After promotion back to the Championship, for only the second time in their history, Eddie Howe’s AFC Bournemouth side managed a comfortable mid-table finish last season. Peter Bell from the Cherry Chimes blog tells us what to expect from the home side
Bournemouth finished a comfortable 10th last season after promotion from League One, what was the secret?
AFCB didn’t start so well last season, even if the team had some good home wins like those against Charlton and Wigan. The defeats against Watford (6-1) and Huddersfield (5-1) really served the team well in the long run as they were determined not to get embarrassed like that again. So when it came to playing the big teams like Nottingham Forest and Leeds Unitd, the Cherries were keen to prove a point that they deserved to be in the Championship and when they started to get results it snowballed towards the end of the season. The signing of Yann Kermorgant in January was also a big plus as he combined with Lewis Grabban to add a lot of goals to the team.
How significant has owner Maxim Demin been?
I don’t think AFCB would be in the Championship without the financial support of Maxim Demin or at least it would have taken the club longer to get there. Having the money to go and pick up players like Matt Ritchie, Yann Kermorgant and Callum Wilson is something that the club has not been used to and it has made a massive difference on the pitch, while in the background money has also been used to have two training pitches right next to Dean Court and all the playing surfaces are up to Premier League standard. You won’t see or hear from Maxim that often as he wants to stay in the background but the fans truly appreciate what he has done for the club and his partnership with Eddie Howe has been one of the strong elements behind the team’s success.
What’s the fans’ general opinion of Eddie Howe?
‘King Eddie’ as he is known will always be the man that saved the club from non-league football in the first instance, but since then he has won two promotions with the club and has even left and come back when everyone told him never to go back. I don’t know of another English manager who has been more successful than him in the last five years and he is clearly a perfect fit for AFCB. With him as manager we feel we can beat any one. He loves the club, the fans and the area and we believe he will go on to be England manager. What he has achieved at 36 is already incredible and his greatest years probably still ahead of him.
What are your expectations for the season?
While I don’t want to put any pressure on the team, and have said that I would not be disappointed if we finished a place worse than last season in 11th, I know that Eddie and most of the fans and players believe the squad is now capable of challenging for a top six place. If the team gets promotion it will be one of the stories of the decade considering where the club was just five years ago. I’ll settle for a cup run though and a good run in the Championship. As a fan who has seen so much lower league football it is just enjoyable to be in the Championship now.
Who are the players to watch out for?
You’re bound to know about Callum Wilson, our new £3m striker from Coventry. He has taken to life in the Championship straight away and looks every bit as good as any striker I have seen in the division. The home favourite though is Yann Kermorgant and you will hear his name sung a lot. We have goals though all over the team now and those most likely to get a goal from nowhere would include Matt Ritchie on the right-wing, who is looking keen to make his mark this year. We also have a strong bench with Junior Stanislas having signed in the summer.
What do you think will happen on Tuesday?
It’s difficult to call as all the games in the Championship can go either way. While Forest know all about Bournemouth it will be the team that takes their chances that will prevail. Night games are very special at Dean Court and the Cherries don’t lose often in such games so I’m going for a 2-1 home win, but I don’t expect an easy game.