AFC Bournemouth: Administration to pure elation in four-and-a-half years
By Dan Brett (@DanBrett90)
Sitting pretty at the top of the Championship, it could be hard for many to forget the troubles that have laden Bournemouth’s recent history.
The club, forced into administration in February 2008 for debts of around £4million, were left with a 10-point deduction and off-field issues that stemmed well into the following season, where they were allowed to compete in League Two with a 17-point penalty (similarly placed upon Rotherham United).
However, since the 2008-09 season, the Cherries have blossomed and, having guaranteed their Football League status at the end of the campaign, the south coast outfit found their turning point – a takeover by a consortium which would steady a rocky ship at Dean Court.
The group – fronted by chairman Jeff Mostyn but funded by Russian owner Maxim Demin, have gone from strength to strength in the Football League and, under manager Eddie Howe, were promoted to League One in 2010.
Howe left Bournemouth for Burnley in January 2011, closer to home, but returned to the club just 21 months later to secure the club’s promotion to the Championship.
The former defender, who made 271 appearances for the club, continues to add to his 117 matches as manager and, despite just six years of managerial experience after a career-ending knee injury, the 37-year-old finds his side sitting proudly at the top of the Football League.
It’s quite a fairytale for not just the club, but the manager, who will take great comfort from noting the last six sides to lead the Championship at Christmas have all been promoted. A remarkable season thus far for the Cherries, who have notched 50 goals so far this campaign, and punished bottom-placed Blackpool with a 6-1 win in the last match.
Just one point ahead of Ipswich, there’s a long way to go if the club are to win promotion to the Premier League. Bournemouth, who have never been this high up the league pyramid throughout its lifetime, must still navigate their way through 24 league matches before reaching the top flight.
However, the recent 3-1 home defeat to Liverpool in the Capital One Cup quarter final proved the Cherries are ready to mix it with the country’s top sides – making a big impression on the Reds manager, Brendan Rodgers.
Following the match, Rodgers made an effort to tell of his admiration for the club, the on-field mentality of playing good football and heaped praise on Howe. Credit indeed from the former Chelsea reserve manager, who himself had to cut his managerial teeth in the Football League with Watford and Reading.
Goals from all quarters, the Cherries boasted five different scorers during the 6-1 win at Blackpool – adding to high-scoring victories over Huddersfield (0-4), Birmingham (0-8) and Cardiff (5-3) – making 12 different league goal scorers this term.
Great numbers, indeed, but there’s certainly a long way to go, and plenty more chapters in the AFC Bournemouth fairytale that remain unwritten.