Tuesday, 31 March 2020

What has Eddie Howe learned from this season?

Eddie Howe will not have expected the season to have gone the way he had expected. He felt he had his strongest squad ever, and yet they have been the closest squad yet to find relegation trouble. So he will be aware that the players he has are in need of strengthening, and that perhaps some of them are not as good as he thought they were.

A difficult but perhaps a valuable season for Eddie Howe.
Eddie Howe does know that he has one of the best goalkeepers in the land in Aaron Ramsdale. The only problem there is that many other teams also know what a quality player he is. The back four has been chopped and changed far too often, and while Nathan AkΓ© has been the mainstay of that defence with Steve Cook, the goals against have been raising to 47 from the 29 games and without Charlie Daniels, the team has perhaps looked less effective on its left side.
The quest for Howe could be to try and take more pressure off the defence in the next season. Jack Stacey is new and will be gaining experience all the time, but protecting him and others in the back line will make it easier for the team next time around. Jefferson Lerma has been the rock to protect the back line, but it has been hard for Howe to find another like him for when he is injured or just to alternate. It would be a massive help if he did find that player.
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The other main problem is that the team has seen its goal count drop to a goal a game and that will always cause problems if you are trying to stay in the Premier League. Bournemouth need to find more goals to take the weight off their defence and with Ryan  Fraser expected to move on, the jury is still out on whether Arnaut Danjuma can step in and if Josh King wants to stay. This could be the biggest summer turnover among players that AFCB has seen for sometime with Francis, Surman and Boruc perhaps not being offered new contracts.
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Howe knew his job was under threat in January when he had to wait for the win against Brighton to bring some life back into Bournemouth's campaign. This summer Howe perhaps has an even bigger task of finding a team from the remnants of this awful season.


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Previous post on Cherry Chimes - Is Solanke another Afobe?


Chimes Newsletter - out tomorrow!

Cherry Chimes' April Newsletter brings you the best stories on the blog and the thoughts behind them from last month. The newsletter has a special story - What will it be like when play is resumed?
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Monday, 30 March 2020

Is Solanke just another Afobe?

Dominic Solanke was going to be one of the bright England U21 stars that would help AFCB reach the next level. He'd done well in tournaments and with his Liverpool pedigree he was learning the game in the right way, but as soon as he came to the Cherries he lost any semblance of form or belief that he could be a Premier League striker. So what do AFCB do with him now?
Dominic Solanke - what is his future?
There will be those that still have faith that Dominic can turn it around. Perhaps if Bournemouth are relegated, Solanke could find form in the Championship. I find that hard to imagine, as even dropping down a level I don't see a striker that could muster double figures in goals. While Solanke was injured when he first came to the club, he hasn't exactly inspired when he hasn't been injured either. We were just as unimpressed with Benik Afobe, but at east Afobe came with a few quick goals when he came to the club and had the physical attributes to make himself a nuisance. With Solanke we don't even get that.
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Sometimes it is the hardest thing to admit that the recruitment was wrong and I suspect there are those at the club who still believe they can polish this player into a diamond. But rather than spend more time with trying to make Solanke into a half decent player, it is perhaps a clearer vision to sell him, even if he can't bring in half the amount that he was bought for. Cutting losses is something that Bournemouth don't always seem keen to do, but sometimes you have to make decisions that are best for the player and the club, and while the fans would love Solanke to suddenly be a success, I imagine that very few hands would go up who saw him as the next best thing at AFCB.


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Solanke just doesn't look to have any fire in his belly. Strikers are greedy and ruthless. I look deep into Solanke to see how much he wants it in the field and I just don't see a player who thinks he is better than the rest. Without that belief and determination it is hard to succeed at this level, and if the decision is made to make a loss on Solanke this summer I don't think too many fans would think it was necessarily a bad idea.



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Previous post on Cherry Chimes - Is Lewis cook going to be one of the reasons why AFCB stay up?

Sunday, 29 March 2020

Is Lewis Cook going to be one of the reasons why AFCB stay up?

Lewis Cook and Dan Gosling have been after the same spot this season
Lewis Cook had such a great start at AFCB it was hard to see anything going wrong for him. He even made it to the full England squad and was in line for top international honours. But injuries and a need to fight his way back into the Bournemouth team have taken their time, and even this season we have not seen many games with Lewis Cook in a Bournemouth shirt.

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Now he is getting to play games with Jefferson Lerma and his vision and passing have always been a great asset to the team. I find Lewis a busy little player that goes quietly about his work and that is perhaps why he doesn't always get the plaudits he deserves.

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What he does do is get Bournemouth going forward. It seems simple, but forward passes are the most risky and Lewis Cook plays with that element of risk which is why he is popular in my opinion. When it comes off for him he looks world class and yet by losing the ball in great areas it can put pressure on those at the back, as we saw in the Liverpool game. Bournemouth are better though when they take risks and that is why I think Lewis Cook will be a big player in the club's attempt to stay up. 

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Saturday, 28 March 2020

Is Adam Smith wasted at left-back?

This season we have seen more players having to move about to fill different positions than I am sure Eddie Howe would have liked. Bournemouth do have what many would term utility men and perhaps the most prone to being requested to do a job for the team is usually Adam Smith.
Adam Smith best as a right back?

I think Adam finds it hard to get a break. Even when he plays well and has had a good run at right back, the emergence of Jack Stacey gave Eddie Howe a problem this season. It was Adam Smith who was again asked to move and to pay on the left side. But while Smith can do a good job in midfield on the right and left and at the back on both sides, it must be disconcerting for the player to find himself being moved and having to reestablish connections with players nearest to him when he was getting use to being on the other side of the pitch.

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Even Adam Smith has picked up his fair amount of injuries this season and his form has been in and out, which is no doubt not helped by playing in different positions. It would surely be beneficial for Adam to get a season of playing in a regular position for the majority of games. While a player can't really complain if he is being picked, there must be a position that Adam prefers more than most and I wonder how much Howe stretched the players' minds to think they can play just as well anywhere on the pitch. If the players do well then, all is well and good. But if they get depressed in not playing where they feel they are best, as we have seen with Josh King then it does provoke some resentment.

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While I think Adam Smith can do a job at left-back, I don't think he looks as comfortable there as say Diego Rico, and if Bournemouth are to maintain a good chance of staying up, I hope in the remaining games that players like Adam Smith are put in their best positions.

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Previous post on Cherry Chimes - Has Fraser blown his Bournemouth legacy?

Friday, 27 March 2020

Has Fraser blown his Bournemouth legacy?

The Wee-man has been a popular figure around Dean Court over the last five or six years and his football has always done the taking for him. While he hasn't always been first choice on the left wing, he has made the position his own having rivalled Mark Pugh for many years. Now that his contract is coming to an end, how do we feel about the Scotsman who came to Bournemouth as a boy and will leave as a talented football star?
Is Ryan Fraser as popular as ever?
I imagine Bournemouth fans' views on Wee-man may have changed a little in the last 12-months to what they were before that time. The 'I want away' calls are never flattering and Fraser admits himself that he found it hard to put heart and sole into his game when he didn't get his move last summer. For many that will be water under the bridge as they have delighted in seeing this winger run the line and provide great crosses for Callum Wilson and Josh King.

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The Wee-man has also been a goalscorer although he has lost his way on that front this season. What would it take for the Wee-man to have a big send off? He needs a big end to the season with goals and assists aplenty. I kind of think we are coming to an end of an era with Fraser about to leave the club, but I am sure he does not want his legacy to include the club being relegated.

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Fraser has been nothing if not honest all his footballing career. It has been a pleasure to cheer him on at Dean Court since the Championship years and I still believe he has one of the best reputations at the club as a trier, and for Bournemouth fans that's really all we want to see.
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Previous post on Cherry Chimes - Harry Wilson has been fabulous for Bournemouth

Thursday, 26 March 2020

Harry Wilson has been fabulous for Bournemouth

There are Liverpool fans wondering if their young Welshman, Harry Wilson, is ripe for selling, or if he should be given a chance at Anfield. To break into Klopp's side is going to need some special talent. At Bournemouth thought, Harry Wilson has more than justified his loan move and the Cherries can be very thankful that he decided to play for Bournemouth this season.
Harry has spent his time atBournemouth well.
It is not just he goals that have been a tonic. Harry has jumped into Bournemouth life on the pitch with two feet and when he was unable to play, he was sorely missed. Eddie Howe has not rested him that much and with so many injuries this season, it has been a lifeline that Harry Wilson has been able to play as many games as he has.

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We do forget that this is his first season in the Premier League. He has been excellent though at taking on the best defenders and while he will have had a lot of pressure on him, as a loanee from Liverpool, he has more than lived up to top billing. If Klopp decides to sell him, Liverpool will surely get a good fee. But I wonder if Wilson would become a better player eve quicker if he did stay at Liverpool and worked with some of the very best players in the world.
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For Bournemouth, it has been a case of a generous loan deal and to have such a player has been a big help in masking over the pain of losing David Brooks for so long. Now that Harry Wilson's time is coming to an end at Bournemouth though, I hope our fans continue to watch his development with Wales, and wherever he ends up, as he could yet be one of the players that saves the Cherries from life in the Championship, and that is no bad thing to have on your CV.

Wednesday, 25 March 2020

Footballers shouldn't play until it's safe for all

I can't get my head around the continued talk about a game a day from June onwards for the Premier League, with perhaps the players having games behind closed doors in neutral venues just, so the season can be completed. Oh, and of course so that we can all see it free on TV!
Players can't take risks with their health.
While it all seems ideal for the broadcasters, the revenue for the Premier League and a compromise for the supporters, what about the players? They are not guinea pigs. The safety of players has to be just as paramount as the fans, and it also gives no safety to the staff putting on the matches or the officials. I wonder what the thinking is at times. The world can manage without football for a while.


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The players need to train in a safe environment and they need to train as a team as it is a team game. If they can't train together, the authorities can't expect them to play as soon as June. We don't know that when and hopefully they do play again, but the coronavirus has to be completely eliminated. 
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I frankly can't understand why these kind of discussions are being broadcast by the BBC for example as it only fuels the hopes of fans that the games will be back on as soon as possible no matter what. The Premier League has a great product, but it could turn it into a circus if it doesn't look after the remaining part of the season.

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Safety first, has to be the way forward for any major sorting event in the next few months and if it is not safe then there can be no games.



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Previous post on Cherry Chimes - Out of favour Ibe will soon be on his way

Tuesday, 24 March 2020

Out of favour Ibe will soon be on his way

It has been a very unsuccessful last few years for Jordan Ie at Bournemouth. I always felt he had the talent to be a steady Premier League player, but he lost his focus and is now on the scrap heap as far as his club is concerned with no way back, and only a one way ticket out of Bournemouth, since he crashed his Bentley in a London cafe.
Jordan may go north of the border when his contract ends.
The traumas of Jordan Ibe should be coming to an end very soon, as Bournemouth look to dispense with his services this summer as his contract runs out. It has been a big fall from being the club's record signing at one point, to not even being considered for squads in the Premier League. At present, Celtic seem to be making the most noise about wanting to take the former Liverpool winger as long as he can take a £40k weekly pay cut. Ibe has been pocketing far too good a salary at the Cherries for too long, and it will be a huge saving just to see him go now.
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Why it all went wrong is something only Jordan can reply to. It seems madness that when a player has a chance to make a name in the Premier League that they can throw it all away so easily, but Jordan is not the first and there will be many more. Perhaps he didn't find it easy to settle in Bournemouth, but he also found it hard at Liverpool. Whoever does go for Ibe will be taking a gamble, but I still see that there is a very good footballer in him if someone can bring it out of him.
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While Ibe has been doing his bit in playing for the U21s, he has suffered his time enough at AFCB and I wish him all the best in his next opportunity. But opportunities will be running out fast for him, and I hope he values what comes next as it's probably his last chance to win over a club that is offering him a step back up.

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Previous post on Cherry Chimes - Ramsdale can be expected to be in demand this summer

Monday, 23 March 2020

Ramsdale can be expected to be in demand this summer

All the football gossip columns are starting to look to who might move clubs this summer and there are links already emerging that Aaron Ramsdale will be heading the list of several clubs including Leeds United, Tottenham and Chelsea. While Bournemouth's best hope of retaining Aaron is to keep their Premier League status, even then there could still be some keen interest for Bournemouth's top shot stopper.
Aaron may be walking on different turf come the end of the summer.
The rise of Ramsdale has been sensational. It is hard to think of another player that has come into the Premier League and looked so at home so quickly. The pressure that comes with playing in goal is no doubt higher than any other playing position, but you just wouldn't know it with Aaron.

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Shaka Hislop was quoted by the Echo last week that Ramsdale is the ideal replacement for Kepa at Chelsea. But Spurs are also likely to be in the running as Jose Mourinho looks to strengthen his squad, after Hugo Lloris has made some high profile mistakes. Even Leeds Utd, that expect to win promotion believe they can lure Ramsdale back to Yorkshire.

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Where does this leave Bournemouth? I have no doubt that Howe will fight tooth and nail to retain Ramsdale, but he also has another young aspiring goalkeeper in Mark Travers who is also ready for Premier League football. If the club can get a great fee for Ramsdale, he could well go this summer and it would surely propel his way into the full England squad if he was playing for a Champions League club.

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Bournemouth fans should not be disappointed if Ramsdale does go. It means he has been magnificent and done extremely well. It has been amazing how Eddie Howe has managed to keep his best players over recent years, but this keeper could just be too hot to hold on to for much longer.

Cherry Chimes - Charlie Daniels is still raising a smile

Sunday, 22 March 2020

Charlie Daniels is still raising a smile

It was great to read on the AFCB official website that Charlie Daniels is doing well in his recovery programme and has started work on the AlterG running equipment. It sounds like he is still a few weeks of bing able to run completely unaided but he has had stem cell work as well as an operation to put his dislocated knee back in shape.
Charlie is fighting back.
I admire the grit and determination of players to get back on their feet after such horrendous injuries. Having to lay down on your back for two weeks is no fun and he must have been watching AFCB games knowing that he could do little to help AFCB's faltering season. If AFCB players need a reason to try and stay up, they only have to look at Charlie Daniels and what he has been through. Keeping his and the team's Premier League status would be a great celebration.
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The left back position has remained problematic for Eddie Howe will Daniels' absence all season. He might have expected Lloyd Kelly to feature more often but he has also been racked by injury and while Diego Rico was in favour for most of the season, switching to Adam Smith has still not given AFCB many clean sheets.

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It's in this light that we can see the true value of Charlie Daniels and how important he has been over the recent seasons on the left for AFCB. It can be no surprise that Ryan Fraser has found form hard to find without the support of Charlie making his dynamic runs and while we won't see Charlie I suspect until the end of the year, if he heels well and the coronavirus subsides, it will be great to see him playing again one day. Charlie is one of the players whose contracts is up in June, but AFCB will surely extend the contract after all he has been through in the last two seasons.


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EDDIE HAD A DREAM PRICE CUT
Please not that I have made a price drop for the paperback version of Eddie Had A Dream which has been cut from £13.49 to £9.99 from 20 March 2020. Hopefully, more fans will have the chance to read it now and 15 per cent will still be sent to Julia's House Childrens Hospice, which has received more than £100 from sales already.

Previous Post on Cherry Chimes - Many AFCB player contracts are up in June

Saturday, 21 March 2020

Many AFCB player contracts are up in June

We are in unprecedented times and with the Premier League looking to extend the season indefinitely it does pose the question, what are clubs going to do about players that are out of contract come 30 June 2020? AFCB have their own list of players in this situation which the Bournemouth Echo lists as; Artur Boruc, Simon Francis, Ryan Fraser, Charlie Daniels, Jordan Ibe and Andrew Surman. I'd also imagine that Harry Wilson's loan deal would also come to an end, so the return of David Brooks will be essential and for him to get up to match fitness quickly.
Ryan Fraser might not be the only player likely to leave this summer.
It is possible that not all of these players will be retained by the club, but I'll be surprised if the club does not want to hold on to Simon Francis, Artur Boruc and Ryan Fraser for the last nine games of the season. Whether that means signing a special COVID-19 extension contract for remaining games or sorting out complete new contracts will be between the club an the players, but they'll need to sort something out and the players will want a wage, which they won't have if they are out of contract.

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Simon Francis has been very open in saying he is not pressing for answers at the moment, and for players in the lower leagues it must be much more difficult as they are not on the same kind of salaries. But it is a problem that will become more obvious in the coming weeks as players need to find new clubs to support their families and to pay their mortgages in the long-term, even if the government might be able to support 80 per cent of wages.

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This season is already unique and it is only going to get stranger I would think. The players and clubs are in limbo at the moment and I don't think anyone can plan ahead. It is a day-to-day existence, and while it is ideal for the authorities to say we will finish the season, there are a lot of issues to sort out to make that a reality.

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Previous post on Cherry Chimes - We know football is a luxury to watch

Friday, 20 March 2020

We now know football is a luxury to watch

This week has been surreal. Nobody ever expected the world to be turned upside down with the coronavirus. Now we can see that football was just one of the first things to be suspended and the virus is going much deeper into society now. Football is certainly a luxury item, and while it is great to have a team to follow that other fans also share their love for, there are more important things in life and I hope teams in the Premier League do what they can to help others in society who are less fortunate in this period.
When will we see scenes like this again? The FA hope by the end of April. 
The fact that mass meetings are now advised against makes it difficult for outsiders to go into care homes, schools and places where local communities would have previously met. But football clubs are hopefully supporting the charities that cater for the less fortunate in society now as salaries and wages from workers come under pressure when their businesses are no able to stay open.

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We are used to seeing players go and speak with the local community but that is all going to be harder to do now with no usual football life. It will be good to see the richer clubs support their non-league cousins though and those at the bottom of the pyramid will need special help to remain open after this period. AFC Bournemouth has itself shut its club shop to visitors even if it remains as an online service, but it has plenty of infrastructure to know it will be fine as a club after COVID-19 passes.

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AFCB is indeed one of the stronger clubs now and those at the top of the club should recognise that they are a club that can share some of its good fortune in times of need. Charity does begin at home and it is good to hear that AFCB are paying wages of those who are now being told to stay at home who offer administration services for the club.

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At the end of the day, whether AFCB stay up or are relegated we will still have a club to go and see football at and that is a luxury that even Bournemouth fans didn't think they would have some 12 years ago, and several years previous to that. 



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While the FA has announced the football season can be extended indefinitely, matches have been put back to start on 30 April. I have a feeling we wont see football until something like September, but who really knows.

Previous post on Cherry Chimes - AFCB make loss of £32.4m in annual accounts ending 30 June 2019. 

Thursday, 19 March 2020

AFCB make loss of £32.4m in annual accounts ending 30 June 2019

The accounts for AFCB make poor reading with a financial loss of £32.4m n the accounting period ending 30 June 2019. This is on top of a loss of £10.9m in the previous financial year. While much of the investment has been spent on player signings, which rose to £94.2m last year compared to £55.8m the year before, it does indicate that the Cherries have spent more than they perhaps should have to be competitive in the Premier League. This kind of spending is unsustainable in the long-term and AFCB are again playing the roulette wheel in my opinion. 
AFCB need to get their finances in order.
The player and staff wages have risen significantly at £110.9 compared to £101.9m in FY18. The club did not disclose how much money was paid to agents during the period. The income of the club was largely dependent on their league position finish which was  14th and landed the club with £131.1m in FY19 down from £134.9m on FY18. But non-Premier League revenue was virtually stable at £15.5m.

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The club's Chief executive Neil Blake stressed that £22.6m profit did come into the club shortly after the accounting period closed on player sales, but even that would still show AFCB has been prepared to take a loss of over £10m for the past two seasons to keep its Premier League status. 
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What happens if the club goes down to the Championship with a parachute payment and a need to recoup funds with player sales? The club did not reveal whether it is in debt and if so by how much, but most of its assets are on the playing field and we could see many players need to leave if the club is relegated. The only problem is that those market values won't be as high as if the club remains in the top flight.

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Spending big might have kept the club growing, but this season it hasn't resulted in better results. The signing of Dominic Solanke, Philip Billing and Lloyd Kelly in the last 12-18 months and the sale of Lys Mousset doesn't bode me with great confidence about recruitment and player sales, even if the purchase of Jack Stacey and the sale of Tyrone Mings can be considered better decisions. The direction of player spending perhaps needs to change very quickly. That is why the new training complex is vital to bring players through and to reduce the player transfer fees. The model AFCB has works okay when the big money continues to come in, but it could leave the club having to face the music next season if things don't go according to plan on the pitch. The new stadium idea certainly looks a distant pipe dream with these kind of financial results.

NB. I am self-isolating at the moment having picked up a chest infection and high-temperature. I'm over the worst but I advise others to self-isolate if they feel any flu-like symptoms as soon as they can for the sake of the elderly and those with underlying conditions. We'll beat this. UTCIAD!

Previous post on Cherry Chimes - Howe can only concentrate on his players and preparing for Newcastle United
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