Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Is too much change bad news for Premier League clubs?

AFCB have already brought in several new players for next season. Bringing in someone new is always viewed as a positive, something to reinvigorate the side and get everyone playing for their shirt again at the top of their abilities. But have you ever wondered whether the real strength of a team can be in keeping to a similar pattern with only slight modifications in personnel and staff?
AFCB don't need to change too much, just for the sake of it.
Chairman in the Premier League have already shifted their feet in ousting managers before the next campaign and we have lost Slavisa Jokanovic, John Carver and Sam Allardyce in the last few weeks. You probably have to go as high up the league until you get to Stoke City who finished ninth last season before finding a manager that did not either lose his job at a club or come under severe pressure from the media, questioning if it was time for a change - we'll make Sean Dyche the exception. The new managers will come in with their own ideas and their opinions of the players at their respected clubs, but do they really have a better chance of success than a settled team with a manager that has been at a club for more than a year or two?

Well, I don't want too much to change at Dean Court. Eddie Howe has to be the best option for the Cherries to stay up. The existing players at the club will keep the need for improvement going as well. While some signings are very welcome, I have become used to seeing those familiar faces take to the field and I want to look forward to those players experience the Premier League having fought their way up (Brett Pitman comes to mind). To have that taken away from any of them now is hard, but I also take on board the view that the team has to adapt a little for the best chance of progressing.

The top clubs have just started to really flex their bank accounts and I expect the ripples to go right through the league. Most of the clubs look like staying with the current crop of managers they have in place now and transfer business is hotting up. You can only have 25 players in your registered squad though and I almost feel that clubs should be restricted to develop more of their players than buying in all the time. But be honest which clubs have a production line of young talent? Not enough of them in my book! 

Some of this is to do with the loan system I believe as it is sometimes used just to get a player away from the players a manager wants at his club. The demands are all on the first team winning and those on the fringes need time to develop as well if they are to reach their potential. Let's just hope that AFCB start the season with the right mix.

Look out tomorrow for the Cherry Chimes' July Newsletter which brings you the best stories on the blog and the thoughts behind them over the last month, plus a special Newsletter article on Are Cherries Premier League savvy?

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Monday, 29 June 2015

AFCB spin the wheel with new shirt sponsors

I saw a bit of a mixed reaction to the news this evening that AFC Bournemouth would have a new shirt sponsor for the 2015-16 season. The Mansion Group is a bold and slightly controversial choice of sponsor for this club that tries to be family-orientated, but it is well known that online gaming companies are big investors in sport and the funds will be welcome in what is a competitive market. 

The Mansion Group will be sponsoring all three kits for AFCB as well as the training wear. So no matter who follows AFCB they are going to see Mansion Group very visibly whenever they see the team play or visit the club shop. I'm not sure if the club's trips to Las Vegas had something to do with their thinking but having been promoted from the SkyBet Championship it seems that football has a very close link with gambling whether we like it or not.  

What I did like about the training wear on show was a deep red which could well appear on next season's shirts if the club has continuity in its clothing lies and has to be careful about how it matches other colours against the Mansion Group logo colours.

The new deal brings to an end the previous deal of Energy Consulting which has been on the club shirts for the last three seasons. It is perhaps a sign that the Russian owners want to maximise the commercial prospects for the club by taking Energy Consulting off of the shirts and bringing in a new investor. There were no details about how much the sponsorship was worth but offsetting the costs involved of being in Premier League with larger wages and bigger transfer fees, I think we can see where the club is coming from.

Time will tell if the new partnership is a winner for the Cherries.

Meanwhile, the Daily Mirror is again pushing its view on who AFCB are chasing with Crystal Palace striker Glenn Murray touted as the latest transfer target for the Cherries. Meanwhile, the odds are shortening on Charlie Austin to come to AFCB. Josh McQuoid who was released by the Cherries in May is said to have joined Luton Town, according to Clarets Mad.

Does Distin complete the defensive picture for AFCB?

With Sylvain Distin poised to sign for the Cherries this week, is there still need for further additions in this section of the team? If Eddie Howe wants to play three at the back on occasion there could be need for more cover I suppose and there are no shortage of candidates.

AFCB are already expecting to go to FC Nantes to play a testing pre-season match in July, but have they more interest than that at the French club? Several reports have linked the Cherries with interest in Papy Djilobodji who is a centre back for the Ligue 1 club. As a Senegalise player Papy has won a couple of caps and if as believed, Sylvain Distin has all but signed for the Cherries it would perhaps be an attractive move for the Senagalise international to add to the French speakers at AFCB.

At 26, Papy is arguably in the prime of his career and with his success in Ligue 1 it is going to take a fair bit of negotiation to get him to part with FC Nantes. He has helped the club rise from Ligue 2 and will be very at home playing at the La Beaujoire-Louis Fonteneau stadium. Rated as a £5 million player, he is also being tracked by Southampton and I'd expect the Saints to be favourites to sign him.

Another possibility is Steven Caulker who has been strongly linked with a move from QPR to AFCB. With an asking fee that could top £8 million though it is not the cheap option. Whether the 23-year-old is considered splashing out for or not we will see in the coming weeks, but if he did sign for the Cherries it will put real pressure on Howe to play him ahead of one of AFCB's regular centre backs and it could mean the end to the club's most successful centre back partnership.
Elliott Ward could find his opportunities more
limited if more central defenders are signed. 
Caulker was part of QPR's relegated side from last season and that experience will not have been great for him and he also went through the same punishment with Cardiff City the season before. It is perhaps a recognition of how confident Eddie Howe is in Jason, Simon and his coaching abilities that they might be able to succeed more with Steven Caulker than the fallen Premier League sides have done.  

While the imminent signing of Sylvain Distin would seem adequate cover for the central back position, a younger rising star to also pressure Cook and Elphick would really put the centre back positions up for grabs. It might be particularly bad news for Elliott Ward who has missed a lot of football and will be desperate to show that he can still play in the Premier League, while Baily Cargill has already stated that he does not want a loan move away from AFCB.

The latest player who continues to be linked with AFCB is £5 million-rated Max Gradel of St Etienne, as reported by the Daily Mirror.

Premier Talk
Premier Talk highlights Swansea City and their accepted $5 million bid for Portuguese striker Eder and I ask what about Michu's future?

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Fraser - the long term project

It has taken a few fans by surprise, may be even disappointment, to hear that Ryan Fraser won't get a chance to feature in the Premier league this coming season for AFCB. Yet, it is important to see the bigger picture for Ryan. He needs to develop his game and find the consistency of both delivery and finishing to gain him more games. There is no doubt that he has already been a special player that belies his age and with U21 international recognition he has been pushing hard for a place in the starting line up at AFCB and at times succeeding. With him in discussions to extend his contract at AFCB, he'll be a bigger asset to the Cherries in the future having had and a season at Ipswich Town. Eddie Howe will be looking for to see a more accomplished Ryan Fraser in 12 months time.
Ryan has the ability to be a big success at Ipswich.
While the destination of Ipswich is not immediately a place where Ryan's scurrying style would seem a safe match for him, it is not necessarily harmful for him to experience a different way of playing. Ryan has always been very direct in his running and will add pace to Ipswich's attack which was perhaps not the most mobile last season. He's certainly different to what they have at Portman Road and he might have a thing or two to teach players there as well.

The wealth of talent that Eddie Howe now has at the club on the wings is easily the best that it has ever been in terms of international players with proven pedigree. The long term project has to be to develop the younger players so that the club does not need to buy as many players in future at high market prices. It can't be done with every player, but Ryan Fraser has time to blossom and I'm confident he will because if it wasn't for the form of Marc Pugh last season, Ryan would have had many more appearances in the Championship. Now he can get those games he missed and he'll have Brett there alongside him to encourage him.

So I hope Ryan gives it his very best shot at Portman Road and bags them lots of goals as he is one Scotsman that has been an absolute pleasure to see running down the wings at Dean Court.

Saturday, 27 June 2015

Farewell Brett - you've been a club hero!

It is with a tinge of sadness that Brett Pitman is to end his second spell with AFCB. While the Jersey-man had his fair share of criticism during his time at the Cherries he also scored some vital goals for the club and not only steered them through the times when the club was about to go out of business but also was instrumental in getting the goals to get the team promoted through the leagues in their last few seasons. Now he is destined for Ipswich Town on a three-year contract in the Championship and I expect he'll do well there.

Brett has been a true warrior for AFCB.
All that was achieved with a middle spell that saw him play at Bristol City in the Championship for two-and-a-half seasons (2010-13) and score 20 league goals in 44 appearances. While he did not get as many minutes as he wanted on the pitch at City, he certainly came back to AFCB in November 2012 wanting to prove that he was good enough to play at that level. He more than proved that last season and in any other season his goals against Fulham and Blackpool would have been hot contenders for goal of the season for AFCB. We'll forgive him the slight misunderstanding for the disallowed goal with Junior Stanislas last season - when at home to Millwall - with a two-on-one break, and will certainly remember his tremendous form in League One when he came close in 2012-13 to beating Jermain Dofoe's record of consecutive goals in an AFCB shirt. That is Brett though, when needed he did his job and even if he got it wrong at times he'd be back for more attempts.

Now he might feel slightly aggrieved at not getting a chance to play in the Premier League, but he needs to play a full season, and rather than two or three games at AFCB he will probably get a good chance to make a major contribution to Ipswich's season. It is not often that you get a player who will infuriate you as much as make you smile, but Brett is more talented than a lot of fans have given him credit for. The main task for any striker is to score goals and Brett regularly hit the back of the net for the Cherries amassing 268 appearances and 105 goals in his two spells. In his second spell his goal prowess was particularly impressive at 46 from 95 appearances - virtually one in every two games.

I wish him and his family all the very best. He's been fantastic for AFCB and is the fourth highest goalscorer for the club. Not bad, not bad at all!

Thank you Brett!

Friday, 26 June 2015

How can AFCB beat 'em all to sign Tyrone Mings?

AFCB keep moving quickly and this signing which is expected to go through this morning has to have been a shock for other clubs in the Premier League who may be smarting at the thought of the Cherries' potentially new record signing. Ipswich Town did not waste much time in agreeing a fee for 22-year-old Tyrone Mings and the left back was on his way down to Dean Court to agree personal terms just 24 hours after a bid had been made, if rumours are correct. This is certainly the biggest coup that AFCB will have carried out this summer, as Tyrone was believed to be a major target for many Premier League clubs including Arsenal, Chelsea, Newcastle, Southampton and WBA.
Tyrone Mings coming to AFCB is a big coup. It should be confirmed today.
It seems that within a few hours of hearing that Luke Garbutt was unlikely to be coming to AFCB on loan, the Cherries struck a deal with Ipswich and smashed the club's record transfer fee in doing so. Let's see, a reputed £8 million for a defender who has been a great success in the Championship and yet has not stepped foot in the Premier League. Value for money? Well, no English player comes cheap and AFCB are arguably buying a player who could well go on to play in Europe. Tyrone will be as eager as any player already at the club to establish himself in the Premier League and I believe he will be a very strong addition to the squad. At an instance AFCB's height in the back four will be improved with the 6ft 5in left back. Tyrone's range of passing and attacking play will fit in well with the Cherries' style and more than anything Tyrone is an athlete and a competitive one at that.

AFCB did not get the better of him last season and that probably impressed Eddie Howe more than any reports that he received from the scouts. I still believe Tyrone has much to add to his game, but having such a young defender with big ambitions to do well should make him a joy to work with. If Sylvain Distin signs, as expected, for the Cherries and Tyrone also is happy to play in AFCB's debut season in the Premier League, there is already a much stronger look about the team. 
Ryan Fraser is to go on a season-long loan, according to media reports.
So how did AFCB manage to pull off this deal? It is also likely that Ryan Fraser's loan spell at Ipswich was a bargaining chip that AFCB used to help sweeten the deal, and Ryan perhaps needs another full season at the Championship level to bring his game on as he was kept out of the side for a lot of last season. While Tyrone Mings signed for AFCB on Thursday evening the deal is still subject to Ryan Fraser passing a medical this morning at Portman Road, according to Skysports Centre.

Brett Pitman's permanent  move to Ipswich Town looks like it is a separate deal and will include a transfer fee as there is a year on Brett's contract to go. Still, just like the signature of Callum Wilson last summer AFCB have been willing to let other players go to clubs to get their prize target.

All Departments interviews captain Tommy Elphick on its latest podcast. Listen by visiting All Departments' website

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Filippo Costa ready to sign for the Cherries?

While most of the media wondered who AFCB would sign at left back after it looks like the Luke Garbutt move has fallen through, there was a big rush on Tyrone Mings at Ipswich. At lunch time there was no further news on this, but see Breaking News (below) of AFCB's potential record new signing! 

It also looks like sensible money is on AFCB to sign another young 20-year-old  left back called Filippo Costa, who currently is at Italian side Chievo Verona, where he has been since 2012.

Last week the first reports of AFCB's interest in Filippo appeared at www.gianlucadimarzio.com and were also seen on The Continental Zone among other sites, but the English media seem to have been a bit slow on tracking this one. Eddie Howe appears to want some youth at left back and Filippo is seen as a talented prospect who was playing in the third tier of Italian football last season, on loan at AC Pisa where he scored four goals in 26 appearances last season.

The young left back is estimated to have a price-tag of £200,000 according to Football Italia. Filippo is an Italian U20 international player. Italian side Atlanta were also said to be interested in the player but AFCB are favourites now to sign him.

Breaking News:
Tyrone Mings is said to sign for the Cherries for £8 million - a new record for the club! Ryan Fraser is said to be going to Ipswich Town on a season long loan and Brett Pitman is also heading to Ipswich Town as a permanent signing. I'll have more thoughts on this later.

Update: Football League World is reporting that AFCB's bid for Mings has been rejected! But Sky Transfer Centre said at 8:12 that deal would be completed on Friday morning as long as Ryan Fraser passed his medical at Ipswich Town

Premier League fever has landed on the south coast

No less than three days after the announcement of next season's fixtures at Dean Court and I awoke to the news that all the mascot packages had already been sold out and that only a few 12th Man Packages remained, despite the rise in prices. This is of course great news for the club that can already sense that demand for almost everything that it has on sale is likely to vanish very quickly with many eager takers wanting to grab something to mark the club's first year as a Premier League club.

I expect the dash for the club shirts and hospitality (sold out) will be equally popular. It is hard to imagine how much the club will benefit from all the increased revenues and interest. We have already seen the media coverage reach new highs and even abroad the message will be heard loud and clear when the team takes on a series of games in different countries over the summer.
Mascot packages have proved to be extremely popular for next season.
While I anticipate record crowds at the Goldsands for pretty much all the games next season, I imagine there will be quite a few new faces around the ground. Those coming to watch the Cherries for the first time will surely enjoy the occasion, but it is important for the club that these new supporters are eager to sign up for season tickets when the ground eventually has the capability to expand. I don't really imagine that any of us have really let it sink in that AFCB will be host to players that we are usually seeing on the TV, but it will be very interesting to see how the Cherries do in taking on proven internationals. 

The days to the start of the season are clicking down fast now. The excitement is growing and I already feel a desperate need to see the Cherries in action again. 

Cherry Bear Gossip
I did hear at the end of last season that our well loved Cherry Bear could possibly be joined by a female companion for the start of next season. What has Cherry bear been up to?

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Could Adlene Guedioura be tempted by a move to the Cherries?

The Bournemouth Echo broke the news last week that AFCB had expressed an interest in Crystal Palace's Adlene Guedioura who had a couple of loan periods at Watford last season. With a year left in his contract at Palace Guedioura may not fall into the bargain bracket for signing but a price-tag of £2-3 million might be a reasonable outlay for the Cherries to consider, although Watford are also considered to be in the hunt for the player who could be enticed to play for one of the new Premier League clubs having not broken into Palace's starting eleven.

Adlene was born in France but plays for Algeria and has played for Forest and Wolves in the Championship. The central midfield role for the Cherries has been pretty settled for the last two seasons with Harry Arter and Andrew Surman and the spine of the team may well see a signing such as Adlene come to Dean Court, if Eddie Howe is feeling the need for more bite in the central area and a shade more fire power. Nicknamed the 'Rocket Factory', Guedioura is known for his fearsome shot from distance.

At 29, he has plenty of knowledge about the English game and having been a valuable part of Watford's promotion drive he could certainly adapt to the kind of quick passing football that is associated with the Cherries. Whether that zip makes him a good option to come in for Harry Arter at times would perhaps be the reason that Howe is said to be looking at Adlene.

You would have to expect that Watford would be favourites to sign Adlene, but with a new manager at the Hornets it might not be such a good avenue for him and AFCB offer plenty of scope for attacking players to express themselves. 

AFCB are also said to be keen on former Man City midfielder Abdisalam Ibrahim at Olympiakos, who Watford are again also interested in, says TalkSport.

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

AFCB are cracking deals early

The Cherries might be Premier League novices but they are playing the transfer market like old hands at the moment. The free transfers just keep on coming. While Sylvain Distin and Luke Garbutt are the latest player to agree to join the Cherries, I am starting to wonder where AFCB are going to keep all these new players and if the changing rooms are big enough!

The bonus of signing so many players may be that it gives Eddie a bit of time to have all the players together for a  few sessions before deciding finally on which players he is prepared to let go out on loan. I can't believe that the club thought that they would manage to bring in six players in under two months of the calibre they have now and mainly on free transfers. It keeps the books in good order and may yet enable AFCB to go after one or two more highly prized names towards the end of the window. Demarai Gray looks to be among those.

AFCB's starting 11 is going to include some new faces next season
I'm really impressed with the Distin signing as he has nothing to prove having had a great career. Yet, he still believes he can add a great deal to the squad and I have no doubt that Eddie has made him feel really wanted to get him to sign. The progress that AFCB has made though in the last few seasons must be a big incentive to sign for the club. With Distin and Atsu at the club now it seems that Luke Garbutt has the chance to also come to the Cherries on a season-long loan and feel that he could fit in quickly with a couple of former teammates already at AFC Bournemouth.

All Departments' latest podcast is out - Fan Tactics. I'll be posting on the sidebar of Cherry Chimes later but keep checking the All Departments' website for its release by Michael Dunne. Tom Payne explains how he analyses teams like AFCB on Spielverlagerung.

Monday, 22 June 2015

Demarai Gray is a wanted man - but will the Cherries land him?

The prospect of Demarai Gray still being a target for Eddie Howe at AFCB would perhaps not a massive shock had the club not already signed Josh King and Christian Atsu. The Birmingham City wideman is surely destined for a Premier League club this summer and AFCB don't seem to have allowed the big spending clubs much time to make their offers before going in again for the young winger.

There are a couple of interesting points that favour AFCB going back in for Demarai right now. Birmingham City will be after the best price that they can get for such a talented player but they are also looking to strengthen their side ahead of a new season and Gary Rowett will be wanting to put his imprint on a new Birmingham side, which is perhaps more financially constrained than some other clubs in the Championship. Demarai also can see the type of players that AFCB have already signed this season and that could persuade him that it is a club that will do all it can to stay in the Premier League.

Moving for yet another winger indicates that Eddie Howe sees this area of the pitch as a region where he can't afford to have inconsistent performances, and where he needs to be able to bring on players that can change games and win matches. If Gray does come to AFCB the squad will be front-loaded with players that are fast and comfortable at running with pace on the ball in the wide areas. It also gives the impression to me that Howe might not only be looking to make an impact in the League but also to have a serious go at getting even further in the cup competitions. 

Eddie Howe knows that Demarai Gray has a good temperament and with his contract expiring next year he would be a strong addition to the squad that fits the player profile of an eager English player wanting to succeed at the highest level. If as claimed £5 million has already been rejected for Gray last January, Birmingham City may yet decide to cash in before the start of next season if other Premier League clubs are no longer showing interest in the player.

Sylvain Distin ready to sign 'in principle' for Cherries

It would appear that Eddie Howe has been camped out at Everton's training ground with news that Sylvain Distin is another player on Merseyside who is linked with making a summer move to AFC Bournemouth. Both the BBC and SkySports have reports that the experienced centre back is ready to move in principle on a free transfer after becoming a free agent.

This means that AFCB have done some serious negotiation and enticing to get the Frenchman to agree to a move to the south coast as he was earlier reported this summer to be eyeing a move back to France to play out his career. The 37-year-old is lined up to have a medical and that should see him able to sign for the Cherries very soon.

Having played in the Premier League for many seasons at Newcastle, Man City and Portsmouth as well as Everton it is hard to find a more experienced centre back to join newly promoted AFCB. While he might not be as quick as he used to be Sylvain is still recognised as a top defender and AFCB will need some steel about them and more know how. I also believe it will be inspirational and beneficial for younger players like Baily Cargill to see how a player who has been at the top for a long time goes about his work. He played 12 games last season for Everton in the Premier League, which indicates he will be cover for the centre back positions along with Elliott Ward. Distin also played in two cup games and three Europa League matches and in previous seasons he has managed in the region of 30 games a season.

My only concern is that such a signing could give other Premier League sides the signal to try and entice Steve Cook away from the Cherries. Reports last week about QPR's Steven Caulker joining the Cherries also seem less likely now with Distin choosing to the join the Cherries.

There is also a report on FLW, but unconfirmed that AFCB have made a new bid Demaria Gray of Birmingham City.

Luke Garbutt: competition for Daniels?

Those that have been tracing the football back pages for the latest AFCB possible targets should have come across the name of Luke Garbutt by now. The Everton and England U21 international has attracted interest from Liverpool, but if Roberto Martinez has his way the young defender will stay with Everton but is likely to be loaned out to AFCB, according to the Daily Star.

The establish Leyton Baines does not give that many opportunities for Garbutt to play in the top flight and a move to the south coast for a year could give him the kind of platform he needs to be a regular at Goodison. That means that he'll have to try and shift Charlie Daniels from his position at left back and while Ian Harte found that difficult to do last season, a fresh 22-year-old is the kind of prospect that should really give Charlie strong and direct competition. While the versatile Adam Smith has filled in on occasion as a left back, I prefer to see him on the right as a backup for Simon Francis. 
Who will be competing with Charlie Daniels at left back next season? 
While we have not seen many loan players at the club it seems that Eddie is prepared to add players on loan for this coming season. That keeps the transfer costs down and perhaps enables the club to get a few better players than they might otherwise for a high outlay. Garbutt is coming to the end of his contract though this summer and he could even consider a permanent move to the south coast. The potential for him playing for Liverpool is perhaps good from the point of view that he stays in Merseyside, but a new challenge at a club that is rising in talent, creativity and with a hungry young manager just might be hard for Luke Garbutt to resist.

There is not a long list of left backs and AFCB and Luke might fancy his chances of slotting into this team. He only made four appearances for the Toffees in the Premier League last season and while the Europa League will have been good experience for him it will be week-in, week-out football that he'll be after. Eddie Howe will need another left back after not renewing Ian Harte's contract and while Kieran Trippier has chosen to sign for Burnley, Garbutt is a signature that AFCB seem to be chasing hard for now.

Looking at the start of next season, Premier Talk spies that Micah Richards is back in favour - at least for Aston Villa.

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Sounds Like Adam celebrates AFCB's promotion to Premier League

I expect many of you will remember the sound of Eddie's Army that was released after AFCB's promotion to the Championship. Now, following the success of his 2013 homage to the club’s Championship promotion-winning season, Bournemouth-based musician, producer and devout Cherries fan, Adam Scholey, has returned with Eddie’s Army 2015 – a catchy pop-rock tribute to AFC Bournemouth’s historic promotion to English football’s top-flight.

The song documents the Cherries’ remarkable Championship journey over the last two years – one which saw them emerge as champions to earn a place in the Premier League. Last time round, club manager Eddie Howe said: "Any song with nice lyrics and positive things is great because if it gets the supporters singing and cheering the team then I am all for it.” And this year’s jaunty sing-along is proving itself to be every bit as memorable! 

The track – written, performed, recorded, produced, mixed and released entirely by Adam in his home studio under the usual moniker Sounds Like Adam – also touches on their now-famed six-year reversal of fortune since 2009’s 'Great Escape' that saw the club elude the snapping jaws of extinction in the most dramatic of fashions. The release comes off the back of a very successful spell for the 26-year old songwriter, whose pop punk reworking of Ed Sheeran’s Thinking Out Loud has racked up over 65,000 YouTube hits within its first two months; a figure that continues to rise. 

Adam also boasts a UK Songwriting Contest 2014 Semi-Finalist and 3-time 2012 Semi-Finalist accreditation, as well as over 10 years’ experience in the industry, including appearances at the O2 Academy and projects in affiliation with the BBC and Sky One.  Watch Eddie’s Army 2015 – official lyric video:
Watch Ode To Dean Court – a piano medley of some of last season’s finest crowd-inspired chants!

For more information please contact: 
Facebook: /SoundsLikeAdam YT: /user/VisualsLikeAdam 
Twitter: @SoundsLikeAdam + #AFCBAnthem

I won't expect the Cherries to win over opposition fans

It is very hard for any opposition fans to usually hold their hands up and say, "do you know what - your team was excellent today and they played us off the park!" As AFCB fans we have heard it from a fair number of fans in the Championship, many of which would have sniggered at the likes of AFCB being in the Championship before they had seen what Eddie Howe's men can do to the opposition. Now it is the turn of the Premier League and I have already spied a few comments from disgruntled fans of some teams who almost appear cheated that a club like AFCB can share in the league's great wealth with our small stadium.

Well like it or lump it for them, the Cherries have earned the right to be in the Premier League and it was the club with the best potential to take on the high earners when the 2014-15 Championship season ended.  If the Cherries were a small club in the Championship then they are even smaller fry in the top tier and I don't mind if rival fans pre-judge AFCB as a soft touch as I believe they will find that they are anything but that when it comes to next season.
AFCB will not win fans everywhere it goes.
I do hope people's opinions can be changed though. I don't want AFCB to be a club that has fans that don't praise other teams when they have gotten the better of the Cherries through great play. Yes, I want the Cherries to win as many games as possible and I want them to do well, but in the end I'm also a lover of football. AFCB are now in a league of very high skill levels and we should see some spectacular football not only played by AFCB but also by opposition teams. I feel that the Premier League is often not seen as a great showcase of football just because the rivalries between teams are so great. To be honest I don't think there is a lot that can be said against the Cherries, as they don't attract that fear factor that you'll get with a Man City or a Chelsea. Being a south coast team with few rivalries, it may be that AFCB are seen as a club that will have their glory season in the Premier League and disappear as several other teams have done before.

Yet, if AFCB do hang around and dish out a few hidings to some of those established teams there will be some respect owed. My money is on opinions about AFCB changing quite a bit from when the season kicks off to when it is completed next season.

Saturday, 20 June 2015

A tough run-in for the Cherries

All the papers and football columnists are pointing out that AFCB have the toughest of run-ins for the 2015-16 season. Sky Sport's review of the fixtures points out that the Cherries could not have had it much harder in the months of April and May. Yet, seen from another angle there is potential that an easier (if we can call it that) start to the season could even put the Cherries among the front runners with the Premier League site announcing that AFCB offer early value. It all tells me that it is perhaps not so easy to predict what is likely to happen next season as the teams may all be a lot closer than they have been in recent years. 
It is no real surprise to be underdogs again..
While you don't want to be going to Old Trafford of all places on the last day of the season needing to win to have a chance of staying up, we'll all hope that the Cherries are more than safe by then. With Liverpool, Chelsea and Man Utd in AFCB's last five matches though it could have worked out kinder for the latter stages of the season. We have seen many strange results though at that time of the year and there will be pressure on right from the start in every game to get points. It is not the last five or six games that should concern the team at the moment it is the 38 fixtures ahead of them.

Jeff Mostyn has been quick to back Eddie Howe and Jason Tindall in their plans to keep AFCB in the Premier League and I already sense that there will be a backs to the wall mentality about this team that will enjoy beating some of the bigger names of English football, but won't get carried away. The Cherries will hope that most managers and chairmen right them off and think of them as easy pickings, but I don't expect any team visiting Dean Court to find it an easy game and away from home the Cherries have shown last season how they enjoy the big occasion. Soon it won't be about words though, but simply about what the players do on the pitch. We can speculate all we want about how many points the Cherries will need and when they need to get them but there will be many stories to come in what should be the most exciting season in the club's history. 

Friday, 19 June 2015

Is there a ceiling for AFC Bournemouth?

The amount of speculation as to what this Bournemouth side could do in the Premier League is likely to build as we get closer to the start of next season. While the number of signings may not be over yet, the players that got AFCB promoted are the ones that will be most in need of improving their form yet again to compete with the likes of Man Utd, Chelsea, Liverpool etc.

To get to the level of the top six though has not proved easy for teams that have been in the Premier League for many years. Southampton did tremendously well last time out to finish seventh and you wonder whether that is the best that any team can do that is not spending in the region of at least £40 million plus a season for new players. The Saints' themselves had to splash the cash last season just to replace the likes of Adam Lallana and Rickie Lambert.
 AFCB will try and kick even higher when the take on the Premier League.
But is there a ceiling for a club like AFCB? Just to reach the Premier League was a dream, but now that the club is there can it really knock the doubters again and seek to finish well above the relegation places? That will be the challenge facing Eddie Howe and I don't think he'll want to be a team merely looking to avoid the drop. If Howe wants to be pushing for a position of 12 or above though are extra funds required? I can't see why AFCB can't be aiming at a position of around 12-15th in their debut Premier League season. While the top clubs will have individuals who can win a game in an instance, AFCB do have a brilliant team outlook and that is what will have to carry them through.

Where there is no limit is the potential for what Eddie Howe might achieve. If he can get this Bournemouth side into mid-table next season the major clubs will be lining up for him. It will be a sad day when he leaves the club again, but I hope he chooses well when that day comes. Before then I will just hope that the sky is the limit for this AFCB side under Howe.

Player transfer gossip
The latest player to be linked with AFCB is Stephen Caulker, 23, QPR's central defender who has been added to Eddie Howe's list of targets, according to the Daily Mirror. AFCB are said to have missed out on Charlton teenager Joe Gomez who is likely to sign for Liverpool, claims TalkSport.

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Is it important not to get above our station?

So the fixtures are out. It's Aston Villa first up and then another 37 games to follow - I bet like me you can't wait! We know what the Cherries have to do. Yet, doing well in the Premier League requires a lot of good planning and every team has to be respected. AFCB have no need to hurry to achieve more than to do their best in the Premier League and every game will be like a cup final, so mistakes are going to be highlighted and it is important as supporters that we stay well behind the team and be realistic. Every team wants to better what they have done before and staying positive will be crucial.

I was interested in what Gary Monk of Swansea City said when interviewed at the League Managers Award ceremony evening at the end of May. While he acknowledged that his side needed to bring in better players each year he was clear that he was in no hurry to scale the top of the Premier League. It was gradual progression that he was after and I hope that AFCB supporters are equally patient as we head into a new season.
Winning is great, but can we stay modest too if the team continues does well?
The team facing AFCB now are not only backed by large investment and bigger crowds. They have top managers and big reputations and won’t give in lightly to young upstarts that have come to join in their party where the riches are the biggest anywhere in the world. Every point is going to be hard earned and every point gained is going to be with lots of money. We can’t expect too much from the players at the start in August. It will be frantic, high on adrenalin and a wonderful atmosphere at Dean Court but the pace and quality of the football may just take our breath away.

If the points do come quick and fast early on though then it will be important that everyone stays calm. The same is true if the club gets off to a poor start and has to play catch up. While the club motto is ‘Anything is possible’, there has to be some realism in the club and what it can do going forward. To finish above the relegated places would be a great achievement. There is time to build further and to move higher up the league if the team can survive in 2015-16 without missing out on the new lucrative deal for the Premier League clubs through the TV rights.

Getting to May and still being a Premier League club at the end of it next year will be an even bigger achievement than what Eddie Howe has probably done since leading the club from the foot of League Two to the Premier League. Jeff Mostyn called Eddie "the local messiah" and he has worked miracles at AFCB, but this is now on another level and we must give Eddie as much time to him as we can to help him achieve the best results he can for the club. 

Just an end thought for AFCB fans. If you thought Swansea City are a solid Premier League side that are exciting to watch, guess who come bottom of the poll for early spots on Match of the Day? Yep, Swansea were top billing just twice and 10 appearances in the bottom slot!

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Sat Nav ready for the Premier League?

With the fixtures coming out today it could be a good time to think about those travel plans. I actually had this story as a thought when AFCB were closing in on Premier League football, towards the end of last season. My friend, Michael Dunne, at All Departments and also the Analyst in the Matchday programme is perhaps the stats man for the Cherries, but I had not seen him write about the distances to other football ground in the Championship and I just wondered if the promotion would be a lot worse for us travellers in terms of mileage on the roads next season even though it would be fewer games.
Fans will be clocking up the miles from here next
season and we'll have some great stadiums to see.
It was perhaps a little pleasing to see Burnley the first to drop out of the away games next season, although Eddie and Jason would probably like to visit their old stomping ground for obvious reasons. But that is a 287.76 mile journey (round trip 575.52 miles) that they and AFCB fans won't have to make in 2015-16. I was a bit more disappointed to see the relegation of QPR, because Loftus Road is a stone's throw away at 102.27 miles from Dean Court and even closer to me in surrey. That would have made it the second closest ground to visit, but a final 6-0 thumping by Man City in May saw the end to that.

So it is to our old friends down the road at St Mary's when you can have a lie-in and the trips to the capital will be popular and a well trodden route in 2015-16 with five Premier League clubs to go and play, plus Watford which is only just over 100 miles away. Three Midlands teams and a trip to Wales make up the middle ground, but there will Merseyside and Manchester will be long trips that are too appetising to resist for many, and 500+ mile round trips will be the verdict for those of us that follow the Cherries to those fantastic stadiums.

I had to hang on to wait and see which of the three most distant clubs AFCB would be left with in the last weeks of May, and while I was mindful that Newcastle and Sunderland was the furthest away, their Premier League badges probably shined brighter than that of Hull City for me. Indeed it was Hull City that slipped out of the Premier League saving AFCB fans a 563.84 mile round trip. The Championship play-offs would also add on a few miles though with Norwich joining AFCB and Watford to complete the table for next season - congratulations to the Canaries.  

While you may not want to drive to all these matches, perhaps the train or the AFCB official coaches are a less stressful way of getting to the games. The latter options also give you more chance to enjoy a tipple at the local waterholes. 

Distance by road from the Goldsands Stadium in miles using RAC Route Finder brackets equals round trip mileage.
Southampton 32.11 (64.22), Chelsea 103.09 (207.8), Watford 105.7 (211.4),

West Ham 114.89 (229.78), Arsenal 116.15 (232.3), Crystal Palace 116.8 (233.6), Spurs 118.86 (237.73), Aston Villa 167.51 (335.02), WBA 172.44 (344.88),

Leicester 172.66 ( 345.32), Swansea 201 (402), Stoke 208.82 (417.64), Norwich 229.46 (458.92), Man Utd 260.31 (520.62), Man City 261.49 (522.98), Liverpool 262.4 (524.8), Everton 262.87 (525.74), Sunderland 353.3 (706.6), Newcastle 357.2 (714.4)

Total 3617.06                        Round trip Total 7234.12

Last season AFCB fans who travelled from Bournemouth to all the away league matches will have clocked up around 9000 miles on their travels and of course visited 23 grounds.

Reading 71.19, Brighton 95.84, Brentford 99.88, Fulham 102.65, Watford 105.7, 
Millwall 109.6, Charlton 140.68, Birmingham 163.78, Cardiff 163.79,  Wolves 184.95

Ipswich 194.46, Nottm Forest 201.85, Derby 203.01, Norwich 229.46Rotherham 238.34, 
Sheffield Wed 243.59, Wigan 254.16, Huddersfield 264.76, Bolton 265.81, Leeds 269.2

Blackburn 275.59, Blackpool 290.01, Middlesbrough 326.69

Total 4494.99   Round trip 8989.98

The BBC also recently did a report on the 2014-15 away fans in the Premier League which you can see by clicking here.

There are also reports this morning that AFC Bournemouth have had a bid of anywhere between £3.5-5 million rejected by Saint Etienne for winger Max Gradel.

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Will small stadium size be a hinderance to the Cherries?

AFCB will be the smallest team in the Premier League for the 2015-16 season on fanbase as well as experience, but that needn't be a big handicap. There will still be 11 players versus another set of 11 players on the pitch and I suppose that over the last eight to nine years the Cherries have been a team that have been underdogs and have been fighting against problems that seemed insurmountable to other teams, and yet the Cherries have come through with the red flag flying higher than ever before.
Fans are used to being squeezed in at Dean Court.
Whether the wind in AFCB's flag is about to blow hard or will find it hard to flutter in the Premier League is something that nobody can really predict, although the bookies are putting AFCB at evens not to stay up. That is kind of how the Cherries like it. Write us off if you like, but don't be surprised if you see a team next season that destroys a few reputations on its way to a second season in the Premier League. The victory for the Cherries will come when the media stop talking about the size of Dean Court and the number of years that they have adorned the lower leagues, and start commenting on how well the players have adapted to life in the Premier League.

Eddie Howe has already said that his team will play in the same way that they have done over the past few years. It is something that AFCB fans are used to seeing and it will be more talked about than before, not only on the south coast but everywhere. Eddie Howe likes doing the impossible and his stock is going to be unbelievably high if he can keep the wins coming now. This summer is going to be vital to get everything right, but there are so many more challenges coming at the club as a whole that it is important that they don't change what has been successful for them in the past. Being small is one thing that has been a benefit so I don't mind holding on for that for a bit longer.

Monday, 15 June 2015

Who can teach AFCB to do Premier League survival best?

The scale of the task ahead of AFCB is only now starting to settle on the reality banks of many fans and it will become even more clearer when the fixture list is printed and we can all see it in black and white. Some teams on the list have the budgets and personnel that should see them comfortably sitting in the top six places but they are not the teams that AFCB will be modelling themselves on. It is the survivors in the Premier League and the teams that have shown that you can get promoted and stay in the top division that deserve a closer look.

When you see how Swansea or Southampton have performed this season it is hard to imagine that these clubs have not been Premier League teams for that long. Swansea only came up after the 2010-11 season and that was through the play-offs. At the same time AFCB were just taking the first steps in their rise with promotion to League One. 

Meanwhile, the Saints have enjoyed their current Premier League status since 2012-13 but have show that with progression each season teams can change and bring in new players having had a core group at first though which to establish themselves in the top flight. The playing styles of both these teams is to get the ball down on the floor and it is their strikers that have really added that final touch of quality.

Tommy will look to lead the Cherries to more glory.
It is arguable though that is it's getting tougher to survive with Burnely and QPR heading straight back down last season, but even teams that have not dazzled the pundits like WBA and Stoke City have moved away from yo-yoing. I've been particularly impressed with Stoke City as they can't be called a long ball team anymore and under Mark Hughes that have scored some spectacular goals this season. Crystal Palace are also establishing themselves in the division now. 

The main formula that I can see with Swansea and the Saints is that when they have seen quality players go they have replaced them with equally talented players. That is what it is all about now. The transfer market has to be played exceptionally well to compete at this level and while much of AFCB's has been together for more than a season or two in some cases, the turnover of players in the Premier League looks higher with strikers moving for huge sums if they can net 20 goals a season.

AFCB hopefully already have that man in Callum Wilson, and just maybe the Cherries could hold on to him for a season more yet. I say that as it is rare that players like Jay Rodriguez has managed to stay at Southampton having signed in 2012 for them and has just extended his contract. Injury certainly played its part. But  look at Wilfried Bony who only lasted two seasons at Swansea and was soon snapped up by Man City. Do too well and you'll get noticed, and Wilson is now in the shop window not only for Premier League clubs, but also the worldwide market. Both the Saints and Swansea have bought well though bringing in Graziano Pelle and Bafetimbi Gomis and this summer Swansea have also picked up Ghanaian international striker Andre Ayew who I'm sure we'll hear much more about.

Lastly, you have to look at Leicester City. Perhaps Leonardo Ulloa was a very good buy for them after all popping in 12 goals for the Foxes - that's one more than Danny Ings got. They are the latest to to have gone up and stayed up some might say despite their manager. What they do have though is that club spirit - the inner belief to succeed together. That kind of reminds me of another team called AFCB, who have a carefully spoken manager - perhaps AFCB will do even better than just survive.

AFCB have to be on top of their scouting now more than ever for when they need to replace players with quality. Still I believe this situation is easier than what will be the position of teams like Derby County and the three teams who missed out on promotion through the play-offs to the Premier League this season - Brentford, Middlesbrough and Ipswich. Those teams will find it extremely difficult to start next season with the same squads and some have already have a new manager. 

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Transfer talk is hotting up for the Cherries this week

The Cherries are never out of the gossip columns at the moment with the latest players being linked to the club including Dwight Gayle and Tom Huddlestone, while calls for Dimitri Berbatov have cooled off - although I never saw that as a real possibility. The player that is hitting the headlines up north though is that of AFCB centre back Steve Cook. The ever-present Cook is a prime target for newly installed Newcastle Utd boss Steve McClaren if we are to believe Tom Barclay of The Sun, as reported on the Vitals' site.
Does Steve want to remain a Cherry? He may have a choice to make next week.
Steve Cook has been a southerner though from what I can see apart from a short loan spell at Mansfield in 2010-11. A move away from the south coast to Newcastle would not fill many young centre backs with enthusiasm having just won promotion to the Premier League with an ambitious club. Newcastle could certainly probably double his wages though and while a price has not been suggested, Cook would probably be viewed as a cheap option for Newcastle if they really have some cash to spend this summer. With Mike Ashley there though, you never know what is really going on in his mind.

The Tom Huddlestone one is an interesting one as the local paper has categorically said that it is wide of the mark, which would imply it was really a complete non-starter. Yet, the links to the ex-tottenham man have not died down and with no central midfield additions to the Cherries squad yet there is clearly room for a top player to come in. Tom was perhaps one of the better players in a weak Hull City side and he has had periods of his career when he has been knocking on the door of an England call up once again and very nearly made it into Roy Hodgson's squad for the World Cup in 2014.

Meanwhile, it is wolves fans that seem devastated that Dwight Gayle is all lined up to join the Cherries, according to Football League World. The signing of Gayle would really underline Eddie Howe's desire to attack with great pace next season and competition for striker places would be fierce indeed. The problem for Wolves is that Everton and Leicester City seem more than a little keen on landing Bakaray Sako and it is unlikely that he will stay at Molineux with his contract running out.

So could it be one in and one out next week? Time will tell, but I expect Eddie Howe to fight tooth and nail to keep Steve Cook at the club as he is seen as part of the future. If Dwight Gayle really wants to make his name though, AFC Bournemouth could be an exciting new venture for him and I get the feeling that he'll come to Dean Court.

Saturday, 13 June 2015

Is Ritchie about to run the show for Scotland today?

The best laid plans sometimes go horribly wrong. I had this story all mapped out with Harry Arter to come up against Matt Ritchie  - "When Harry met Matt". It might not have been much of a film title, but it would have been tantalising to see the two Bournemouth players go head to head at the Aviva stadium in Dublin for their respective national sides. We don't know if Harry would have been selected to start of course, but as it happened, he managed to get a groin strain on Thursday which now leaves the stage open for Matt Ritchie to try and perhaps shatter both Harry's and the Republic of Ireland's Euro 2016 dreams.  

Matt will look to add to his Scottish goal scoring total. 
Pundits have been saying that it is really a must win game for the Republic as they are a couple of points behind Scotland and need to stay in contention with Poland and Germany by getting the win at home. A draw might not spell bad news for Scotland, but I don't expect them to hold anything back in this tie which is very winnable for either side on their day.

It is perhaps good for AFCB that the two players did not go at each other in this high tension game. I expect Arter will quickly be nursed back to full fitness ready for the new season. Ritchie is likely to start against the Republic having played in Scotland's last three fixtures and scoring the last time out when Scotland beat Qatar. Now he has to follow that up with another strong performance and I expect him to do exactly that.

Expect Harry to also get stuck in if he gets a chance.
How things have changed for both players though and for AFCB. The pace that football moves in is quite astounding in terms of careers. For many it is over all too quickly, but for some the rewards keep coming and you have to say this is an exceptional period for the Cherries and the players are fitting into international squads knowing that they are good enough to be there now.

While it might not be the showpiece AFCB fans had hoped for I still believe the Republic of Ireland v Scotland match in Dublin's at (5pm) will be the most competitively fought game this Saturday - it's well worth a viewing to see how Matt does. Meanwhile, Artur Boruc is also in Poland's squad against Georgia and England will be taking on Slovenia.

Finally, I suggest you all take a very detailed look at the Official AFCB website that has released information on how the point system will work for fans that want to go to home, away and cup matches - the priority points system. It will take a bit of getting used to but we should all get the hang of it when you go and see your points total next week.