Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Solent's AFCB Forum - A-ha have a new album out!

AFCB Chairman, Jeff Mostyn, manager, Eddie Howe and captain Tommy Elphick joined Kris Temple and a throng of AFCB fans in the live BBC Radio Solent's Fans' Forum last night at the Balfour Suite, Vitality Stadium. They arrived to tremendous cheers and shouts of "Eddie, Eddie, Eddie," of course. Here I write a rough, transcript of the main points that were raised - my typing is not the quickest so apologise for running out of steam towards the end - it's always very hard to keep up with Jeff!
Is this A-ha reformed? picture taken by Damien Hill.
Kris Temple started with an announcement of a new three year deal, but not the one we were all thinking of . This one was between BBC Radio Solent and AFCB for live commentary home and away - what a cheeky start! 

Eddie was asked what he thought about the big news this week? A-ha were reforming? He not only knew that [a big fan], but told everyone to go out and buy the new album called 'Cast In Steel'. Morten will surely soon have a hospitality suite at the Vitality stadium - perhaps we can invite them to come and play for Eddie?

Asked about how the summer had been Eddie replied : "There's been a lot of work in the summer not just to get the team ready but the facilities ready - the pitch the new Pavilion and all the things, including Sky."

Kris, And on the players?
"We've worked the lads incredibly hard..the players have been tremendous and have gone into all the games fatigued. But they won't go into the Villa game fatigued... I'm very excited," said Eddie.

Kris next asked Jeff about AFC Bournemouth being liked by everyone.
Jeff Mostyn said: "We'll probably be every body's second team let's hope that at the end of the season everybody hates us! We want to maintain the momentum going forward. Feet on the ground we are a community club... I don't think people know what's coming. I think we will shock a lot of people."

And Tommy was asked about the summer
"Mentally and physically pre-season has been tough.. We need to be better than last season going into the Premier League." said Tommy.

Kris naughtily slips in the Max Gradel question? 
"Who?" said Eddie! "We can't talk about these things until they are officially told."

Nice try Kris - the one word answers are on their way now!

A question form the floor. Eddie Howe was asked about being up against other top managers like Mourhnio and whether he'll need Jason Tindall for protection? - "Jason won't be with us for the first two games. He'll be in the stands [an indiscretion about refereeing at the Cardiff away game last season means Jason is sidelined - I think you remember]. As much as it's a test for the players it's a test for me this year...  We are going to have to be even better. That's why we went away and analysed other coaches abroad..., but what an experience for me and I hope I'm going to get better," said Eddie. 

Jeff from Southbourne asked about the Swansea template and away tickets for them being £22 - any chance of that for us? 
Jeff Mostyn says "At times like this I wish I was a manager! We are currently working on our version of the Swansea deal...we haven't actually finalised our plans, but there are funds available from the Premier League but we will be using that for our supporters and away fans."

Kris Temple asks about season tickets not being issued: 
"I've just prepared five pages of notes from my meeting earlier. It's about ticket allocation in general, a huge thanks to Serena and Liz and all the work they've done throughout the season under incredible pressure. The biggest problem is the size of our ground. The decision not to increase our ground was the right business decision. But the ramifications have been huge in terms of what we received over 1090 emails on the points systems alone on one day. Now we have had more than 3000 emails on the points system and about the allocation. We try to respond as soon as possible, but as soon as we do there's another 3000 emails.

"When it came to the season tickets one or two were disappointed in having to move seats. But there was a mandatory seat allocation for the broadcasters... the piper calls the tune. We had to look at where those 32 cameras have to be placed. And the Premier League take on 12 of those and they choose where they want them to go, so we had to move some season ticket holders....I'd just like to apologise for the inconvenience. It is out of our control. We have looked at 7000 ticket applications.. We've had to make sure that everything is to your satisfaction.

"There is a delay in the season tickets being sent out. we made sure that for the first game we will send out a match ticket.. The problem was a commercial decision in getting a sponsor which we could not get overnight. We wanted as much capital as we could get. Everything is now on track... You'll get your Villa tickets before the Villa game." [Huge laughter breaks out] Jeff says he was doing so well up until then.

"Then we hope you'll get the season tickets out before Leicester. I know how frustrating it's been. It's the one thing that has caused us anxiety over the summer."

Kris Tempe asks Tommy about whether the small capacity of Dean Court will be an advantage? "We're going to be used to it other teams aren't... the fans have been great for us here."

Eddie on location on away fans. "We see our supporters way up on the side of away ground. At Burnley we had away fans behind one goal and it's was a nightmare for us. I did read it was my decision not to increase capacity but I would  have loved to see more Bournemouth fans."

Tommy Elphick was then asked about his routine and did he dream of ever doing it at Anfield? "People know what I do. It's been blown up a little out of proportion. it's just something that I do to get in the zone at the Steve Fletcher side.. It's just something I do like touching the grass. Other players do things too."

Sam from Bournemouth asks about Rantie perhaps going on loan and if the players have the experience to cope in the Premier League? Eddie replied: "It's a good question young man. A lot of our players don't have Premier League experience, they didn't have Championship experience either. We are always on the look out for other players. I wouldn't say we're not on the market but we'll consider to look out there.

Kris asks about referees. "We have meeting tomorrow where I'll be briefed on the new rules and the referees. It's something we have to be mindful of.. We have to hope we have a fair crack of the whip when going to big grounds," said Eddie.

Damien Hill, a regular contributor on Cherry Chimes, asks Jeff if there are any plans of buying back the stadium? "No immediate plans. The arrangement we have with our landlord is economical and suits us. If the time is right and we need to develop then Maxim might consider it. But it's not part of our plans."

Tommy Elphick is asked about strikers he'll be facing in the Premier League."There are so many good players. Every team is going to be hard. It's just about Aston Villa on Saturday."

"They are human beings like we are," said Eddie. "We have to forget the history of the clubs and stadiums.. the badges on their shirts...we can't build their players up. We won the league last year because we deserved to. We have to take that into games."

Kris trips up - Any advantage in playing Villa and Liverpool first Eddie? - "No,... silly questions Kris!" [Lots of laughs as Eddie cuts off Kris like he should go and sit on the naughty step.]

AFCB fan Callum asks Tommy Elphick, what was your favourite game last season? "It's hard to beat the last game to be honest to win the title."

Kris Temple is back on the mike - What are Maxim Demin's ambitions? "To be successful," says Jeff. Kris goes, "that's great, that's two one word answers - I just need Tommy for the hat-trick now!

This is encouraging the AFCB fans to try their luck now. AFCB fan Steve enquires ""Any  truth in rumours Max has bought Iford golf course? "Did you hear that from a couple of birdies?" says Jeff! [Big sighs from the audience - Jeff is too clever for us!]

Kris decides to leave that one there.

John from Christchurch now. We had 60,000 down on the beach at the Victory Parade will we have a 60,000 stadium? Jeff says: " No, but I hope we are back on the beach at the end of this season. Jeff expands talking about how people in the town now are proud to wear the shirt now and how that is down to Eddie, Jason and the players.

Shirts - no replica shirts available, says Kris Temple, why? "It's been a huge frustration for us," says Jeff. "My concerns to the shirt manufacturers - they only have 150 days lead time. Up until we were promoted we were going to maintain Energy Consulting, so only afterwards we tried to go into the markets and get a new sponsor. They don't grow on trees. It took us time to get the right mix and we ate well into the 150 days. We should have them prior to the Leicester game. .. Neill Blake is pulling this hair out. We have probably missed a month of sales.

Kris probes further on whether this is good enough for a Premier League club?
"It's not good enough and it's not Premier League style..," says Jeff. It's taken us 116 years to get hear. .. They know from a legal standard the shirt company will not get away with this again. We have a three year contract and another year with our current short suppliers. There are plenty of people that would like to be our providers."

Question for Eddie from the floor about Harry Arter's condition? "He is improving day by day. We have to be careful with his injury. He's not going to be too long, it may mean he misses the first two games. [I'm always suspicious of what Eddie says about injuries - I've been misled so many times. Let's hope Harry is back soon].

Regarding Christian Atsu - "Nothing serious we'll hopefully bring him forward this week," said Eddie.

The questions are opened up to the floor again. Any grounds you have not been to Tommy? " Yeah, most of them! Load's it's going to be a great season. It's all about the first game for the players. [I think Tommy is on repeat now].

Jeff : "Man City it's taken me 70 years to get there.. I can't wait to get there and kick the... out of them!" [thanks Jeff!].

Jeff from Southbourne what has changed in the ground? "A lot of the changes are just not visible in terms of the improvements for the press... and I'm on a mission of thanks tonight. A round of applause for Neil Blake our Chief executive for his work doing all the changes and transfers. The entire staff have worked non-stop since the final whistle at Charlton. And it's been like a building site here. It's been nothing short of a miracle." 

Russell from Talbot Woods, "Might we expect some corners filled in next season?" Jeff -"Neil Blake made the plans available our intent. The business model we made this season is right. We want to be financial prudent and that the money has been spent in the right areas. What is going to keep us up is the players on the pitch not about another 5000 in the ground. ... we want to sit down and talk about  improving the capacity at the end of next season."

Mike from Bournemouth, "What would Jeff say about playing Southampton at Wembley on the two league fixtures?
"I'm now consulting my friend Greg Dyke. Let's play them there once, in the Cup final."

Eddie was asked about the playing style this season and if they'll adapt. "We can try, there are some things we'll tweak. I said the same in the Championship when we had a few severe defeats. People will us to change and go long ball. To have success having one way and to change all of a sudden is alien to them and it's not the qualities they have got.  

Kris asks: What will be the main difference about the teams in the Premier League compare to the Championship?

"The ruthlessness of the strikers is an obvious thing. People will get a chance and they'll take it. At both ends of the pitch we'll have to be effective," said Eddie.

What first half of fixtures are you looking forward to Tommy? "We're just looking at Aston Villa. [Yep, Tommy is stuck on repeat] How the fixtures are dealt are minimal really. It's good to have people like Sylvain come in and Atsu. You can sit down with them and pick their brains. They have been surprised how we train... we just have to get batter at what we are doing. It's still 11 v 11 on the same surface. We'll do what has brought us success."

Mike from Ferndown now, "Away points, why are they based only on last season?
Jeff responds, "The rationale was that the preceding season was the first when we had a database that could give a fair and economical data to allocate points. ... There was no method of registering who had been to an away game so how could we allocate tickets from someone who went to every game in last five years? Six fans went to every AFCB game last year. For the Premier League it's 2300 as an average for away game support.

"We have had 500 who say never missed a game. Usually we have 1500 to 2000 for away games for us. Our database is improving all the time and hopefully people will have sufficient points in future games. Four points is not a lot for our first game. 20,000 have at least one point and that gives you some idea of the pressure the tickets office has been under... we could not find a system to suit everyone. The impossible is the impossible... ..I apologise that we can't take as many teams away as possible. For West Ham there are 3000 tickets and the allocation may go down to 0 points. It's our first time in the Premier League it will be interesting with snow on ground in November and December how many want to go away. I hope we sell out our allocation as that is what Eddie and boys deserve."

Richard Ranson to Tommy, "Who has impressed in training "All of them. It would be unfair to me pick out one. They've all worked really hard. And it's better squad than last year they are tough to play against."

Kris steps in. "Is it true that Eddie has gone for power with the players you've brought in for the Premier League?" 
"It's quicker faster, bigger, the players are stronger," said Eddie. "We've had to add physicality to squad. But you need a brain as well to play in this team. Hopefully we've made the right choice.

"It's tough, very difficult to pick a team. The players have a few days to change opinions. We can't go off of last season. I've judged them on pre-season and will judge them accordingly."

And Kris asks about the new pitch at Dean Court.
"It's not probably had enough time. The groundsman would probably say it needed longer, but we needed to play a game on it. I'm pleased how it played against Cardiff, although it played better for them!" said Eddie.

"We had to change the pitch with the undersoil heating going in. We couldn't just roll it up and store it somewhere," said Eddie.

Stephen from Bournemouth to Jeff asks about safe standing to Jeff. 
"It's something we have not discussed for a reasonable length of time. It's not something we'll decide on until the Government and Police Federation come to a decision. Until they've deferred, we will make a decision. I  have my doubts it will get a green light," said Jeff.

Where do you see yourself in five years, comes a question. "Not sure," says Tommy, enough to to think of with Saturday coming up. I just to be fit and available for games."

"We've been consistent always about improving the team," said Eddie. And asked about looking at targets. "Only when we have needed to hit a points target with eight games to go or an number to stay up.. We've stayed away from that. In management you never know what you'll be doing in two week's time."

Jeff replies, "I'm 70 next month, I just want to be alive in five years! [Applause].

Ryan from Ringwood will the bar be open in the Pavilion to fans? "The answer is no," said Jeff. he explained that downstairs the bar is now a media centre - there are 140 national and overseas  media to look after so no return to a bar downstairs. "The bowling club is open and there are thoughts about extending that," he added.

Mike from St Leonards asks Baily is breaking through to the first team, could the others follow through? "It's going to be difficult for them, more difficult now with TV revenue. players are  picked on merit. They are good players, but they have to do a lot to displace those in our current squad.," said Eddie. 

Dylan asks, "When did we think we'd make it to the Premier League?" 
"I never thought it," said Eddie."I was still worried about the goal difference at the Bolton game. We have to work every day to achieve something. If you take your eye off it, it won't happen. Until it's done, don't really believe it."

Kris asks about any changes to the sports science equipment? "Yes, I sent the whole coaching team away. Dan Hodges deserves credit for pre-season. he has come up with new innovations and new equipment. We are at the high-end of innovation."

Milkshakes at the end of games are a funny colour?  " We've looked at a lot of that with people coming in and talking about diets," said Tommy Elphick. "It could be one per cent and margins means a lot. We have to be as strong and fit as possible," he added.

Are you under more scrutiny in the Premier League? "A little bit, but we need to embrace it.," says Tommy. "It's a great life experience, .. not just numbers we want to be a force in league. Lot of people have warmed to the way we have done. We want to keep it going."

Any changes with the Media Tommy? "Yes, we had an interview with BBC a couple of weeks ago. People misperceive. [ I think Tommy is referring to the BBC headline writer who said at the top of his story last week - Bournemouth fans need to get used to losing!] You are under scrutiny and the players have pride in the way they prepare. You see stories out of nothing important, we don't want to slip up. .. success in way they [players] have helped club. It's about being professional."

John from Christchurch thanks everyone - for making his dream come true. An AFCB supporter since 1957. [applause].

[That was a good night - must do it again sometime! - Like next year]

Transfer Gossip: The Max Gradel saga is almost over - honestly. There has been mention of some paper work hold up but Max passed his medical at AFCB yesterday and is expected to be announced as a new signing £7 million later today.

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