoted last weekend but he knows that the squad needs rejuvenating for a season. Now that the club is up, Harry will be keen to stay and have another crack at the Premiership and perhaps with some younger players in his squad. Bobby Zamora may have got QPR promotion but will he be replaced? As everyone knows, your strikers have to be scoring and Harry was already ruing the fact that he had not snapped up Lewis Grabban back in January. That decision back fired when Charlie Austin was injured and Lewis Grabban signed a new contract with the Cherries having turned down Brighton's offer. Even worse Grabban scored against QPR at Dean Court, which only confirmed Harry's views on the potential of the Cherries' striker. 
Lewis Grabban has lots of admirers.
There is a sticking point though. Cardiff have already had a bid accepted by AFC Bournemouth. But will Lewis turn down Cardiff in order to have the chance to play in the Premiership with QPR? It seems a reasonable decision for him to make as I believe his family is still living in London. There has been no news on Lewis Grabban talking with Cardiff yet and there has been murmurs of Frederico Macheda possibly being a target for Cardiff City. Derby County and Middlesbrough are also interested in Grabban, but with the Premiership being dangled in front of a player, it will be hard for him to resist an approach by QPR. I am not sure if Eddie Howe has resigned himself to losing Lewis Grabban having seen his price being met, but this transfer saga might have quite a way to run yet. 

Harry Redknapp is known as a wheeler dealer and perhaps this would underline that he still can get the players he wants. QPR can't afford too spend to big, but Grabban might just fit their wage bills better than most and Harry's links with Bournemouth just may help him get his man if Grabban is a player he still wants. 

Monday, 26 May 2014

Time for a clear out

With John Gregory being quoted this week in The Argos that he'd love Matt Tubbs to be with Crawley next season it appears that AFCB are now trying to clear out those players who have been surplus to requirements. It's really a question of how many players that the Cherries can move on now as they try and get the club more ship-shape for the books. The difficulty with layers like Tubbs is that they are being well paid and they cost the club a lot to bring in in the first place. But perhaps Crawley or another team will be wiling to offer market value.

Miles Addison is another that is said to be likely to move away as he has not been able to win a place in Eddie Howe's side. But there are others too who you can question if they are getting enough games like; Darryl Flahavan, Joe Partington, Shaun MacDonald, Josh McQuoid and Brett Pitman. I don't think all of those will move, but the Cherries can't afford to simply release many players either.
Tubbs in his way out?

No need for Addison.
Is MacDonald happy to stay?
Over the past few months the Cherries have already been doing a lot of house cleaning. Wes Thomas, Wes Fogden, Shwan Jalal, Richard Hughes and Stephen Purches have all come off the player wage bill and the possibility of more is fairly high. I don't think the club is as lean as it perhaps could be yet but with a few more going out the door it will leave some room for a few new faces which is what the Cherries will need if they are to challenge for a play-off spot next time around. Even just staying in the Championship is something that will be hard to achieve if you stand still. The challenge is that there are many other clubs out there trying to off-load players as well and they will be in similar positions looking to get some return on assets that no longer feature for them.  

It's full steam ahead for AFCB, but are you coming too?

We now know the full line up for the 2014/15 Championship. Well done to Rotherham. Whatever their targets for next season I am sure that AFCB's are among the most ambitious. If you hadn't realised it, AFCB is on a course to do everything it can to get to the Premiership. Take a look around you next time you are at Dean Court, it has been changing fast. The people are the same but the vision has altered. I hope the friendliness of the club does not suffer, but there is certainly ambition in peoples' eyes and it is led by the man at the top who we hardly ever see - Maxim Demin. As silent people go he is having a massive impact on what happens next. Sure there are familiar faces around such as Eddie Howe and Jeff Mostyn but many fans may be in less of a rush to get to the Premiership when they look at their increased season ticket prices, it is a different club even from what we knew 12 months ago.

Jeff Mostyn was honest enough to say that the club did not like to see season tickets escalate by so much but I felt that last season was a bit of a tester and that the club perhaps undervalued itself a little and a bit of reality has now set in. This is not a business where it is easy to break even and despite when you have a reasonably successful club. Finances have to be put in place for AFCB to keep its push for the top tier alive and there had to come a time when the club would ask a bit more from its supporters.

How that will all go down is something that we will all see for ourselves come early August when we look around at who is sitting next to us. In some ways it would have been nice if the club had announced a few valuable sweeteners like making some of the pre-season games half price for season ticket holders or discounts on away matches if you have signed up for the new season ticket, such things may yet still happen of course. I also saw a campaign started for raising the Junior Cherry age limit to 18 which would seem sensible to me considering that education continues to the age of 18.
There's a lot happening at the Goldsands stadium these days.

These are all things that we can ponder about and talk to the club about, but the one thing you have to ask yourself is what do you want of your football club. Is it simply good football at the Championship level or the dream of Premiership football? If it is neither, you have long since left the Goldsands stadium and for those that remain the difficult times are coming, because we simply don't have the pool of fans yet that is big enough to keep prices low and sustain the push the club to the heights that it wants to get to. Being an AFCB support is never easy even when the sun is shining.  

World Cup Chimes takes a look at Wayne Rooney and asks is he world class?

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Leyton Orient or Rotherham to complete the Championship

The new look Championship will soon be in place. Following QPR's promotion yesterday and Derby County's unlucky day at missing out, Leyton Orient and Rotherham United will fight it out this afternoon at Wembley for the final place in next season's Championship. While we have seen Jalal and Stockley go to Orient on loan this season and former Cherry Mathieu Baudry is still playing for the London club, my preference is certainly for the London club to make the leap up to the Championship. Orient have been up and near the top two for most of the season and I would like to see Russel Slade take his side up a division.

AFCB players could be warming up at Leyton Orient again next season.
This picture sees the AFCB players at Brisbane Road
in 2012/13 - do you remember Jalal's indecision during that game?
The difficulty is that Rotherham stand in their way and Bournemouth have other stories there in the shape of Wes Thomas, Miles Addison and Matt Tubbs. Thomas scored in the play-off semi-final against Preston and is finding his form again after his long spell without a goal at AFCB. Addison only made six appearances for the Millers when he was there on loan, but Matt Tubbs was also at Rotherham for a while on loan before joining Crawley for most of last season. So AFCB have played their part in the fortunes of both clubs last season.

Whichever team gets up they will have a good chance to follow in AFCB's footsteps, but they too will be looking to strengthen their squads and some of our players that have been out of favour could well be seen as possible fits for such clubs.

This match hasn't hype associated with the play-off for the Premiership, but it will be no less appealing for the fans of Rotherham and Leyton Orient. It would be great if either Mathieu Baudry or Wes Thomas get the winning goal today and for one of them it will be a fabulous prospect to know that a win will see them get the chance to meet up with old colleagues next season.

Last season's home fixture pictures against Brighton & Hove Albion on 30 November 2013 have been uploaded to Cherry Chimes Facebook page. You can download the phone app to quickly see the pictures or do a search on Facebook for Cherry Chimes.

We also have a new story on World Cup Chimes - All Roy needs to do is to get to penalties. Enjoy the sun today!

Saturday, 24 May 2014

MatchDay programme is a Champion read

It is very satisfying to hear that AFCB have the best SKYBet Championship MatchDay programme. The award is further recognition of how hard the club is striving to be the best and while the price has remained at £3 the pages have gone up. More importantly, I think the content is very strong and there is a good mixture of fan comments, player interviews and Junior Cherry Fun.
Come and get your Match Day programme.
I do wonder if the skipper, Eddie Howe and Jeff Mostyn are often scratching their heads over what to say that would be different from each other at the start of each programme but I usually see fans with a copy of the book under their arms on a match day. When you consider that there are a lot of ways to receive information on AFCB now it is quite a credit to the media department that they still make the MatchDay programme a must read piece of the jigsaw. My favourite was the Liverpool FA Cup programme and I look forward to seeing big clubs in the programme next season.

Whether other parts of the media coverage on the club are as good I don't know. I think the experiment with YouTube has worked really well and the Spotif posts seem to go down well. As for Cherries Player, which is a football league device that all the clubs use, I find it of less value now. My main need for it comes with listening to some of the away matches that I can't make but most or parts of the interviews now are available by other means.

I do find twitter and facebook a great way of keeping up with what is happening at AFCB and for those who don't yet follow these types of Social Media I advise you to jump on board. At least we all know that the club values its paper based communication through MatchDay programme and it will be of interest to see how it changes to look of some of those pages next season.  

You can check on how AFCB has been doing with its social media growth on the Nineteen Eighty Four Website. The site records hits for the official club social media addresses on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Google+. We could do with more people tweeting and facebooking to start climbing these leagues.

Michael Dunne will be releasing another All Departments' podcast today with Milton Graham. He was always good value to bang in a few goals, find out what he is up to now and what he most remembers about his playing days. I'll post the podcast on Cherry Chimes when it comes out and the All Departments' website is the first place to check.

Friday, 23 May 2014

Are Collison and Cole worth trying to grab?

We know that Eddie Howe likes Jack Collison and was pleased to have him on load at AFCB in the early part of the 2013/14 season. As a free transfer Collison is likely to be looking at possible moves to where he has recently played on loan with Wigan also possibly a potential move for him. Whether Eddie Howe believes that the central midfield area needs further strengthening is anybody's guess, but goal power is something that is most desired and Jack may not quite have enough to excite Eddie this time around.

Another prospect must surely be Joe Cole, who has also been released by West Ham, and at 30 he still has a few years of quality football to give and has the experience that may be of great value to a team like AFCB. Watching Joe in Stephen Purches' testimonial match for 20 or so minutes gave AFCB supporters enough to know that Joe Cole is still able to dominate proceedings when he is on the pitch.
Collison has age (25) and experience on his side but does he shoot enough?

Any number of released players from the Premiership will be linked with possible moves to teams like AFCB, but value for money and quality is what the Cherries need. At the moment though the transfer market has not really started to bubble. The Cherries are not sure if they are going to lose many players or not and the decisions as to where to strengthen will be crucial. If Grabban does go, you would expect them Cherries to bring in another striker, although I could see McQuoid and Kermorgant perhaps being tried as well as Rantie being given more games. The midfield has already been bolstered with Dan Gosling and I am not certain that more wide players are needed which would mean Joe Cole is less likely to of interest.

It's in defence where I believe Eddie will possibly have to do some more business. Steve Cook may well stay but the team let in too many goals last season for a big promotion tilt and  I believe another central defender could be a must considering that Ward and Elphick missed several games last season.

So for me Collison and Cole are not as high on the agenda as they might have been last year, but I bet AFCB are pondering over some of those who have been released this week from the top clubs.  

Are there too many fouls in the Championship?

I remember my playing days fondly as all middle aged men probably do. I used to play on the playground as well as on the school pitches and while we used to tackle pretty hard I don't remember so many poor challenges as we see in the professional game today. One of my friends did have his leg broken during a school game but that was the only major injury that I recall. As boys playing for your school team the aim was never to hurt the opposition or to try and get an advantage by fouling deliberately to break up a move, but today you see shirt pulling and arm pulling all the time at corners and during general play. But I wonder if such tactics are self-defeating?
If referees didn't allow a few infringements to go unnoticed
we would probably have 5 against five on the pitch by half time.
It is good to know that AFCB are top of one table. The Cherries were the best team in not conceding too many penalties (just 3 all season) or suffering many goals from free kicks, but I can think of one or two last season that were costly challenges. The Cherries only committed 390 fouls in total, which was by far the lowest in the Championship with the next cleanest team being Doncaster on 429 - so much for the dirty northern slogan. Bournemouth did collect their fair share of yellow cards though, a healthy 65 and 4 reds, but Watford managed to pick up 102 yellows and Blackpool went to town on 10 red cards with 11 penalties conceded. The chief fouling team of all though were Yeovil Town with a whopping 588 free kicks taken against them. Perhaps Gary Johnson no longer needs to wonder why they let in so many goals from dead ball situations.

The game has changed though and it is such a game of chess that dead ball situations are sought after today, especially with so many free kick specialists. And yet defenders still try and get away with near-like rugby tackles if the referee is not watching and it does not make for great spectator viewing. A full table of the discipline for clubs in the Championship is give on the Football League website.

It makes me think are the yellow and red card punishments really the only way of dealing with persistent foulers? I know sin bins have been considered and even trialed, but I am not a fan of 9 against 11 etc. We want teams to see that ability should win the day and not cheating, but the money involved in the game today is so vast that winning is a must at almost any cost. A foul if you can get away with it is deemed worth the risk nine times out of 10. 

We may like to see a clean game of football but it just isn't so easy anymore. Is it any wonder that the referees are becoming more well known when they have to make decisions on players that are stretching the rules all the time? Sometimes, we don't know how lucky we are at AFCB to see a good game of football most weeks rather than a stop start free kick horror show, but we are not in the playground anymore and Championship teams will be taught such gamesmanship by some coaches that are well learnt in such under hand tactics. Ask yourself though is it football? 

Today, we also have written a small piece on World Cup Chimes about the Brazuca - do you know what that is? 

New shirt designs will be eagerly awaited by fans

I have not heard any announcement yet about the new shirt designs yet. Hang, on scratch that - I did not think the club would respond so quickly after I posted this story this morning, but as they have announced the dates of the new shirt release I had better now give you a link to their story here.

What  I do know is that a large order was placed back in August last year for them to be made in time for the start of new season. This batch of shirts will be the first with the new golden emblem which were said to usher in a new era for the club. As a whole I think the golden Dickie Dowsett logo has gone down well with the fans and I expect there will be a race on to get one of the first new shirts off of the production line.
Do you need a new shirt? Would you pay a bit more for the new shirts?
While the red and black is surely to feature on the home kit the choice for away and third kit is any one's guess, although the club has had a recent like for black to featured on one of the strips. I sent a quick email off to Max Fitzgerald in the Media Department to see if he would give away any secrets on the new kits but he has kept quiet so far - not even a due date, sorry. Green and shocking pink I hope the club stays away from, but I hope they keep the diagonal stripe on the away kit even if it reminds people of Crystal Palace, Many City or dare I say the Saints.  

I always find it quite incredible how the designers can come up with such different patterns each time. Still they manage to change them enough for us to think about by a new strip and there is something very unifying about seeing the same shirt around the ground. Having said that I kind of like it when I see the very old strips that I have long forgotten about. They are wrapped up in memories of seasons gone by and it's good to feel that the club has a bit of history about it.

Which players do you think are best to model the shirts this time round? I opt for Tommy Elphick as club captain, Simon Francis as Mr Dependable and wee Ryan Fraser as he always has a grin on his face. So what will it be sir or madam - the home kit, the away kit or the Third kit? I know you want all three don't you?

Today, we also have written a small piece on World Cup Chimes about the Brazuca - do you know what that is? 

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Improving Development players is slow but worthwhile

While Premiership teams ponder over Greg Dykes Team B Division 3 league proposals, teams like AFCB in the Championship are said to be not effected by such ideas at this stage and yet even Bournemouth have a group of Development Squad players that need games and experience. How these players are best served is a question for Stephen Purches and Joe Roach and Eddie Howe, but the fact that players are keen to come to Bournemouth in their teenage years means that the club is attracting young players that it needs to develop and integrate into the first team.
Ryan Fraser stands out well ahead of other
young players at AFCB at the moment.
While there are some league, cup and friendly games for the Development squad there is little opportunity to give youth their chance in the Championship. What I do like is the opportunities they have to play in and around the first team especially when first team players are recovering from injuries and need to come back steadily by playing in some Development Squad games. It must be great as a non-first team player to get the opportunity to be an equal on the pitch with some players that have already made it and to learn from them. Ryan Fraser has shown that if you have the ability you will be played at Championship level, but getting a train of players through the system is what the Cherries need if they are to keep their costs down on player transfers and develop players that are ultimately good enough for the first team.

It is clear that the club wants to take as many players forward as it can and if Development players are to be given new contracts that gives some indication that the club is pleased with their progress and there is a chance that some of them will make the grade either at AFCB or at another club if they are sold for the right price. The potential sale of Adam Lallana with a 25 per cent sell on clause coming to AFCB shows one of the merits of having an academy even when we see players finish their development elsewhere. 

The loan system currently seems the best way though for many of these players, like those pushing for first team action such as Jayden Stockley and Sam Matthews, for example, to get some regular competitive football. But even then it is important that AFCB put such players with clubs that play in the way that improves development. I must admit I would have liked to have seen more players come through in the last five years at AFCB, but I am sure we will eventually get more players like Danny Ings and Josh McQuiod on the conveyor belt.

We have a special free subscription May Newsletter for those looking feature their company on Cherry Chimes or if you simply want to know what have been the most read stories on the blog since its start up.

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Wednesday, 21 May 2014

How much is Eddie going to have to spend?

This summer looks like a real stepping stone for AFCB as they look to ensure that the foundations are in place for a team that can not only be stable in the Championship but has a good chance of reaching the play-offs. For that to happen it is likely that Eddie Howe will need to spend and fairly big. But how much is Maxim Demin willing to back him? And can the potential player sales that the club completes offer enough funds to get like-for-like or better replacements?
Will the financial fair play barrier stop Eddie Howe from
spending as much as he or the club would like?
The Financial Fair Play rules are not going to make it possible for the Cherries to splash out as they may have liked to. I can't see enough money coming in through the regular business (yes - those season tickets) and player sales to see substantial spending this summer, so Eddie Howe is going to have to recruit very wisely and maybe a little of the radar of the normal channels. While his foreign pickings of Mohammed Coulibaly and Tokelo Rantie have not made an immediate impact it is not particularly easy to get bargains in England anymore. The free transfer of Dan Gosling is great business and while I see lots of Championship clubs releasing players they are often the players that have not made the grade or are coming to the end of their careers.

Scotland is becoming more popular as an area of picking up talent and the club has already profited from Ryan Fraser's arrival. The Irish contingent at the club is also strong now and while many of us don't get to see much football from such places, AFCB's eyes are definitely tracking players in places that are much more distant these days. This may mean that Eddie Howe can get more for his money but how far would say £3 million get you these days? At Championship level it would probably be one or two players. Somehow though I think Eddie Howe will need to pick up four or five new players. With the club's financial losses mounting as well I would be surprised if the budget is any bigger than this.

Having already shelled out £750,000 on new pitches the generosity of Maxim Demin continues to push the club forward. Generating more income though is the best way for the club to sustain its status and that could mean turning over a good few players - it's going to be a busy summer.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Is Maxim Demin getting serious on a Premiership assault?

There are rumours of AFCB being interested in Georgios Samaras the Greek international and Celtic striker who used to play for Man City. While such a player would add far more aggression to the Cherries front line, I don't see him as anything like a like-for-like striker for the possibly out-going Lewis Grabban. Samaras is strong in the air at 6ft 4in and uses his power and weight with great strength to dominate defences. Such a front man would make a pretty fearsome strike force with Yann Kermorgant and really would make Championship club sit up and take notice of what AFC Bournemouth are doing.

The Greek star has been at Celtic for six years now and he just might be up for a new challenge. How far Maxim Demin is wiling to flash the cash is not clear but such a player would command a large salary having been at the top tier of British football. Samaras certainly has experience and that know how could be crucial in getting AFCB further up the table. With big earners set to come to the club one does speculate how much of a gamble is being taken to reach the Premiership? One of my friends is a Plymouth fan and he has often warned me to enjoy the good times but be worried of the club seems to be spending beyond its means. Argyle now languish in league Two with many of their former players now littering the Premiership and Championship, while they club they used to play for is looking for funds to improve Home Park.

Looking at the top six that made the Championship play-offs this season though, only Derby and Burnley could be said not to have a spattering of big named former Premiership stars in their line ups. With the signing of Dan Gosling already it indicates to me that Maxim Demin could be getting serious about his assault on the Premiership. The likelihood of potential moves for Samaros or Coventry's Callum Wilson are far from clear though and we still don't even know if Lewis Grabban will make personal terms with Cardiff City yet. Mind you, Middlesbrough or Brighton, to name two other interested parties, will probably come in with offers if Lewis does turn Cardiff down.

Price rise and player sales unlikely to slow season ticket demand

The 2013/14 season tickets are to go on sale to current AFCB season ticket holders on Wednesday 21 May and while AFCB have tried to keep prices down supporters are in for a 20 per cent increase on last seasons prices across the board. The club will be hoping that not only all of the regular seat warmers at Dean Court sign up again, but that a whole host of new fans sign up for the first time after 2 June.  To play Championship football comes at a price, especially with gates as low as 10,000 compared to 25,000 of the top clubs and some of the cost is  being put into the season ticket price following modest prices last year. AFCB have to try and up their income to offset the Financial Fair Play rules and it was probably to be expected that the club would ask fans to back them as they aim higher. A full list of the prices can be found on the club's official website

The potential loss of Lewis Grabban will not make much of a dent in the number of season ticket holders and even with a much changed team, fans will be looking forward to see what a line up with a few new Cherries would be able to achieve under Eddie Howe. Dan Gosling should be the first of several new signings this summer.
Dean Court has seen many full houses of late.
The Championship is where I feel the club should be at the moment and a new adventure is waiting to unfold in August. Before then we can certainly feel that anything is possible and with players perhaps departing it is easy to be a bit uneasy about seeing change again when the Cherries have had such a good season. But all of last season is in the past and we move on. You have the opportunity to buy a season ticket for the next chapter of the story. Some of the lines will be the same and while a few of the players may change, the underlying feel and style of the book will not change. It is time to write some new pages in Bournemouth's history and to reach the next level things have to change some more.

I see the next stage as just another challenge. Just like staying in the league and getting promotion from Leagues Two and One, AFCB have a target and there are probably many ways to go about getting to that next stage. What is crucial though is that the supporters come and the football remains entertaining. I hope that the prices are affordable to families and supporters who were unable to buy more than a few tickets to games last season. In the past few seasons football at Dean Court has been exceptional value and I don't believe the style of play will be any less entertaining in 2014/15. We will get behind the players that wear the shirt and any new supporters to the club we welcome. UTCIAD!

What do you feel about the season ticket price rise? Will you go to less away games or miss some pre-season friendlies to save some cash or will you attend as many games as you can no matter what?

Monday, 19 May 2014

Is McQuoid off to pastures new or staying put?

Josh McQuiod has had a difficult time since coming back to AFCB. He is another player who would have been keen to have played in our final game of the season as an ex-Millwall player but has been out on loan at Peterborough since January. He has been lucky enough to play in the FA Trophy final at Wembley and even scored the first goal on Peterborough's way to a 3-1 victory against Chesterfield. Having helped Posh into the play-off places he could not get them to the League One play-off final. Now his loan period will be up and he'll return to the Cherries. 

Josh still has a year to go on his Bournemouth contract and while he might find that the Posh are interested in him of they get promoted through the play-offs, I believe he still has a shot of playing a part in the Cherries forthcoming season. He was injured for the first part of the 2013/14 season and Eddie Howe has only used him sparingly since Eddie Howe came back to the club, but with Andrew Surman looking like returning to Norwich permanently, Josh may well be given an opportunity to add some of the goals that are needed from that area of the pitch.
Josh will need a good pre-season to push
for a place in the Cherries first team.
It is wise to remember that AFCB do want to try and reduce some of their debts and constantly buying new players while also paying others not playing on their books is a good way of increasing debts. I would hope that Josh would want to prove himself at AFCB and the fans should be generous to give him all the support they can if he lines up again for the Cherries. Josh will only be 25 in December and sometimes we forget how young he is as a player having left and returned to the club. He knows the club inside out and will have been taught be Joe Roach as well as Jason Tindall and Eddie Howe and knowing the club's style of play so well should give him more ammunition than most to be able to get into the side. I don't think that Eddie Howe has felt that Josh has been fully fit for much of the last few months but having got some games in at Peterborough and hopefully got a taste for contributing again I would like to see Josh prove a few people wrong having had a good pre-season.
Can Josh step up his performances?
Finally, the news today is that Stephen Purches is to hang up his boots which is sad to hear but perhaps not that unexpected. We wish him well with everything he does in his coaching capacity with the Development squad and perhaps he can inspire more AFCB players to do as well as he did for the club. 

Who were the Championship under achievers last season?

At the start of a season everyone hopes to do well and yet only a few teams can ever be successful. That leaves a good many fans disappointed at their team's performance of over a season, but who were the real under achievers in the Championship in 2013/14?

If we say that those in the top six have all had good seasons I may have to question even that. With the squad and money that has been thrown at QPR you can't say that they can consider third place a truly successful year and Harry Redknapp will surely feel that things have not gone entirely their way. I also believe that Wigan might have done a bit better if they had played with the kind of endeavour they had in the second half of the season right from the start, but Uwe Rosler may well have had something to do with that. His appointment has them moving in the right direction.
Leeds Utd were the most disappointing team for me last season.
Blackburn and Ipswich have both improved since the 2012/13 season and their managers have made them harder teams to beat. But all is perhaps not quite well at Reading who seem to have a split between fans who like Nigel Adkins and those who don't. I see difficult times ahead for the Royals and they may find that the Premiership is going to be out of sight for some time to come from what I saw of their players. Without new owners Reading could even be in trouble next season.  
Leeds players ready to kick off at Dean Court.
The real under achievers though for me are Nottingham Forest, Middlesbrough, Bolton, Watford and wait for - the biggest of them all Leeds United. These clubs sit in the middle of the Championship and yet have some of the best paid players and quality squads. I think Watford, Nottingham Forest and Middlesbrough perhaps have a case for managerial changes affecting their seasons a little, but I don't think it made a big difference at Bolton and Leeds United who don't seem to be any closer to getting it right on the pitch than 12 months ago.

It was all too easy against Leeds Utd.
You can argue a case for Charlton, Birmingham and Blackpool also under achieving but I feel that Charlton over achieved last season and Birmingham and Blackpool hit the self destruct button more than once during this last season. These three have not got the biggest budgets, but need a lot of team building to survive next time around. The loan system certainly wasn't great for Birmingham City.  

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Sunday, 18 May 2014

Eunan O'Kane may be able to help Torquay

I don't think Chris Hargreaves will have won too many new Bournemouth fans with his views that Eunan O'Kane is ready for the Premiership. Still he has a motive for saying such things with 15 per cent of any transfer fee going to the Devon club who are now in the Conference and will be seeking plenty of funds to keep what players they can. How much this is the work of agents looking to get their players a move is hard to tell, but I would rather have a team to support where the players have been doing well and are being looked upon as great buys than a team struggling to find form and no way of off loading players. 
Eunan O'Kane has been a central link in AFCB's great season.
Eddie Howe will certainly be less keen to see his players constantly being held up as potential Premiership buys unless he really has a desire to boost the club's finances by cashing in on the players that have done so well for him. Eunan is definitely one of the players who has shown that he can play at the highest level and his performances really carried the team for a while in the early part of the season. He found his role as a deep midfield player and his confidence has just continued to grow ever since that FA Cup goal he hit against Wigan.

Whether a Premiership club is ready to take a shot at Eunan is mere speculation at the moment but as the papers go through the Bournemouth squad in assessing each one's merits as a potential buy we may have to nail down the goal posts at Dean Court just in case any body wants those as well. The constant that may well keep players at the club is the knowledge that Eddie Howe and Jason Tindall are not going anywhere. It is just as well as the exodus could be substantial and AFCB will need a manager that can assemble a new team with pedigree. Twitter noise has been linking AFCB with St Mirren Midfielder Kenny McLean, but AFCB are quiet on potential targets at the moment.

Just in case any Premiership managers are reading this - there are other Championship clubs with good players apart from AFC Bournemouth. UTCIAD!

Can Burnley tempt Cook away?

It didn't take long for rival clubs to see that the Cherries have a crop of young players that are worth snatching. Burnley are the latest club to show an interest in one of AFCB's players, according to Sky Sports and Sean Dyche looks set to splash out the cash to secure another star performer for the Cherries last season. Burnley had one of the best defences in the Championship, but it is clearly going to need some more recruits to live in the top tier of English football. Cook is only 23 and it is a surprise perhaps that he could be targeted as a possible Premiership player having only just had one season in the Championship, but it underlines how well he and his Bournemouth team mates have been doing.

Steve Cook - a wanted man.
While the Grabban move to Cardiff is by no means a done deal, I can see a transfer to a Premiership club whisked through pretty quickly if Burnley can match Bournemouth's asking price. I suppose Eddie Howe would not want to lose Steve Cook to anyone, but if he is to go then Burnley are a club that he still feels fondly about and would like to feel that he is still thankful for the time he and Jason Tindall had their. That should not mean that AFCB cave in easily though. With only a few days into the transfer window we could already be seeing two of the main first eleven leaving the club and while I expect good money is involved those players will need replacing.
Cook would be a huge loss for the Cherries, but he has just
got better and better under Eddie Howe.
Eddie Howe used 32 players in the Championship last season and while those who played well are likely to come under the spotlight, if AFCB see their best players leave it will make that second season in the Championship a much more difficult. This is perhaps one of the most important summers that the club has had since 2011 when so many of the current players came to the club.

Saturday, 17 May 2014

How hard should the Cherries fight to keep their players?

We have been hearing varying things from AFCB and the media about the club's star players being sought after by various Premiership and Championship teams. So far Lewis Grabban is the only player to have seen an official bid come in and for it to be accepted by the club. So should the club now start putting up barriers and say no to some of these bids if more come in for a squad that the club said it wants to keep together?
Steve Cook is said to be a target for Burnley.
Premiership football is something that Cook will surely find hard to turn down.
Eddie Howe was quite clear that he wanted to work with the same players next season with a few additions. But he will know that sometimes not everyone's ambitions are the same and the lure of a higher wage bill could mean that he has to find a few players more for next year's campaign. The Cherries have always needed to sell players to keep the books straight and while Maxim Demin may be able to fund a squad and facilities that are the best we have ever seen at AFCB, there comes a time when a club should not block career progression and the Cherries always seem pretty fair to their players in this regard.

Sometimes though you wonder if saying no a few times to clubs with bids for players is such a difficult thing to do. One imagines that such decisions are made at board level and the finances of the club are always a major talking point along with the options for replacements and their potential cost. It takes a long time to get a squad together though and Eddie Howe has something here at Dean Court that he can build on, but it is build on and not rebuild. I would be surprised if we do not have more clubs like Fulham, Crystal Palace and others trying to pull a few more players away from AFCB, after all we have a young squad with lots of potential and players that desire to do well. My only wish is that AFCB do not lose more than two of their first eleven this summer. 

It will be a long summer with players like Steve Cook and Eunan O'Kane likely to be talked about in the back pages, but if the Cherries can replace players with quality they will be in a good position to try and achieve more next season.  Eddie Howe has never been in a position to have large funds available for him for players but with the price tags on the current crop of AFCB players going up he is likely to have a good budget to go and get the players he wants to add to the team.

Football is an addiction for Eddie and many others

The summer months may mean no Championship football for AFCB but Eddie Howe is certainly not taking a rest. It will be the busiest time of the year in many ways and I wonder if his family ever get a rest from the football clock. If you read the last Match Day programme against Nottingham Forest, which had the Ask Eddie feature in it, there was a very apt question put to Eddie by Paul Longhurst about what had surprised Eddie about being a manager? It wasn't the work load or the frustration of being on the sidelines, but simply the addiction that he now has for the game.
Eddie has the addiction to footie, do you?
In many ways I can sympathise with Eddie about his addiction to the great game as I am sure many of you can too. For me, Cherry Chimes has become a bigger part of my life than I had ever expected and I hope you all continue to like reading my views while the blog continues on its merry way. But the game takes on new meaning when you have a connection with it in checking on the performance of players, yesterday's results and forthcoming fixtures. As a reporter, we can switch off now and again when the opportunity arises but for a club manager there simply is no break.

I don't quite find as many days when I can switch off as I used to now and the prospect of never stopping thinking about the game and the goings on at AFCB gradually creep up on you. Once hooked though it is hard to let go and that is what makes me have the utmost respect for Eddie Howe, because he did give it up once for a new challenge at Burnley and found that things were perhaps not quite the same. Long may he be addicted to the AFCB hot seat, because I can't think of a single manager that could d a better job with the squad of players that we have at the club. UTCIAD!  

As a novice football addict myself I have not been sitting doing nothing as we have a World Cup around the corner. I am already getting up to speed now that the FA Cup means the end of our domestic season. You too can find out which blogs are top of the league when it comes to the World Cup if you take a look at World Cup Chimes where you will see the Samba beat has already taken hold.

FA Cup day - it could of been us!

Well, okay it was a long shot for AFC Bournemouth to perhaps come away with a victory against Liverpool in the Fourth Round, let alone going on to beat Arsenal at the Emirates stadium - we will leave that for next year perhaps. We don't want to get ahead of ourselves now do we. Still, FA Cup day has taken a bit of a pounding in recent years. The indignity of it not being the last game of the season last year was hard to take and that came after a certain Red Devil team not even entering the competition a few years ago - shame on them!
We'll look forward to the game today and next year's competition.
For me and only a few million other football fans around the world, FA Cup day is a special day when the family should gather around the telly to watch the game. Let's face it unless you are lucky enough to be a supporter of one of the teams or a corporate box sponsor at Wembley there is little chance of you or me getting such a seat on a day like this. Even many of the fans of each club in the final are likely to be disappointed. Still, I hope Hull City and yes it is still City and Arsenal have a great day and hold the FA Cup in high regard.  

It may seem a distant event for the Cherries to aspire to, but we now have a club that only enters the competition in the Third Round and does not have to win so many matches to get to a semi-final as Sheffield Utd and Wigan have proved this last season. Whether AFCB get the opportunity to go to Wembley in the FA Cup, League Cup or through the play-offs one day, I know we would love the chance to pack out that stadium and the odds of the club doing that in future years are starting to come down. We have just signed a player who has played in an FA Cup final and by obtaining such players the expectations of the Cherries must surely start rising higher. 

If I get to Wembley just once with AFCB I will ensure that it is a day to remember. I hope the Hull City fans in particular savour every moment, while Arsenal need to win a cup just to give us all a bit of peace and quiet about the media going on and on about how they never win anything. Well, Gooners perhaps it will be your day. But next year I fancy the Cherries to build on their FA Cup performance against Liverpool and get a step or two nearer to that special turf at HA9 OWS. UTCIAD! 

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Friday, 16 May 2014

Stats and more stats

I don't always think stats tell you everything about a game or a player. Sometimes though you can see things that are not always so apparent from the sidelines and I was intrigued by some of the stats that Millwall had in their programme on AFCB's season.

You might well have expected to hear that Lewis Grabban was way out ahead on 141 shots recorded, but would you have expected him to have 44 more shots than the player who had the second most number of shots? That player was Matt Ritchie by the way. I expect that with a striker like Kermorgant likely to play a similar number of games next season to whoever partners him up front, it should be a lot closer next season. But it shows you how many times Lewis Grabban got himself into positions to shoot and that his return n goal could well have been bigger.

Another stat I liked was the most used sub. It was Brett Pitman on 20 appearances which shocked me a little as I did not think that Brett had been used to such an extent as that. Tokelo Rantie was second on 13 used sub appearances while Ryan Fraser was only third on 13. It doesn't tell you how often Shaun MacDonald got on the subs bench you can add them up yourself and can tell that despite his number of times being in the squad he just wasn't used that much.
Brett was the one who leaped up from the bench the most last season.
The best stat of all though has to be the number of fouls committed. Perhaps some of us should say well done to Harry Arter because he is getting better and was not the chief offender. Simon Francis had that dubious honour with 51 fouls before the Millwall game, but having played in every match perhaps that is not such a surprise after all. Harry had 38 foul tackles if you were wondering and yes, he was the second biggest offender. 

The only other stat that perhaps could see an improvement next season is the average home attendance at Dean Court of 9951. It would be good to see that over 10,000 next season but it is something that is achievable and if the number of full season ticket holders goes up it could be a struggle to get a seat on the gate next season. 

Can Gosling add a bit of quality to the Cherries' midfield?

Dan has had a bit of a stutter in his career which he will be trying to put right at AFCB. His early seen talent won him several England caps at U17-21 and all looked to be going well for him when he made his first big move from Plymouth to Everton in 2008. I know Everton fans felt that he was a player that was steadily improving although he was sold to Newcastle out of contract. But he had played in an FA Cup final and featured in Europa League matches as well as the Premiership, so he would have been a good signing for Newcastle. For Bournemouth though he is the kind of addition to the squad that surely breathes of ambition and extra quality.

Dan has had his problems with the football authorities and has also had a cruciate knee ligament injury, but Eddie Howe will put his arm around him and make him know that he is wanted at the club. The Cherries will offer him a new start and at 24 he has plenty of years ahead of him to get back into the Premiership. Eddie likes intelligent players and ones that can run with the ball and suddenly hurt teams, as well as those who can find a pass and Dan Gosling I am sure will very quickly become a fans favourite. He also has recent experience of the Championship having been on loan at Blackpool for three months last season even if he did not line up against the Cherries.

What it means for one or two others in the squad is difficult to say, but Shaun MacDonald for sure has another player to try and get in front of while I believe Harry Arter especially may find that Dan is a player that he will be able to learn from, even if it may be at times that he has to learn from the subs bench. The one aspect that the Cherries' centre midfield arguably needed a little more of was power and drive and Gosling will be a player who I believe will be confident in possession and a threat to the opposition's goal. A free transfer is certainly good business for such an experienced player and from 1 July he is set to sign for four years.

Meanwhile, Eunan O'Kane will already know Dan from his Everton days and I am sure the two of them will have plenty to chat about. A potential friendly against the Merseysiders this summer is perhaps one of the first things they will discuss.

Last season at this time we saw Eddie looking to get some Premiership experienced players on loan such as Andrew Surman and Elliott Ward, even if Ward then signed a permanent deal half way through the season. This time around the ante has gone up and he seems to be trying to bring in players to sign permanently, who are still young and full of energy if this signing is anything to go by. 

While Cardiff City's approach for Grabban may be disappointing, AFCB's reach for bigger names has already started and it must be exciting times for Eddie Howe and his staff who have not been in such a position to buy such talent before. If Eddie Howe can do well with League One and League Two players, what can he do with Premiership players? Maxim Demin and the board seem keen to find out.