Thursday, 31 May 2018

Francis' new contract will help stability at AFCB


Simon Francis signed a one year extension yesterday at AFCB. This might be somewhat unexpected as he still had a year to run on his contract, but it is a sign that Eddie Howe wants to keep his senior players and isn't ready to cast them aside. It also stops any thoughts of not being a prime choice for a centre-back position next season.

Simon Francis is set to be an important pillar at
AFCB for at least the next two seasons. 
Francis missed the last game of the season when AFCB won without him at Burnley. This was a big achievement for the side, as it was the first time the team won without Simon at this level, but it doesn't look like he'll be missing out in future big results. More importantly, I feel the new contract underlines his leadership status in the team and Eddie likes to reward players that have done everything they can to earn the club points during a season.

So if Francis is going to be a main player going forward it does put pressure on others who are competing for a place in the defence. Some of them may have been wondering if Francis would start to play a few less games. That has been dismissed.

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But Bournemouth still have to think about how they can reduce the 61 goal total that went in against them last season. Francis could say that by him moving to the centre-back position we have seen a reduction in AFCB's third Premier League season. How much further he can help bring that number down and how fast is going to be a big factor in where AFCB finish in the next campaign. If Francis wants European football then he knows the team has to get nearer a record like Burnley had and it will be a massive leap to get down to conceding only 39 goals. If Francis wants some motivation for next season, there you have it.

In other news, Benik Afobe looks set to leave for Wolves in a £12.5m deal for AFCB to cash in on. Meanwhile, Jay Rodriguez at WBA is attracting attention from AFCB.

If you missed Cherry Chimes' appearance on TalkSport's SportsBar on Tuesday this week go to CherryChimes on a PC, Mac or Tablet to view the full site and side bar where the audio is displayed. If you hear a meow half way through it was my cat!


Out Tomorrow
Cherry Chimes' June Newsletter brings you the best stories on the blog and the thoughts behind them from last month. It's out on Friday with special story - Are we becoming complacent about Premier League existence?

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Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Howe will react to outspoken King

Josh King has been reported as speaking to Norwegian newspaper VG and he hasn't held back in complaining that he has been played out of position in the last season. He blames Eddie Howe for his failure to score more goals in this respect, and while Newcastle fans think this might give them a foot in the door to go and grab the former Blackburn Rovers attacker, King is more likely to find himself explaining his thoughts to Eddie Howe and knuckling down next season.
Josh has upped the chatter that he is not being
given the best chance to shine in the team.
Players are often not satisfied with where they play and Howe has said that he will move players into certain positions for the good of the team. Needs often must, and yet I wonder how much the decision to play Defoe and Wilson as the number nine instead of King at times was purely to help the two Englishmen trying to make a claim for the England World Cup squad. If it was an attempt to get them prime goals, it didn't work, with the Cherries only netting 46 goals from 38 games.

King is certainly put out by the fact that he didn't get the priority choice of where to play having scored 16 goals in 2016-17. I'd argue he has a point, but speaking to a Norwegian paper was perhaps not the quietest way to get his point across. Now he faces a summer of either trying to get a move or wishing he had not said quite so much publicly. Does he want to leave AFCB? For me he's just disappointed that he didn't have the season he expected.



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King has been one of those who had a new contract and still has three years to run on it, so it would take a substantial sum for Bournemouth to even listen to bids for him this summer. On King's form it would be difficult to get as higher price as last summer in my opinion, but I can't see any wish from AFCB to move the striker out. The Cherries have enough on their plate with three players that are more likely to move - Gradel, Grabban and Afobe. 

I suspect Josh King will find away of saying less in future, if he doesn't agree with his manager. Josh needs to talk to Eddie face to face, and I hope he does that soon, as he'll need to clear the air.

Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Oh, to be a fly on the wall for Arter discussions

It has been reported that Harry Arter has had his end of season talk with Eddie Howe and it must have been a nervy encounter for both parties. While Arter says he was honest about his view on the season and what he wanted in future, Eddie Howe was also very honest in where he thought Harry was at. Both seemed to come out of the meeting with the view of let's see what happens over the summer and that would indicate to me that Harry is going to be open to offers if they come in.
Harry has been linked with West Ham United.
There is no doubt in my mind that Eddie Howe would like to keep hold of his number eight, but he wouldn't stand in Harry's way if he wanted out. Eddie will already be looking to see if he can find a possible replacement in case he needs to act, and yet Arter's fitness is a question mark over any possible move. Harry only played in 13 Premier League matches last season. That is by far the smallest involvement he has with the first team in many seasons. The Achilles problem he has had for about a year now has kept coming back and causing him problems. Hopefully, it is now sorted though.

Harry's head and mood may be the main thing he needs to sort out ahead of the new season. Whether that is at AFCB or elsewhere he needs to be getting back to playing games and enjoying his football. I get the vibes that he has not really enjoyed the last season being on the periphery of things and it just may be that his time is up at AFCB now. A new challenge could be something that he fancies and I don't think any AFCB fan would begrudge him that.
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While Howe has pinned his hopes on Lewis Cook becoming an even better player, he may feel that he has had the best years out of Harry Arter. Things may well be starting to change at Dean Court in terms of senior personnel, and if Harry does decide to move this summer, he might not be the only one of the players that have stuck with AFCB since league one days.

Last night Arter was part of the Republic of Ireland team to face France in an international Friendly. France won 2-0 but Arter did get on after 59 minutes when the Republic were two goals down. He also picked up a yellow card.


TalkSport listening - Sports Bar
Tonight Cherry Chimes will be on the airwaves of Talk Sport's Sports Bar programme at 11.00-11.30pm.


Out Friday
Cherry Chimes' June Newsletter brings you the best stories on the blog and the thoughts behind them from last month. It's out on Friday with special story - Are we becoming complacent about Premier League existence?

To sign up for the newsletter just complete the form below - like all good things it's free!






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Monday, 28 May 2018

Dean Court Days - George Best arrives at Dean Court

Sponsored article

Michael Dunne is an avid AFCB fan who has published a biography on Harry Redknapp this summer with Pitch Publishing called 'Dean Court Days'. Michael, editor or All Departments podcast, has kindly asked Pitch Publishing if Cherry Chimes could run some extracts of the book this summer and we are going to start with the arrival of George Best at Dean Court on 26 March 1983. Many thanks to Michael and Pitch Publishing.

The front cover of the Newport match programme
had a picture of George Best on it. There was no
mention of the transfer in the programme, such was
the last minute nature of it. 
Following a 0-0 draw with Huddersfield at the start of March 1983, reports began to emerge that Bournemouth were about to sign George Best, still considered by many to be the greatest British footballer of all time. At 36 and in the grip of alcoholism, Best was a shadow of the player who had put fear into the hearts of defences across Europe in the 1960s, but his fading skills and box office appeal were enough to briefly bring the crowds back to Dean Court. 

After stating on television whilst in Southampton that he ‘could be signing for a club just a bus ride away from here,’ Best was unveiled to a stunned local press at Dean Court on transfer deadline day. Bournemouth had officially bought Best from the San Jose Earthquakes, then known as the Golden Bay Earthquakes, of the NASL, although the Ulsterman had not played for the Californian club in almost two years.

How much Bournemouth had paid to secure Best’s registration was never revealed, although when Best’s girlfriend and former Miss World Mary Stavin joined a crowd of 9,121 to watch him make his debut for the Cherries, the gate money from an attendance double the average at Dean Court would have helped offset some of the fee.

After making his debut in a 2-1 defeat at home to Newport County, Best was granted a leave of absence prior to the match against Orient on Easter Saturday after his former landlady from his early years at Manchester United passed away. He was expected to return in time to feature in the Cherries’ line-up. On the morning of the match, however, it became clear that Best was not going to appear. Managing Director Brian Tiler was prompted to take the unusual step of producing a poster saying ‘George Best won’t be playing today’ which was put up outside Dean Court in order to ensure fans looking forward to seeing the former European Footballer of the Year were informed of his absence before paying their money at the turnstile.



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Tiler could not have been accused of giving Best licence to do as he pleased, as his widow Hazel explained many years later. 'I remember Brian going up to London to fetch George Best back to play for the Cherries,' said Mrs Tiler. 'When he got to the Barbican, where George was living at the time, there was no sign of him. So Brian was driving round with Mary Stavin looking for him. They tracked him down to one of his favourite pubs, but George escaped through a toilet window. Then Brian caught up with him at another pub, but by this time it was obvious George was in no fit state to play the following day.’

Despite his drink-fuelled absences, Redknapp does not recall any problems with Best when he did join up with the squad. 'George was great,' says Harry. 'He came to training; he was just fantastic. I still don't think I've seen a better player in this country. He was one of the lads. Came in, trained every day. The lads couldn't believe they had got him here to play. I think he absolutely loved it here. George was enjoying his life, still playing. Obviously he'd lost that pace and everything that he had which was a shame. He was nowhere near the George that we knew in his prime, but it was great just to have him around for that spell. I think any way the club could make a few quid at the time they would do it. George came in, gates went up home and away so I think commercially it was quite a good move for the club.’

George Best wasn't listed to be among the starters for AFCB against
Newport County, but he ran out wearing the number seven shirt.
The full team on the day was: Leigh, Heffernan,
Sulley, Spackman, Brignull, Impey, Best, Beck, Lee,
Nightingale, Dawtry, Sub: Graham, while Morgan didn't play.
If you want to pick up a copy of 'Dean Court Days' just click on the link and order your copy now! Look out for the next extract on Dean Court Days next Monday.

Michael will be organising a book signing soon and Harry Redknapp is also likely to want to sign some copies too. We'll keep you informed. 

TalkSport listening - Sports Bar

Tomorrow night Cherry Chimes will be on the airwaves of Talk Sport's Sports Bar programme at 11.00-11.30pm talking about the past season and this summer's transfer talk.

Sunday, 27 May 2018

Rhoys retries but is not forgotten

The retirement of Rhoys Wiggins might not hit the fans with a huge amount of surprise as the former Sheffield Wednesday player didn't really have an impact on his more recent return to AFCB that was hampered by the knee injury that never cleared up. His open letter to the fans though on retiring revealed that it was not just his ill-healing knee that he had been battling with and having had an accident that resulted in fracture skull.

Not a lot of headlines followed Rhoy's attempts to rehabilitate while the Cherries carried on their Premier League games. He was an important player when he first played for Edie Howe back in 2008-9 on loan and in 2010 and when he signed for the club permanently in 2010 AFCB were pushing for promotion to the Championship.

Wiggins style was always to attack and he set the mould for Eddie Howe's wing-backs in the players that followed him. Like Charlie Daniels Wiggins had a long part of his career with Charlton Athletic and I always felt that Charlton were the club that AFCB were always keen to try and catch in terms of success on and off the pitch. 


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Now Wiggins has sadly decided to call it a day at 30. I expect Eddie Howe sees a lot of his own career's sudden end akin to what has happened to Rhoys. The signing from Sheffield United in 2016 always seemed a hand of friendship to a player that had perhaps been left behind after the sudden rise of AFCB, but even then Rhoys didn't get the games he would have so wanted in the Premier League and his period at Birmingham City ultimately cut-short his playing career.

Hopefully, Rhoys still wants to come and see some games at Dean Court as I'm sure he will be appreciated and as other fans have already said - we wish him the best of luck going forward.

Saturday, 26 May 2018

Grabban has done himself and AFCB proud

It's a big day for Lewis Grabban today as Aston Villa take on Fulham in the Play-off final for the Premier League. Lewis Grabban has been quietly going about his work in the Championship. To score 12 goals at Sunderland who have been relegated and then to join Aston Villa and score a further seven goals in the second half of the season, he has proved that he is still a top Championship striker. I wouldn't be surprised if Aston Villa want the Bournemouth striker to stay on whether they go up or not.
I wish Lewis the very best, but I would be even
happier if Fulham win promotion this Saturday - sorry Villa!
In recent days Nottingham Forest have been inked with a move for the striker and under Steve Bruce and Chris Coleman, Grabban has re-found his goal touch. It means that Bournemouth can probably hold out for more or less what they paid for him, when he has bought from Norwich City, and while Grabban has not made his name in the Premier League, sometimes players find their level and have to be content with that.

Lewis had some difficult times and could have messed up his chances when out on loan but he got himself together and did the business. Travelling up to play in Sunderland might not have interested many player after the team was relegated from the Premier League, but he went in there with the right attitude of making a fresh start.



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The Aston Villa move was perhaps even more impressive, as he had to score goals to stay in a team that was seeking promotion. He has not looked out of place and has scored some important goals. Why he was not able to do that at AFCB is a real shame and I was looking back at least season's first game to see that he started against Man United, so it could have been a very different outcome for Grabban, if he had take his second chances at AFCB in 2016-17.

With Villa now in the play-off final in the Championship, AFCB may be hoping that Villa do get promoted and take Grabban, but they may well have the money then to decide they can do even better and leave Grabban to other Championship teams to squabble over.

In other news, Rhoys Wiggins retires after his troubles last couple of years at AFCB.

Friday, 25 May 2018

Baily - a product of AFCB goes his separate way

I was disappointed to hear that Ryan Allsop and Baily Cargill were among six players released by the Cherries. It may be a difficult task in itself to develop players to a good league standard, but bringing them through to the first team is starting to look an extremely problematic hurdle for AFCB, despite all the efforts to establish the club's youth players into Premier League players.
Baily Cargill is off to pastures new along with some of his AFCB colleagues.
Baily and Ryan were joined by Ollie Harfield, Sam Matthews, Patrick O'Flaherty and Joe Quigley. No doubt AFCB will say these players will have every chance of finding new employment in the lower leagues, and that AFCB had taken them as far as it could. But how good do you need to be at 21 or 22 to be kept on by a Premier League team? You have to be exceptional I'd say and while Jack Simpson has seen his career flourish at Dean Court, it must make him worry that he has very little time to try and break into the first team before he will also be moved on.

In the last decade it has become more difficult for players that have been trained from the youth teams to find their way into the first team. AFCB thus becomes a feeder club for lower league teams that want to pick up players that have been taught in the AFCB style of football, but releasing them for free may not seem a great business, but it does give these players a real education in the game with a good name behind them to move on. If the Cherries can use the vacancies to bring in even better talent then fans might not see it as such a waste, but we are yet to see enough players being developed to play in the first team.
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Whether the new training facilities being built at Poole will change this we will have to wait and see. It surely has to be an aim for AFCB to keep players that have potential to reach the top and not simply release them. It is a business though that is becoming more ruthless I fear. I hope the released players do soon find good contracts and a future in the game.

Thursday, 24 May 2018

Is it goodbye to Gradel?

Max Gradel has had a season long loan at Toulouse in Ligue 1 and has been relatively successful with his goal haul of nine from 28 games. But the players time at AFCB could well be over now with Eddie Howe wanting to freshen up the squad with new players, and with Gradel not having been part of Howe's playing team for some time there can be little hope of AFCB fans seeing Max in red and black again.
Will Max continue playing in France?
Toulouse wanted to take Gradel on loan with an option to buy him at the end of the loan spell and at first the Cherries argued against this, but a deal is thought to be in place for him. Bournemouth won't expect to raise much money for the 30 year old, but he has been a player that was a big favourite for many at Dean Court.

Gradel was one of Eddie Howe's first signings in the Premier League in 2015 and I expected Max to be one of the stars for AFCB as they took on the best teams in the land. But in that first August, he damaged his cruciate ligament and missed most of the season. I will remember his goal against Swansea City at home though, after his comeback, when he ran half the length of the pitch to hug Eddie Howe on the touchline. 


Max had a difficult time at AFCB and while he faded from the line ups in Bournemouth's second Premier League season, he was no doubt pleased to get the opportunity to return to France last summer. While it was not Saint-Etienne, he went back to Toulouse who were pleased enough to give him another go in Ligue 1.

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AFCB have been regularly updating fans on the performances of Max overseas and he has been playing fairly well again. There will be no surprise if he plays out the rest of his career in France if AFCB as expected draw a line under his second spell at the Cherries.


Max plays the last play-off game of the season for Toulouse against AC Ajaccio on Sunday 27 May to try and keep Toulouse in Ligue 1. Toulouse won the first leg 0-3 and Max scored in the first play-off match. He is currently Toulouse's top scorer on eight goals.

Premier League Football Fan Survey

Jack Stansfield is studying a master’s degree in sport and exercise psychology at Northumbria University and he has created a thesis project that looks at Premier League fans’ team identification, i.e. how well they support and identify with their team. He needs fans of all Premier League football clubs fill out a relatively short questionnaire of 37 questions looking at team identification and satisfaction with life; it should take no longer than 10 minutes. If you can participate please do by clicking this link

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Is Howe battling to keep AFCB's identity?

In the post-match comments with Eddie Howe following the Burnley match, he said it would be a difficult transfer window this summer as the club needs to do business, but by doing that "it's also easy to make changes and lose our identity."
Howe knows the transfer window will determine
ultimately how successful AFCB can be. 
The style of play Bournemouth have is something that Howe has close to his heart and he does not want to loose the determination of his players that propelled them up the leagues. He knows that to replace some of the stars that have got the Cherries to the Premier League will be the next challenge, and he needs those older players to teach the newcomers the interactions that AFCB have developed, and to carry them through, in turn, when they play games.

Partnerships like Daniels and Pugh, and Arter and Surman, have taken many seasons to get to the understandings that these players have when they are on the pitch. To make changes could upset the flow of the team. But players like Tyrone Mings and Nathan AkΓ© have been around the club for a while now, and Lewis Cook and Ryan Fraser have broken through. The headache for Howe has been that it hasn't worked for everyone he had high hopes for. Lewis Grabban and Benik Afobe are the latest strikers that have fallen out of favour. We don't yet know if Lys Mousset, Emerson Hyndman or Brad Smith will make the grade.
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At the same time Eddie is going to add more fresh faces, and will only have so much time he can dedicate to new additions and players that have not yet grasped the full identity of how he wants the team to play. It will mean that some who have not picked up the ideas will surely go out on loan or get left behind. Howe has to equate how many new signings he can bring in without upsetting the balance.

I don't think Howe has any doubt about how he wants the team to play, he is just worried about bringing in more players that don't fit the system straight away. Seeing how long it has taken Ibe to find his feet at AFCB, Howe wants to make sure his recruiting is perfect to not waste any time on getting the next batch of AFCB players fully on his wavelength.

Just A Fan's Analysis
JAFA is a new football social media app for Premier League fans that ‘cuts through the noise’ and is an all-in-one hub for football fans, putting both the news and views in one place. Users on JAFA are ranked by levels, and gain XP by liking, commenting. No trolling is allowed. Give the app a go - you will see that Cherry Chimes has already made a few posts download the app at - https://jafaapp.com/download . Twitter @JAFA

In other news, AFCB look to be interested in Leeds Utd left back Tom Pearce who is in Toulon for England's U21 team this summer, reports Inside Football.

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Has Arter got a future at Bournemouth?

The news that Lewis Cook has signed a new deal at AFCB may mean that Eddie Howe is agreeable to letting one of his long-serving midfielders go. Harry Arter may well have decided that his career will not be continued at the Cherries having seen his place in the team taken by Lewis Cook.
Will Arter be at Dean Court next season?
The signs that Harry has not been happy this season are all too easy to read. He has been suffering with an Achilles heel problem all season and he has not been able to play with his characteristic intensity that sees him press the opposition into mistakes. More recently we have seen him hand over his football academy to Simon Francis which may be the first sign of him severing links with the local area and when he was forced out of the team he did say he would have to speak with Eddie if he did not play before the end of the season in the closing games.

Things might have been made more urgent if West Ham United had not sacked their manager this month. Having expressed an interest in Harry, West Ham have been seen as the most likely destination for the player.

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Harry has still managed to get a cal up for the Irish squad despite his problems, but it is at AFCB where he will need to decide this summer if he wants to fight for his place.

Harry was seen coming on the pitch at Dean Court after the final whistle of the Swansea City match. He acknowledged the chant from the North stand singing "Number 8, Number 8, Harry Arter", but I felt that it was almost a goodbye chant from the fans who sang it with a slightly sad feel to it. The emotional attachment to Harry runs deep with the fans knowing his personal tragedy that he and his partner have gone through and Harry's fight to get back from non-league to the football league. His desire to play in the higher divisions was achieved at Bournemouth and he and Eddie Howe go back a long way.

So, if Harry does decide to move on it will be a huge personality lost from the club. There won't be another Harry Arter.


Premier League Football Fan Survey
Jack Stansfield is studying a master’s degree in sport and exercise psychology at Northumbria University and he has created a thesis project that looks at Premier League fans’ team identification, i.e. how well they support and identify with their team. He needs fans of all Premier League football clubs fill out a relatively short questionnaire of 37 questions looking at team identification and satisfaction with life; it should take no longer than 10 minutes. If you can participate please do by clicking this link

Monday, 21 May 2018

Do AFCB have to think big to be big?

Eddie Howe has said that the club needs to grow and not just on the field, but also with its infrastructure as the viability of playing Premier League games at Dean Court cannot have a long term future. The new stadium may not be on the scale of Spurs' or what Chelsea have in mind, but the squeeze to get 12,500 fans into Dean Court has to be addressed and sooner rather than later.
Eddie Howe wants a bigger stadium but how long will he have to wait for it?
The revenues that could be earned will be beneficial for the club in the long term and while season tickets have been frozen for next season, the gates should be something that contribute to the club's wealth and should not be holding it back when more fans want to come and see Bournemouth play. It is disappointing that having had three years in the top flight that AFCB still haven't enlarged the capacity of the ground, and more people than ever are being deprived of a chance to see Premier League football in the locality.

It's been home this millennium but Dean Court has already been out grown by the club.
Bournemouth do have to think big now as they are in the top 30 clubs in the world in terms of turnover. A 20,000 seat stadium will at least put more weight behind the club's standing, and while it could mean that AFCB have to go a year or two when they don't bring in as many players as they would like to, I don't see that as a major hindrance to AFCB if Howe does not want to make many changes anyway.

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The new stadium has been talked of for a couple of season now though, and the fans need to see something in plan and on the ground. We know it will be in Kings Park if the planning goes through without trouble, but there are issues that need to be solved like traffic and access for fans on foot and by public transport. Eddie Howe and the fans know what we want and what we need, but getting it in place seems to take far longer than any of really want. While the club is in the Premier League, surely this is the time to sort the infrastructure out.

And for those who suggest AFCB could be relegated next season while they are in the middle of building a 20,000 seat stadium, wouldn't you rather see the club trying to progress rather than staying at 12,500 and relegated with a lack of ambition? No one wants the club to spend silly money on a new stadium that makes it financially unstable, but AFCB don't need to break the bank to get what they need. 

I do wonder with Eddie Howe speaking out about the need for the new stadium if there is some who are blocking the move, either at the club or at the local council level. It looks like pressure might have to be applied to get to the day when we see the fist shovel go into the ground on the New Dean Court.

In other news, Baily Cargil was on the losing side as Partick Thistle Lost 0-1 (Agg 1-3) to Livingston in the Scottish Premiership play-off.

Sunday, 20 May 2018

Top southern team should only be the start of AFCB's ambitions

The fans at Bournemouth certainly recognise that the Cherries have out done all the other south coast clubs this season. They may not have beaten Southampton in matches or got a double over Brighton, but they have finished higher in the table and where are Pompey?
Top of the lot!
Banter aside, it is progress that AFCB have managed to climb above the other south coast clubs as it has been too many years where they have been seen as the little side and now they are not the poor relation, but the ones setting the standard for others to come after. The difficulty will be in trying to make it a regular outcome to finish top in the south, and if Eddie Howe can do that AFCB will become a much more respected club. Then, maybe, some of the local games will develop more into derby games, which I think we all want.

Bournemouth have to be successful to become a team that are seen as a big club on the south coast. Being in the Premier League is a big step in itself, but repeating the feat of beating Southampton and Brighton has to be the minimum every season at this level. It is not going to be easy with Brighton having had a great season and now knowing exactly what they need to survive, while Southampton have had a scare, and as long as they make some right choices in the summer, they are going to be a stronger side next time around.


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It all comes down to recruitment for me. Eddie Howe asked for funds to get AFCB to the next level, and if he needs that to get the club into the top 10, I expect he will be given it. AFCB only played 21 players this season in the Premier League which is the fewest of any club and he needs to broaden the base of the quality at the club, as injuries have often left him having to play people out of position.

If Howe can get to the stage where he has two players that are as good as one another in the same position, they will become stronger and they'll need to be to beat the other south coast clubs in 2018/19.

Saturday, 19 May 2018

Liverpool target signs new Cherries' deal

It was in July 2016 that Lewis Cook first signed for the Cherries and Leeds Utd were loathed to let him go. The lure of the Premier League was too much though and a chance to work with Eddie Howe was something that Lewis clearly looked forward to, but with his strong playing performance in 2017/18 and England call ups, AFCB needed to act fast to give him an improved contract to prevent any interest building in him over the summer.
Lewis delights Eddie Howe and will become a centre-piece of AFCB's team
having signed a new four-year deal.
This is a big four-year deal for Lewis Cook and AFCB. The club has tied-up a player who is likely to become an England regular in the next few years and by sealing the deal of such a quality player it will help other players looking to get to that standard believe that they can do so at AFCB.

Eddie Howe has a fondness for young English players who he can develop and improve and Lewis fits the bill. Building a team around him and Nathan AkΓ© will surely be the mainstay of the Bournemouth team going forward. Finding a central midfielder of equal promise and attracting them to the club will be something that we may see solved this summer. Cook has played well mainly with Dan Gosling, but has also played several games with Andrew Surman and has not really been out of the side for any length of time since December such has been Cook's consistency.

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To do that while all the excitement of England call ups was going around shows what a great talent Lewis Cook is and how dedicated he is to AFCB and the game. Of all the signatures this summer there might not be a important signing, but Lewis will also know there are areas of his game that he needs to improve on for next season and if he does not go away with England, as seems to be the case, it will enable Eddie Howe to spend even more time with the midfielder to get him just right during pre-season. But Lewis Cook has already been picked to play for the England U21s in Toulon, as well as AFCB keeper Aaron Ramsdale this summer.

The new contract will be a blow to Liverpool who were said to be watching Lewis Cook, but there likelihood of signing him now has been blown out of the water, knowing that the player has already agreed terms on a better contract at AFCB.

Premier League Football Fan Survey
Jack Stansfield is studying a master’s degree in sport and exercise psychology at Northumbria University and he has created a thesis project that looks at Premier League fans’ team identification, i.e. how well they support and identify with their team. He needs fans of all Premier League football clubs fill out a relatively short questionnaire of 37 questions looking at team identification and satisfaction with life; it should take no longer than 10 minutes. If you can participate please do by clicking this link.

Friday, 18 May 2018

Bournemouth go into pre-season with a bounce in their step

You can't have a bigger high than a last gasp winner in a football game. Callum Wilson will have been delighted to end the season with a goal and a match winning one and while he will be itching to get going again next season, the whole AFCB team can be proud of what they achieved at Burnley and over the course of the season.
Back-to-back wins will enable AFCB players to hit pre-season with optimism.
If AFCB had lost on the last day it would have been thoughts of a season that was just full of trouble and AFCB had had a bit of an escape. Well, 42 points might not be record breaking but back-to back wins, home and away should not be sniffed at. Burnley had a strong home record and AFCB had never won there in 14 attempts so a mental barrier was broken with the 1-2 win and the Cherries had not won away since 31 January.

Eddie Howe will have ticked off a lot of annoying stats after the Burnley game. Bournemouth might not have reached their pre-game target of a top 10 finish, but they were only nine goals or a point away from finishing 10th, so it was not a disappointment to get as close as that.

Now the Cherries have to recharge their batteries and I think they will look at the Burnley game and believe they could play as well as they did in the second half to win more games next season. If there has been one criticism this season it is that AFCB have not found form for 90 minutes nearly often enough. The Chelsea away win was an exception, but Eddie Howe will be going over why it was that they got the preparation so right for that game as they did for the Burnley away match.

It is always better to go into preseason on a bit of a high and with the last two games adding six points to AFCB's points total there is a freshness of victory that the club can now carry through the summer and try and get the start they really want next season. 

In other news, Artur Boruc signed a one-year extension to his contract at AFCB. The Daily Record also reports that Stephen Gerrard would like Jermain Defoe at Rangers next season.

Thursday, 17 May 2018

Would Howe be tempted by Everton approach?

I was at ease a few days ago when Everton were considering the sacking of Sam Allardyce. They are a club that remain in the shadow of Liverpool and really need to re-find the identity that they had back in the Howard Kendall era, when Eddie Howe used to follow them. But now attention might be turning away from Marco Silva to Eddie Howe to replace Allardyce, and I have to wonder would it be a good move for Eddie Howe?
Eddie Howe has been manager at AFCB in his second spell since October 2012.
Just for a moment let's come off our AFCB seat and look at this from the point of view of an up an coming manager that is the longest serving manager at a Premier League club with the chance to manage a top 10 club that has ambitions for European football and more. Now this is also a club that Eddie Howe loved as a boy and became a big fan of by the late 1980s. Merseyside is a football hotbed of fans, and if Howe was to do well at Everton then the England manager's job would be almost nailed on at a later date. 

Now balance that with the thoughts of Howe knows how AFCB runs inside out and he has the freedom to make the calls on most major decisions, if not all of them. Is there much more that he can do at AFCB? And does he like to take risks or is he a one club manager? What would failure at Everton mean for his career? 

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We can only guess what the list might look like on each side of the equation for Howe, but the ultimate question he would ask himself is whether he is happy managing at AFCB and if that is enough for him at the moment? If he were to be approached and turn down the Everton job, then that is something he would have to live with. Would better jobs be likely to pop up in the next few years for him? 

Howe also would have to consider what he felt about the stability of Everton as a club. It is a club that has had five managers (counting David Unsworth twice) since the sacking of Roberto Martinez in June 2016 - just two years ago!  Everton are impatient for success. But for the rescue act that Sam Allardyce did this season they could have finished lower than the Cherries. Is Eddie Howe sure he could get Everton on track to challenge the top six, knowing that the club spent heavily last summer and is perhaps not going to give him the same purse strings as they gave Ronald Koeman?

Whatever conclusion Eddie comes to, there is no better place to be on view than in the Premier League and AFCB fans will know that it will be very difficult to replace the man that has guided them up the divisions to the Premier League and kept them there. Success brings popularity and even if some other managers have higher stock, the mood around the Premier League is that clubs no longer want the old stand-ins that have done it all before and they are willing to give new talent a chance at bigger clubs. Annoyingly for AFCB fans, good English managers are a rare commodity and while AFCB stay in the Premier League, Eddie Howe's stock will continue to grow until he will become a manager that is sought after by the bigger clubs. This may not be the time for Howe to move but we will find it difficult to keep interested parties away from Eddie Howe in the months and years to come unless Eddie makes it his want not to leave the area or the club that has made his name.

What is your all time favourite scoreline?
Clothes2order are running a survey on fans' most popular score. I chose AFC Bournemouth 4 v 3 Liverpool in 2016, but you might have a different game that made you smile even more. You can post your favourite game on the link here and help Clothes2order complete their survey.

In other news, Lewis Cook is only on standby for World Cup England squad
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