Tuesday, 5 August 2014

AFCB forum - 10th isn't good enough for Eddie this season

The Cherries hosted their BBC Solent Fans' Forum tonight with the panel made up of Chairman Jeff Mostyn, captain Tommy Elphick and manager Eddie Howe. It was great to hear a mixture of humour and serious comment through the hour long meeting with both Kris Temple of BBC Radio Solent and all of the panel feeding off the gathered audience of AFCB fans in the Top Floor Restaurant at Dean Court.

There was a rapturous welcome of "Eddie, Eddie" by the fans which Mr Howe was quick to thank. He immediately admitted that the players had prepared well and that pre-season had gone well."We are ready to go," he said. We have had a lot of injuries to our keepers though he admitted.

"Most of our injuries come to keepers," he said. "I don't know what Mossie is doing with them?" he jested.

Tommy Elphick was then introduced and admitted that it had been a hard fixture list going into pre-season. But he was pleased that the team went to Austria early. He also admitted that,"the Gaffer has been really challenging us."

It was Jeff Mostyn's turn as Kris turned to him."Is the Chairman relishing this evening? 
"There is one thing I would like to make clear - I am not going to ask anyone to go down the road and support any one else," said Jeffto hoots of laughter.

"Finishing 10th a hard task to beat?" said Kris.
"Our job is to be sensible, realistic and ambitious," said Jeff. "We are all driven with the goal to take this club to the Premier League."

Seasn Ticket prices
Supporter Ken Foot then asked a question to Mr Mostyn about why the 20 per cent hike in the season ticket? "Thank you for the question." said Jeff "You have asked the question on the basis of many of the supporters I expect. One of the problems we have is success. Success has brought us it's own problems... Financial fair play has made us balance the books. With a support of 11,000 we can generate the commercial income of those clubs with 20,000-30,000 fans.

"We have to sell out and balance the books. This football club is open for business 23 days a year but has 365 days of expenditure. We gave a great deal of thought to the ticket prices.Last season we did not raise the prices. We wanted to make sure the club was successful and retained its place in the Championship.We probably have the best young managers in England and one of the best teams. I do sincerely hope you understand.

Mike From Parley asked with the Adam Lallana sale can we purchase the stadium back? Jeff was quick to point out that the two are totally unrelated. " The Lallana deal helped us with our quest to meet Financial Fair play," he added. "We can afford to buy the stadium back but we have chosen not to."

Jeff said it would be about 3.5 per cent of the interest if we borrowed money to buy the stadium. " It is not something our of our grasp. It all comes back to retaining our place in the Championship and our goal of the Premier League." he stated.

We are currently carrying out a feasibility study on expansion of the ground he went continued. "People often ask why develop a stadium you don't own?" he said. The answer was that it would draw in another 4000 fans and that revenue was important.

"If we can get capacity to 15,000 or more, we can sell tickets on the open markets. We want to make sure people can buy a last minute ticket," said Jeff.

He pointed out that in many ways the second season in the Championship is seen as the most difficult."There are lots of white elephant stadiums from Lands End to John'O Groats and we don't want one of them," he said.

"Initially, we are looking at the possibility of the South stand and increasing capacity there and replacing the stand with a larger temporary one or a permanent one. People have also said about filling in the corners which would also be a desire. By doing this the ground changes from a ground to a stadium. With the main stand there is also the possibility of increasing capacity moving up. It's Dean Court and this is where you all want to be."

Footballing tactics
Arthur Dan had a question for Eddie. Is there any advantage in defending free kicks with 11 men when a striker upfront can gain an advantage. "The main objective is not to concede so we bring everyone back. We like to have our posts covered and don't want to be caught out," said Eddie.

Kris Temple asked - finished 10th large year are we still underdogs? "The league can be split with parachute payment and and transfers, but compared to some we are in a better position," said Eddie.

"We have a confident team and very much progressing. We have to lose the underdog tag but we are punching above our weight in terms of wages - Tommy will tell you!! (laughter). We can't do it as it would ruin the club. We have to produce young players the Bournemouth way and we don't lose track of where we come from."

Replacing Grabban
Shaun Keys of New Milton asked: How do we replace Lewis Grabban and what do you think of wing back systems and playing 3-5-2? "Lewis Grabban highlights the point he was able to treble his wages, " said Eddie."Players have to maximise wages - it's a short career. A year ago he was not like the player he left. We have to find another one and we have the players to do that. 3-5-2 we played a bit last year and in pre-season. We play with two up front invariably. We like to be flexible and prepare for different games in different ways."

Callum Wilson how big a step up? asked Kris Temple.

"It is a big step but near enough all our players did that last year. He has the attributes to do it" said Eddie.

Tommy - "he's very good. Everyone has to get better. He's his own man and own player and we need to help him."

Premier League the goal?
Lesley from the audience asked, realistically are we looking at consolidation and taking more time or a real drive for the Premiership? "We'll take it as it comes and every game at a time. We'll over achieve if we can. The players have the right mentality to be a success." said Eddie.

Jeff Mostyn added: "We should not feel we are disadvantages. There are a lot of over paid poor footballers. We had that siege mentality a few seasons ago but not now. It's all about the quality of coaches and our players."

Negative play?
Kirk from Northborne said we were negative at the start of the season but once we knew we were not going to get relegated we were lots more positive, played with more freedom? "Freedom?" said Eddie " I don't think we were negative.Try to take initiative and out pass opposition. Our players are very brave and I can't praise them enough at visiting big stadiums and playing in big atmospheres, so in terms of negative no absolutely not."

Pre-season golden boys
Asked if he would pick out who had done well in pre-season, Eddie seemed justifiably a bit reluctant to single anyone out.

"All the lads have come back well in pre-season. Baily Cargill has done well and has had a very good pre-season but all the lads are on a good level. It's a big boost with no transfer fee, which the Chairman likes. Baily has demanded that opportunity. Jack McCarthy 17 at centre half is just behind him. It's very exciting from our perspective," said Eddie.

Legends Bar
John from Castlepoint asked a question to Jeff about the closure of Legends Bar and the problems for disabled people getting upstairs for refreshments.

Jeff replied that Legends was  "a difficult decision and to set the scene we have to remember why we are here. We are a football club and key ingredient is to support the team. One key criteria is developing back room team and analysts, in many ways this is the house that jack built... we've added on bits and pieces piecemeal and it's never conducive to get team together in a private environment and along with the coaches and analysts to reevaluate games and training.

"The only place that  we could identify was Legends after we were refused building a permanent facility by the training pitches. It made a major contributory factor to our success last season. It was the price of success perhaps. I have sympathy for you and others that have found it hard to find the right environment pre-match."

Jeff added that they had looked at having a facility behind the East stand but the Police are not very happy because of the proximity of away supporters."We won't give up on our quest to try and accommodate you," said Jeff.

Eddie added: "It was for the players - a place where they could eat and socialise and watch games, rehydrate and eat the right foods.It was a benefit for us to move the club to the next level. It is unfortunate that it is the only room we could have, so I'll take the blame for that."

Is 10th place good enough?
Second season would you take 10th place again? "No, something inside me would stop me taking that. It would be cowardly to accept 10th place. It's the unknown. We can only work as hard as we can. I look at it positively the players know the demand and have nothing to feat. there wasn't one team that was miles better than us.

"Is the squad better - yes by some distance. Compared to 12 months ago players better from experiences and how they have adapted to high level.

Transfers and new signings
Andy from New Milton new transfers? Eddie chuckled that it had been a while for that question to come.

"Never say never," said Eddie."Nothing in the next few days but we have been working hard with chairman. We are always looking for one or two players and it's difficult with financial fair play but we are trying.

Senior keepers? "We will wait and see."

Baily Cargill and the Development squad players have you any concerns about putting then in?

Eddie said you have to take that on an individual basis. "Baily can do it. He's an integral part of the squad now. We don't want to blood them together and only when they are ready. Bailey can step up."

"Benji can handle the occasion and he is not a young keeper. He's played international football and has kept goal well pre-season. With all young players you have to pick right time and moment," said Eddie.

Biggest lessen
Tommy was asked what his biggest lesson was from last season?
"How ruthless it can be," said Tommy. Huddersfield and Watford games we learnt from and going to some big stadiums like Reading and Brighton and we have built a platform to build on. A clean slate at Huddersfield and we'll be looking to get a win.

Is the pitch playing differently?
Eddie Howe said: "It's not a 3G pitch but it plays quicker. It's been a big investment by the owner and he has deep pockets. When you step up the divisions and want to progress we have to have things the players need. It effects the signings we can make," he added.

"Is it narrower pitch? "An optical illusion Kris," said Eddie  (laughter).

Question to Eddie on Tokelo Rantie 
TK struggled on personal levels away from the pitch away from family, a new culture, new team mates, English ways and changing room and that is before the football things. We have seen a real improvement for him. I have high hopes for him. We want him to play with a smile on his face. Given him (Tommy) and Cookie a tough time in pre-season. We have a real player on our hands," said Eddie.

Any psychology in giving him the No 9 shirt Eddie asked Kris? " His favourite number is 9," came the reply (more laughter).

Anything to be introduced to the Championship?
"I like that spray. One of my bug bears encroaching walls, said Eddie. Football is changing all the time. Jeff added "I'd  like to see defenders vanish!" (howls of laughter).

Big fat Olly on Twitter asked any chance of free or subsidised travel? Jeff said the answer is we always give consideration when the circumstances are right. "We have shown our generosity in the past."

Question about Financial Fair Play
I am confident that we will meet the financial fair play figure for this season," said Jeff but he wasn't going to say anything more than that.

We have avoided the fire sale like the club down the road but what would it take for Eddie to leave so we can head the possibility off? "When I am happy somewhere I wouldn't leave. You can never say never as thing can change at the top of the club."As long as Max and Neil Blake remain here it looks like Eddie stays.

"I'm in dialogue every day with Max. He wants to know about players, transfer, money. He is a Bournemouth supporter now he is hands on and trusts us to run it properly. There is a limit. People should not under estimate what he has invested. Max is a huge part of that and we need to appreciate him."

A question on poor officials
Derby free kick was an injustice. Tommy said: "It is part and parcel of the game - a talking point. It is such a quick game. I try and butter them up." Ian Harte does that especially well, said Kris Temple.

Some more quick fire questions
Ashley Jacobs - More discounts for loyal season ticket holders?
"If you are a fan yes. From our position it is hard to evaluate. With Liz Finney we are working with ideas and we need to integrate technology into things. It is on the agenda for a focus group," said Jeff.

Fans away attendance was great
Message to fans - "More of the same. Home and away was good," said Eddie."At the Bolton game at home fans clapped and stayed with the team. It's important for players. They need the support and its most crucial thing. They players... can reach amazing levels they have even not thought possible.

Fixtures which we pick out?
It doesn't matter every game is huge and we just want to do supporters justice - 3pts.

Eddie are you releaved not to lose more of squad? 
It is our biggest challenge going forward as bigger clubs will say I like him. It costs so much more to recruit from further afield. Keep moving forward together.

First month a tough one?
All the same. They are great games. Would you rather be playing those of lower leagues? We have to try to excel at the higher level.

Show of hands to buy stadium?
Jeff is that a show of hands of those wishing to put their hands in their pockets? (More laughter).

What is a good season? Surpassing last year? 
If that can take us into play offs, all for it - said Tommy.
Improvement on everything performance and results - said Eddie
Supporters continuing to show support  - from the board Room, Jeff.

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