Sunday, 31 May 2020

Cherries need to take this period as a new beginning

The past has been pretty difficult viewing this season for AFCB fans. It is now time for the team to make this a new beginning. They can right some of the wrongs that they feel have happened in 2019/20, but they have to be stronger than ever as a group to beat some of the best sides in the Premier League and wins are what it is all about now.
Bournemouth have to pick themselves up and go again.
The players and staff know now that football will restart, barring a sudden rise in COVID-19 cases, and if they play to their very best ability they could secure a sixth season in the top league. That would be no mean feet, as Bournemouth are marked down by most bookies to be one of the three teams that don't start the Premier League 2020-21 season in the Premier League.

It has been many seasons since AFCB have been in fear of relegation. They have climbed so high that it had to come one season when the drop was a real possibility. Now the team has to embrace the challenge and stand up for what they want to cling on to. The team can talk about looking forward to getting matches on again, but they will only be content if they start to win games again.
I can't imagine how immense the first game will be. The tension will be huge and Bournemouth players will need to be super concentrated. It will set the mood for the following games and if they can beat their opponent, I think the fans will also feed off the win. But if it goes wrong and Bournemouth fall even further back in the race to stay up, it will be hard to be optimistic for a good end to the current season for AFCB. 


The fixture list might not be so important once we get going, but the players must view this period as a new beginning. They know the task ahead What has gone before is basically irrelevant to how they can look to perform now. They start from 27 points and need to add four wins - it's a big ask but striking a win in the first game would be a huge lift.

Previous post on Cherry Chimes - Three weeks to get AFCB up and running

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Saturday, 30 May 2020

Three weeks to get AFCB up and running well

Eddie Howe has spoken out about potential injuries from a lack of fitness training with just three weeks to the start of Project Restart. Eddie wants to get previously injured players back, but is unlikely to push his players too hard if he can make some changes with teh prospect of three games in a week.
Eddie Howe only has a few weeks to work his magic and get his team fired up for the last nine games
Eddie Howe only has a few weeks to work his magic
 and get his team fired up for the last nine games

What we do know is that AFCB will be wearing is a new kit come the restart. The contract with sponsors Mansion88 is over from 31 May 2020 and isn't being renewed and Umbro has designed new home, away and training kits that AFCB were keen to show off on social media yesterday. I think even the kit change may give the players a bit of a lift because the old kit didn't bring many good results.


The mood with Eddie Howe was clearly a bit apprehensive, as he talked to Kris Temple, in a YouTube Interview yesterday (see video on PC/Tablet side bar of Cherry Chimes). But Eddie seemed up beat about getting back to the test of the Premier League. Getting AFCB up and running at full throttle is what Eddie wants now. They are only starting contact training this weekend and while Eddie Howe wants things to be as normal as it can be, there are many unknowns like whether players will be able to play, whose contracts are up come the end of June.

What we don't want to hear at the end of nine games is that AFCB just weren't fully prepared of had a disadvantage compared to the other teams in the bottom six. As no one has been in this situation before, it will be hard for Eddie Howe to know if he has got things right until the games start. All we can do is look on and hope that the Premier League means as much to the players as it certainly does to Eddie Howe. They might be considered to be lucky to get the opportunity to play the last nine game story and stay up, now they have to make the most of that chance.


Friday, 29 May 2020

Resumption date agreed for Premier League

While the date of 17 June will be met with ecstatic delight on one side of Merseyside, for those facing relegation it is a time of maximum stress, but also a chance to improve their situation. While we wait to see in which order AFCB's remaining fixtures will be, fans will also be desperate to know which games will be free to air and will BBC Radio Solent be back in the stadiums to at least give commentary on the games?

The Premier League is getting closer to a restart next month.
As Bournemouth are in a relegation fight and play probably the hardest fixtures of any club in the bottom six they are likely to be well watched on TV. All matches will be on TV but only a third will be free to watch, from what I understand. If Bournemouth thought they might quietly slip out of the top league, they may find fans look to find some way of communicating their support, be it through social media and forums. The game will not have been played in this way here before, behind closed doors, and it is going to be a strange experience. But we have to let the layers know somehow that we are right behind them and willing them on to do well.

Friday 19th June could be Bournemouth's first restart match, but more likely Saturday 20 June. At least it gives Eddie Howe an approximate date for the first opponents but the league table is going to change quickly with so many fixtures packed in on pretty much every day after 17 June, as the league looks to complete the fixture list as soon a possible.

The worse thing for AFCB fans is that we wont be able to celebrate or commiserate with the team at the end of the season. We will have to just send messages of support. But in many ways it will just be a relief to get to the end of the season. There will still be many discussions t be had about 2020-21 and whether games should start behind closed doors in August for that season. Fan revenue is paramount for many clubs, so it will be interesting to see how fans will be looked after, as they will be excluded from taking part in the match experience and clubs need to keep fans happy as best they can in these difficult times. Now you have paid for a season ticket you can't use you may need to spend on some TV games on paying platforms just to see how the season ends.


Previous post on Cherry Chimes - AFCB won't need Harry Wilson next season

Thursday, 28 May 2020

Bournemouth won't need Harry Wilson next season

While Liverpool have been very keen to loan AFCB players like Nathaniel Clyne and Harry Wilson in the least two seasons and have seen the signings of Jordan Ibe and Dominic Solanke, they may find that AFCB's love affair with Anfield players is over.
AFCB are unlikely to spend further with Liverpool after recent signings.

Bournemouth have delved into Liverpool's extras for a few years now. It is clear that Jurgen Klopp's players play in a way that Eddie Howe likes and wants to bring to AFCB. However, the acquisitions of the last few years have been pretty lukewarm at best. The signings that have been particularly expensive I imagine are those of Brad Smith, Jordan Ibe and Domoinic Solanke. None of these players have been able to pin down a permanent place in the first team and they have all failed to impress. We can't really say that about Harry Wilson, this year's loan signing but if Liverpool are looking at another £20m plus for his services, Bournemouth are unlikely to be following up on the young Welshman, especially if the club is playing in the Championship in 2020-21.


Harry Wilson has been a great credit to himself and Liverpool. He deserves a crack at the big time, be it at Liverpool or another big club, and it has been great to see such a player at AFCB. It would be nice to keep hold of him, but with David Brooks coming back AFCB have no need for Harry, Wilson's contract will be also up at the end of June unless Liverpool kindly offer to let AFC have hime until the completion of the season.

Bournemouth have in all honesty bought too many Liverpool players and the record doesn't show that these players have been a great fit for AFCB. The club has been more successful in recognising talent at lower league level and bringing them through, even if it has taken more time to see some of these players come through. So, if Liverpool think they can count on AFCB to keep paying over the odds for some of their players who are not up to the grade they may have to look elsewhere for buyers this summer.

In other news, another four players test positive for COVID-19.

Previous post on Cherry Chimes - Ramsdale we need to recover quickly to be ready for Project Restart

Wednesday, 27 May 2020

Ramsdale will need to recover quickly to be ready for Project restart

It was a shock to Aron Ramsdale that he tested positive for COVID-19 in the latest round of tests. But he could be back training after seven days of self-isolation without losing too much training time. Ramsdale has been such a key figure this season that it is difficult to see any other keeper take his place in the run-in.
Ramsdale will be keen to get back to training.

While Aaron says he has no visible symptoms and has not been in contact with other people, he has still managed to come into contact with the virus. It is lucky in many respects that he has been tested and that he can get on top of the virus as quickly as he can. Hopefully, he doesn't get ill and can return to training soon with no harm done.

It is another case though where a person shows no physical sign of the illness and yet is carrying it. Even while fewer people are being infected, the risk is still there. The rate will probably start to increase again if the amount of people continue to flock to the beaches in huge numbers and Bournemouth is a potential hot spot for that.
With full physical contact getting the thumbs up from the government and the players to decide on it today, we are likely to see players get much closer to each other and we just have to hope the testing is good enough to catch any players who have the virus. Trust in the system is paramount. If players don't feel safe the whole 'Project Restart' is going to come under threat. The tests that are really going to be important are the next two rounds, when games are going to be almost upon us.


Ramsdale has time to recover but others who test positive in the weeks to come might find that they will miss games.

Previous Post on Cherry Chimes - Bournemouth player tests positive for COVID-19

Monday, 25 May 2020

Bournemouth player tests positive for COVID-19

The fact that an AFCB player has tested positive for COVID-19 tells us that this virus is still all around us and it doesn't respect what you do or who you are. Anyone can catch the coronavirus and I imagine the cleaning around Dean Court has gone into overdrive since the learning of this second batch of tests has picked out a Bournemouth player, who may not even have thought that he was carrying the virus.
One AFCB player picks up COVID-19
While that player will go into self-isolation for seven days, it is good that Hull City are the only other club that I have herd of who also say they had a positive case confirmed in this second round of testing that had 996 tests. It is difficult to know how the authorities feel about what is acceptable for football to go ahead, if a small number of players are still picking up symptoms and having positive tests. While we may be a month away from the action of a match day, perhaps this is acceptable, but once we get into June, who wants to play if there is a sudden spout of cases?


I am sure the Bournemouth player will not want to rush back in any case. Once a player has had this they are going to be tired from fighting it off, and it may mean that player is not going to be available for the restart of the season, having missed at least a week of training. Our main concern has to be that, whoever it is, they recover quickly. Afro-Caribbean and other ethnic groups have been found to be some of the main groups of people who have been hit hardest with the cornavirus, and it is not unnoticeable that football squads these days have a lot of people from these ethnic groups.

There has been some relaxation in the lockdown with certain people being allowed to get back to work, footballers among them. However, the fact that the coronavirus is still being transmitted and can be found among AFCB's football players, should be a warning to everyone that we are not clear of this thing yet and decisions that are made right now are absolutely crucial to get right.

Previous post on Cherry Chimes - Do fans want season ticket refunds?

Sunday, 24 May 2020

Do fans want season ticket refunds?

I was thinking myself about whether I wanted to see AFCB offer a refund on the home games that are left this season or whether they would offer something in exchange for the money paid for games that have yet to be paid. Then I saw BBC had a news story on Saturday on how some fans of lower league club fans were needing to support their clubs by donating the money they had paid for remaining games, just to help keep their clubs afloat.
Money to be refunded?
With AFCB it might be a different situation, but the club is by no means making a profit every season despite being in the Premier League. AFCB are not about to go under but they will no doubt be grateful of any revenue they can hold on to because their out goings have been greater than income for the last few years. I suppose you can blame this on the wages they are offering to players and some of the high transfer fees. It is the environment in which they operate, although perhaps other clubs are able to manage their finances better, especially when they have bigger fanbases.

It will be of interest to see how AFCB approach the question of offering a refund or vouchers perhaps in the club shop or a discount on the 2020-21 games, or anther incentive for them to try and keep the funds that have already been paid. It might well depend on what league AFCB are playing in next season as to what kind of deals they offer, but as we approach June, the clock is already clicking on working out how the club will go about sorting season tickets for the next season, which is still scheduled for an August start as far as we know.
For fans the debate will depend very much on personal circumstances. Some may have been furloughed and would be very glad of having a refund to which they are surely entitled. But for others who can afford to give the club the five games without asking for a refund, it could save the club hundreds of thousand pounds. And at the moment the club is having to spend itself on getting its social distancing right and changing things around the training ground and stadium to prepare for games.


AFCB  fans have always been generous and it may just be that the majority decide that the club needs the money more than themselves this season and we hope that prices don't go up in 2020/21.

Previous post on Cherry Chimes - Where will AFCB pick up enough points to survive?

Saturday, 23 May 2020

Where will AFCB pick up enough points to survive?

Viewing AFC Bournemouth's nine fixtures to go doesn't inspire me with great confidence that they can escape the bottom three. However, what does give me hope if that other teams are within a couple of points of being where AFCB are, and a win can give any team a massive step up towards safety.
Players will want to celebrate if they do stay up, but any celebrations will be muted.
Undoubtedly, now that there will be home games as well as away matches, AFCB's home games might offer the best chance of the team getting more points on the board. The games to come against Crystal Palace and Newcastle United probably give the Cherries their best chance of a reward, while Southampton match will be a big test as the Saints will want revenge for the defeat earlier in the season with the added bonus that they could help send AFCB down. If Bournemouth were to get nine points from those games they would be looking good for safety.


However, the away fixtures look very difficult with the two Manchester clubs as well as Wolves and Everton. Bournemouth also have Leicester City and Spurs at home, but in all these fixtures AFCB would be doing well to get a point in any of them. It will be all about whether AFCB can put pressure on the teams above them - Watford, West Ham and Brighton. If AFCB can't put pressure on one of these teams then they are likely to go down. Aston Villa are far from being down yet as well.
I don't know if the time lag before finishing the table will make things even more difficult. It is going to be very apparent very quickly after the first couple of games that Premier League status is very much in the balance and every game will be like a cup final. It is the immediacy and finality of these nine games which will probably capture fans memories for the next couple of seasons, as I think this season will be defined by these games. There hasn't been a season like it and let's hope we never have to go through this again. But if AFCB are successful and come out of this with their Premier League status in tact, what will the celebrations be like? It will be celebration at home for the fans, but social distancing will be almost impossible for the players when that final whistle goes. 


Friday, 22 May 2020

Players must be allowed to make personal decisions over playing

The fact that six Premier league players and staff proved positive for COVID-19 symptoms last weekend has already put doubts in some players' minds if they want to go back to training. Jamie Redknapp has said on SkySports that more players will quit training like Tory Deeney and N'Golo  Kante. The integrity of any competition is therefore shattered, and it's hard to see the end of the Premier League season being anything more than a fudge solution.
Players decisions should be respected.
The players who decide not to train and play will surely find that they are not paid which will probably lead to more disputes. But if you can't do your job you don't get paid, there are millions of people that have lost their jobs in recent weeks and months over the coronavirus, so Premier League players will get little sympathy there.


I do worry about AFCB as it already has a small squad. Many of the players have young families, including Eddie Howe. We see them every time they have their walk around at the end of the season. The players and staff have hard decisions to make over whether they really feel safe enough to go and train and even more critically go and play games in June.

At the moment it all seems too soon and a high risk. Things may look better in a months time or we could get the start of a second wave of coronavirus. It all feels like an experiment at the moment, but whether there is really a good safety net in place is hard to see. Players are going to have to go with their gut instinct and I only hope that fans will respect the decisions of individual players who will surely have worries about pulling out. Players need more big stars to come out and say if they are unsure about training. It would take pressure off of others who may feel vulnerable, if they come out and say they don't feel comfortable about playing. The mental health staff at clubs really have their work cut out in the next few weeks.

In other news, Jordan Ibe has done himself no favours again having his hair cut and ignoring social distancing rules, and he's off for sure on 1 July, says SkySports.

Previous post on Cherry Chimes - Comebacks are part of what have made AFCB great

Thursday, 21 May 2020

Comebacks are part of what have made AFCB great

Many fans will have watched the Everton 'repicked game last night in the 2015/16 season with Funes Mori and Lukaku giving Everton a 2-0 half-time lead, before Adam Smith and Junior Stanislas hit back in the last 100 minutes of normal time to make it 2-2. It looked all over then when Ross Barkley made it 2-3 in extra-time, but Bournemouth just never let up in that game and Junior Stanislas denied an Everton win with a 90+8 minute equaliser.
More comebacks are what we crave
Those sort of comebacks became second nature to the Cherries in the early Premier League days. What we would give for a few turnarounds in games like that today. But what makes a good comeback? This game was a special one not because it was against a big named team, and it wasn't even a derby. But there was a gritted feeling about the game which transmits through the crowd and that atmosphere generates the magic.

What excited everybody though was the lateness of the goals. It was like a basket ball match - you go down our end, then we go and attack your end. It was like school boy football and Bournemouth have always had that in their armoury if they do get attacked, they would look to hit back straight away. I am not sure if it is an Eddie Howe doctrine or if the players just feed off the crowd. What we can say is that comebacks made you want to go again next week to see whether they could do anything even more unlikely.

That's it. The underdog and doing the impossible. The unthinkable. There was that about AFCB in that first Premier League season and every match was massive because Bournemouth simply hadn't been in the Premier League before. We may sadly have lost some of that magic now. Eddie Howe would have loved to generate that crowd involvement in the remaining games of this season, but we'll have to watch from afar and games like the Everton 3-3 draw just reminded me of how sterile the games will seem as we try and close the 2019-20 season behind closed doors.


Previous post on Cherry Chimes - Liverpool winger would still be a good fit for AFCB

Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Liverpool winger would still be a good fit for AFCB

A Liverpool player has been in call for AFCB's U18s, along with Matt Ritchie during lockdown, and I still thing the Liverpool winger would be an excellent addition to AFCB's squad come the summer.
Plundering Anfield is not unusual for AFCB.
Adam Lallana, 30, was good enough to have a clause in his contract when he signed for Southampton that gave AFCB some funds when he was sent to Liverpool and the fact that he has been in conversation with AFCB, be it with Alan Connell and the U18s, I do think it puts AFCB in a favourable position to pick Adam up this summer, when he end his playing time at Anfield.

Okay, some AFCB fans won't ever like any ex-Southampton players, but we already have Andrew Surman and Artur Boruc in the current squad for starters, and Lallana has been an England international who is still a professional who would be a big signing for a club outside the top six. His contract is up at the end of June, and if Bournemouth did face the drop Lallana should be a valuable addition in the Championship, where quality tends to shine through.
There is a lot of talk about potential exit players from AFCB and David Brooks is among them. Eddie Howe could well be looking for a right and left winger this summer and Lallana would be an experienced player to bring in. Most of Eddie's signings have been to bring the game of the squad down in recent years but some experience is always needed and it is likely that AFCB could lose influential characters like Artur Boruc and Simon Francis in the next window. 

I am sure Lallana still has links with the south coast and playing at AFCB would be advantageous for him. Bournemouth also tend to buy Liverpool players and with the clubs in good contact over Harry Wilson, I am sure some conversations could easily take place about Lallana's availability. My only concern would be how many games would he play in a season, and while he has not been a big servant at Liverpool (15 appearances in 2019-20), Anfield's number 20 would be more favoured to get games at Bournemouth if he could stay fit.

Previous post on Cherry Chimes - Is Eddie ready for his biggest test?

Tuesday, 19 May 2020

Is Eddie ready for his biggest test?

Bournemouth go back to training and it will eventually fall on one man to be either successful of not in Bournemouths fight for survival. Eddie Howe is up against a couple of bosses that have brought teams up in Daniel Farke at Norwich and Dean Smith at Aston Villa as well as a new Premier League manager in Graham Potter and old pros, in Watford's Nigel Pearson and West Ham's David Moyes. Is Eddie Howe good enough to beat three of these men in his planning and game management?

Come on Eddie - can we see you at your very best in the next few weeks?
The question will soon be answered. Eddie Howe has an enormous amount of pressure on him and yet he'll see it as more of a challenge than a nightmare having had the experience of keeping AFCB in the football pyramid in his first management year. The difficulty this time is not that dissimilar as the financial impact will be huge of dropping back to the championship.

What is perhaps of most importance is that Maxim Denim is still prepared to back Howe and hasn't yet fallen out of love with football. If he did then Bournemouth would be in a much more perilous place and perhaps and have forgotten how unstable things used to be in the past, before we had such a wealthy but fairly silent owner.

Bournemouth have lots of things going in their favour going into this relegations scrap. They know what it is like to fight for their lives and in Aaron Ramsdale they have recent experience of a couple of relegation scraps from lower in the football pyramid. As usual there are bigger clubs in this battle, but Eddie Howe likes to challenge himself against the best and if he comes through this test, it will go side by side what he did in his first managerial year for me.

Monday, 18 May 2020

Barcelona youngster could become AFCB summer signing

The race to stay in the Premier League has no doubt become a little hotter between AFCB and Brighton & Hove Albion with both clubs said to be tracking Monchu, a 20-year-old Barcelona B player. Monchu is a midfielder who is the highest scorer this season in the Barcelona B team, and AFCB have been tracking him for the last three year according to FootballEspana.

Harry Wilson could be on his way but AFCB are already looking at new signings.
There was a mention that Monchu could be signed for around EUR2m, but any player who has the talent to be at the Nou Camp is not going to come cheap. Bournemouth already have a hole in their finances from the last few seasons when they have spent heavily. While we could see a big exodus of players this summer, it is good to hear that there are positive moves going on to try and sign young players. Staying in the Premier League is likely to determine whether such signings go ahead, and with Brighton also in the running it is likely to depend on who does best in the next few games.

Attracting new players is not going to be as easy if Bournemouth do drop down a division, but the aim would surely be to try and bounce back straight away. A scoring midfielder is not something that the Cherries have seen too often. While AFCB have Diego Rico in their side, the Spanish market has not been an attractive pool for AFCB to bring players in from, so it would be a bit of a departure to sign Monchu and from one of, if not, the leading club in Europe.
The transfer market is expected to be slow this summer, and perhaps players will be less keen on making moves with all the difficulties of the pandemic to negotiate. But AFCB have to have a eye on players that would do well in either the Championship of the Premier League, as there are quite a few players who don't expect will be playing for AFCB next season.


If AFCB are in talks with Barcelona though, who knows, perhaps the deal could be sealed with a friendly at Dean Court this summer! That would be a great way to celebrate coming out of lockdown if football is up and running in August, even if would be without any crowds.

Previous post on Cherry Chimes - Training has to be inspiring for Cherries