From gravel pit grassroots to Premiership pursuits
AFC (Athletic Football Club) Bournemouth is a seaside town football team chasing national glory in the top tier of the English Premier League. From its formative days playing on the site of a disused gravel pit to the glorious 2014/15 season that saw AFCB join the Premiership for the first time, the club has a proud and loyal following and a rags-to-riches history.
The club started its days in 1890 as Boscombe St. John’s Institute FC, a youth team playing moderate county football from a small ground in Pokesdown. It was re-established in 1899 as Boscombe F.C and soon found its eventual home at Dean Court, in King’s Park.
The club changed its name again in 1923 to Bournemouth and Boscombe Athletic F.C and began its quest for glory as a senior club in the third-tier English league. In fact, the club was so established at this level that it still holds the record for the longest continuous membership of the division almost a century later.
It settled on AFC Bournemouth in 1972 and this era saw the team make a persistent quest for the top. While 1972 to 1987 saw the club rocket from Division Four to play Division Two football for the very first time, it was beset with financial troubles and almost went into liquidation.
Saddled with huge point penalties resulting from its financial crisis, The Cherries would have been forgiven for getting their heads down and getting on with the job. But instead they continued their tireless quest for silverware – slaying giants, swapping managers and sampling the talents of some of the country’s most accomplished football stars along the way. Some seasons saw glory, others saw crippling debt leave them with the bare bones of a squad. But as Bournemouth revels in its first taste of English Premiership football in 2015-16, you can’t say they haven’t earnt it.
For a small seaside club, AFC Bournemouth has an admirable track record in its quest for silverware. In its 100-year history it has won the second and third tiers of English football and has twice been champion of the fourth tier. Bournemouth has also won the Southern League, the Football League Trophy and the Football League Third Division South Cup. The 2015-16 season marks AFC Bournemouth’s first ever spell in England’s top football division – the Premier League.
The story of a stadium
Bournemouth’s stadium in King’s Park has had many names over recent years reflecting a run of commercial sponsorships. But to most, the ground will forever be Dean Court.
Boscombe FC was gifted the land in 1910 by the town’s prominent Cooper-Dean family, after whom the ground was named. It slowly became fit for purpose during the course of the 1910-11 season, during which it wasn’t unusual for the team to play in King’s Park with makeshift changing rooms at the Portman Hotel. The first ground had a stand for 300 spectators – a far cry from its record attendance of 28,799 in 1957 at an FA Cup tie against Manchester United.
The ground saw its next significant modernisation in 1923, when Bournemouth & Boscombe Athletic were in Division Three (South) of the Football League. This season saw the team command crowds of up to 7,000 and the construction of a permanent 3,700-seat stand. A covered terrace for the southern end of the ground followed in 1936.
In 1957 a roof was added to the western stand and more land was purchased behind the northern end with plans to enlarge the stand and build a leisure centre. The construction stalled and the project was eventually scrapped in 1984 when it ran out of money.
2001 saw the ground completely rebuilt, with the pitch rotated 90 degrees and moved away from nearby housing. Dean Court opened for the 2001-02 season as the Fitness First Stadium – initially a three-sided stadium with a capacity of 9,600. Seats were added to the undeveloped South End at the start of the 2005 season in readiness for AFC Bournemouth’s first season in the Premiership.
By 2011 a temporary south stand was built in the now Seward (Motor Group) Stadium and swiftly removed after attendances fell. Seward went into administration the following year and the ground became the Goldsands Stadium. Ahead of the 2013-14 season when the club played in the Championship, a permanent 2,400 seat stand was finally built in the undeveloped end of the ground and named after legendary striker Ted MacDougall. This joined the Steven Fletcher Stand (North), The Energy Consulting Stand (East) and the Main Stand (West) and took the stadium’s capacity to its present-day 12,000.
Now the Vitality Stadium under a three-year sponsorship deal, AFC Bournemouth’s is the smallest in the Premier League. But with a promising start to Premiership football in 2015/16 the club is still exploring other ways to expand capacity. There are rumblings about possibly moving to nearby Matchams but with such a rich heritage at the present site it’s likely they will look into every option to keep making history at Dean Court.
2015-2016 squad and management
The impressive 2015-16 squad had the privilege of taking AFC Bournemouth into its first ever Premiership season.
Goalkeepers: (1) Artur Boruc, (21) Ryan Allsop and (23) Adam Federici
Defence: (2) Simon Francis, (3) Steve Cook, (5) Tommy Elphick – Captain, (11) Charlie Daniels, (14) Tyrone Mings, (15) Adam Smith, (22) Elliott Ward, (25) Sylvain Distin, (38) Baily Cargill, (39) Jake McCarthy
Midfield: (4) Dan Gosling, (6) Andrew Surman, (7) Marc Pugh, (8) Harry Arter, (16) Shaun MacDonald, (19) Junior Stanislas, (20) Christian Atsu, (24) Lee Tomlin, (30) Matt Ritchie, (32) Eunan O’Kane
Strikers: (9) Tokelo Rantie, (10) Max Gradel, (13) Callum Wilson, (17) Joshua King, (18) Yann Kermorgant
Tickets, prices and merchandise
With AFC Bournemouth’s recent form, matchday tickets are hot property. Tickets can be purchased via the AFC Bournemouth website, over the phone (0844 576 1910) and in person at the club store or the Bournemouth International Centre or Pavilion Theatre box offices.
Adult – £32.00
Concession – £19.00
Junior Cherry – £7.00
Adult – £33.00 – £38.00
Concession – £19.00 – £30.00
Junior Cherry – £7.00 – £12.00
Adult – £37.00 – £45.00
Concession – £30.00 – £34.00
Junior Cherry – £7.00 – £12.00
Adult – £32.00
Junior Cherry – £7.00
AFC Bournemouth’s arrival in the Premiership saw a rapid increase in the number of people wanting to support their home team at the games. In order to make it fair for supporters to access tickets, the club has introduced a ‘Priority Points’ system for home, away and cup matches. Supporters are rewarded with one point for each match they attend. If they went to any games last season, the points they collect in 2015-16 are added to last year’s total. A home point will only contribute towards a home league match, an away for an away league match only and a cup for a cup draw. Your points are added at the end of the corresponding game – even if you’ve purchased a number of match tickets in advance. You can check your home, away and cup points totals in your online account at tickets.afcbdirect.co.uk. Points are only issued for tickets bought via AFC Bournemouth’s official outlets. The points’ criteria differs for each match depending on the allocation available and the number of supporters eligible based on attendance records. Supporters do not need to ‘save up’ their points for the big games. They only accumulate as matches are attended during the season. Points accrued this season are valid until May 2017.
The Club Store at the Vitality Stadium
AFC Bournemouth’s Club Store is open seven days a week. If you’re in the area and want to look at the team’s impressive collection of silverware or browse the racks of memorabilia, head on down to Dean Court.
Normal opening hours are:
Monday to Friday – 9am – 5pm
Saturday (non-matchday) – 9.30am – 4pm
Saturday (matchday) – 9am – 3pm and 20 minutes after the final whistle
Sunday – 10am to 3pm
AFC Bournemouth’s club shop is now online and open around the clock. Take a browse around at afcbdirect.co.uk and take your pick of Cherries merchandise at your leisure
Our pick of the Cherries
Fans of AFC Bournemouth have countless stories of their favourite ever matches (and scorelines). Here are some of our favourites:
2011 playoff penalties
In the fight for promotion into Division Two in the 2010-11 season The Cherries had two epic encounters with playoff rivals Huddersfield Town. The second leg of the tie finished 3-3, then 4-4 after extra time, with Bournemouth eventually bowing out 4-2 on penalties.
The Cherries’ longest-serving player James Hayter scored the fastest ever hat-trick in English Football League history in 2003-04. AFCB was leading 3-0 against Wrexham when Hayter was brought on as a substitute in the 86th minute. He immediately got to work and scored three goals in the next 2 minutes 17 seconds – making the final score 6-0.
0-8 at St Andrew’s
Bournemouth scored its biggest ever winning margin in a league fixture against Birmingham City in October 2014. This was the first time the team had ever scored this many goals in a league game – barring a 10-0 victory over Northampton Town in September 1939, the day before World War II broke out, which wiped this result from the record books.
Bournemouth and Boscombe FC had a blinding FA Cup campaign in 1956-57, beating Wolverhampton Wanderers (third in the top flight) and Tottenham Hotspurs (second in Division One) before hosting mighty Manchester United at Dean Court. Although they lost 2-1 to the Division One giants, the match attracted Bournemouth’s biggest crowd in history and bagged them the FA ‘Giant Killer’s Cup’ consolation prize.
Bournemouth slays the Giant
Bournemouth waited until 1984 to get its own back on Manchester United, beating the defending FA Cup holders 2-0. The club at the time was firmly entrenched at the bottom of the Division Three but the fixture was surprisingly well matched. A Sulley corner to Milton Graham in the 60th minute found the back of the net and two minutes later Thompson whacked in a second goal to seal the deal.
20th November 1971 was the defining date in the career of an AFC Bournemouth legend. Ted MacDougall, or ‘SuperMac’, scored nine goals against Margate in an 11-0 FA Cup first round win – a record that still stands as the most goals by a single player in a cup tie. MacDougall became an overnight celebrity and was soon snapped up by Manchester United.
Record transfers and signing stars
Along with the big games, transfer deadline day has always been big news at AFC Bournemouth – whether taking on a rising star or losing one of our talents to a league giant. Here is a handful of Bournemouth players who also played for the national side.
Winger Darren Anderton started his professional career at Portsmouth in 1990. While he was at Spurs between 1992 and 2004 he was capped by the national squad 30 times. He was signed to Bournemouth between 2006 and 2008 on a pay-as-you-play basis, becoming club captain at the start of 07-08. He retired in December 2008, seeing out his career with AFCB.
Midfielder Redknapp joined AFC Bournemouth from Tottenham youth in 1989 and played until 1991 when he was snapped up by Liverpool. After leaving Bournemouth he played eighteen times for England U21s (1993-94), England B in 1994 and made seventeen appearances for the national squad from 1995 to 1999.
The Northern Irish Manchester United and England superstar had a spell of games for AFC Bournemouth in 1982-83 after being signed by Don Megson at the age of 37. He turned out for the team on five occasions and finished his career here.
Sunderland striker Defoe joined AFCB on loan from West Ham and made 29 appearances between 2000 and 2001. In his season here he scored a record goal in 10 consecutive games, scoring 18 times for the Cherries in total. Defoe represented England at U16, U18, U21 and senior level (2004 – present), scoring 19 goals in 55 appearances for the senior team with three games and a goal at the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
Local midfield / winger Adam Lallana’s first spell at Bournemouth came at the turn of the century when he played for the youth team for a season. While signed for Southampton’s senior team in 2007 he played three games for AFCB on loan, catching the eye of the England U21 selectors. Lallana has played 20 games for the country at senior level and is signed to Liverpool FC.
Football is a sociable sport. From matchday banter with fans on the stands to familiar faces in the local pub, and long-standing friendships forged from being together in the Junior Cherries, AFC Bournemouth fans love to share their opinions and ideas about their beloved club. Many dedicated fan sites like Vital Bournemouth (www.bournemouth.vitalfootball.co.uk) and Soccerway (http://uk.soccerway.com/teams/england/afc-bournemouth) have been going for years – way before the days of social media. But the dawn of Facebook, Twitter etc has seen the conversation ramp up, with opportunities for sharing videos, pictures, links and viewpoints as it happens. You can discuss that blinding Callum Wilson strike seconds after it is made, keep tabs on rival clubs and share crucial scorelines as they come in. Join the debate at https://www.facebook.com/afcbournemouth/?fref=ts (official Facebook page) and https://twitter.com/afcbournemouth (verified Twitter page).
Where to watch
If you haven’t got a matchday ticket for Dean Court or you couldn’t make an away trip, there are plenty of pubs and places that screen the Bournemouth games. To soak up the ambience of the Vitality Stadium without stepping inside, pull up a pew at the Queen’s Park pub, the closest to the stadium. Or watch the game at the Portman Hotel, the pub our beloved Boscombe FC used as a changing room while the first ground and facilities were under construction at Dean Court. For the best taste of the live match atmosphere, home supporters with a matchday or season ticket can sup a beer in the Vitality Stadium’s 1910 bar.
History of the club – a timeline
1890 – Boscombe St John’s Institute football club is founded
1899 – Boscombe St John’s Institute disbands and Boscombe FC is subsequently formed. The team is based at a ground in Castlemain Avenue, Pokesdown and competes in the Bournemouth and District Junior and the Hants Junior Leagues
1902 – Boscombe FC moves to its current home at King Park and soon emerges as the top team in the town. They join the Hampshire League
1905-06 – Boscombe FC graduates to senior amateur football
1910 – Mr J.E. Cooper-Dean from a prosperous local family grants the club a long lease on some wasteland next to King’s Park. Dean Court, named after the family, takes shape. The team is nicknamed The Cherries – most likely after the Cooper-Dean’s neighbouring cherry orchards – and adopts a cherry red striped shirt. The club signs its first professional player, B. Penton, for a £10 fee from Southampton and joins the South Eastern League – finishing bottom of the table.
1914 – World War 1 breaks out and the club disbands
1919 – The club reforms and rejoins the Hampshire League
1920 – Boscombe FC joins the highly competitive Southern League as many of its teams have left to form the Football League Third Division
1923 – The club is elected to the Football League and joins the Third Division (South). It changes its name to Bournemouth and Boscombe Athletic Football Club to better represent the district. It plays its first ever league match away to Swindon (losing 3-1). The club’s first ever home game is also against Swindon and they get their first ever league point in a 0-0 draw.
1939 – Third Division (South) is put on hold during World War 2
1945-46 – Bournemouth and Boscombe Athletic wins the Third Division (South) Cup and its first piece of silverware, beating Walsall 1-0 at Stamford Bridge
1956-57 – The club has a fantastic run in the FA Cup. In the opening stages they beat Burton Albion, Swindon and Accrington Stanley. Then beat Wolves (third in the top flight) 1-0 away, Spurs (second in Division 1) 3-1 at home and finally bow out to Manchester United, (the top side in the country) 2-1 at Dean Court, attracting the ground’s biggest ever crowd and capturing the nation’s hearts
1970 – The club slips down to Division Four but relegation gives new manager John Bond a chance to rally an efficient squad and promptly win promotion for the first time. Super striker Ted ‘SuperMac’ MacDougall scores 49 goals in the 70-71 FA Cup campaign including nine in a first round thrashing of Margate 11-0
1971 – The club becomes AFC Bournemouth. Ted MacDougall leaves for Manchester United and John Bond for Norwich, taking many players with him. The 20,000+ crowds start depleting and the club struggles financially and on the pitch
1972 – The club adopts a new badge. The stripes in the background are based on the club shirt and the profile of a player heading the ball honours Dickie Dowsett, a prolific scorer for AFCB in the 1950s and 60s.
1975 – AFC Bournemouth is relegated to Division 4 in a season which sees crowds of rarely over 3,000. The arrival of manager Alec Stock and David Webb brings new prospects and the team is promoted in 1982
1982-83 – Webb appoints former AFCB midfielder Harry Redknapp as assistant coach. He applies for the main job part way through the season when Webb leaves, but Don Megson is appointed
1983-84 – Megson is sacked when Bournemouth finds itself in Division Three’s relegation zone at the end of the year. Harry Redknapp is hired as his replacement
1984 – Second from bottom Bournemouth beats Manchester United in the 3rd round of the FA Cup and avoid relegation
1986-87 – The club wins the Division Three Championship with a 97 point season record
1987 – Bournemouth plays in Division Two for the first time in history
1988 – AFCB makes a serious play for promotion to the top flight but loses form as the season goes on and eventually finishes twelfth – its highest ever Football League position
1989-90 – AFCB is relegated on the final day of the season in a match against Leeds at Dean Court where Leeds are promoted as Division Two champions. After the game rival fans clash, causing more than £1 million damage and injury to fans and police officers. As a result local police stop the club staging home games on bank holidays for more than a decade.
1991-92 Redknapp stays on for two more seasons and they finish three points short of the playoffs each time. He leaves blaming financial pressures and joins West Ham United as coach. Redknapp is replaced by Tony Pulis who builds a much cheaper squad but only manages two consecutive 17th place finishes.
1994 Tony Pulis leaves the club also blaming financial pressures and AFC Bournemouth starts the 1994-95 season with no manager, little money to spend and a bare-bones squad. The team loses its first seven games and has just nine points by Christmas. Former Bournemouth midfielder Mel Machin is appointed manager, makes some great signings and with some inspirational leadership helps the side to the season’s ‘great escape’ with a late run of form. Bournemouth swerves relegation by just two points.
1997 The club’s financial worries come to a head and the receivers are called in. A trust fund is set up and supporters rally round to save the club, which is just 15 minutes from closing. With no benefactor to step in, the Trust Committee’s Trevor Watkins (now chairman) announces the trust fund’s bid to take the club over. This makes Bournemouth Europe’s first ever community club
1998 The club has an incredible 1997-98 season, just missing the play-offs and playing at Wembley in the Auto Windscreens Shield final in front of 34,000 travelling supporters.
1998-99 The young and talented squad looks certain to make the playoffs, but with a decent 76 points can only finish the season in seventh.
1999-00 Mel Machin is removed from his position after 6 years and given the role of director of football. Sean O’Driscoll takes over as first team manager and leads them from the bottom of the table to just shy of the Division Two playoffs – not bad considering he didn’t have any money to buy players
2001 The team makes a temporary move out of Dean Court to county town Dorchester’s Avenue Stadium while a new stadium is built, turning the pitch 90 degrees. They return to Dean Court’s new Fitness First Stadium as the youngest Cherries side in history but struggle to keep form and are relegated to the Third Division on the final day of the season
2002-03 O’Driscoll leads the Cherries back up to Division Two after becoming the first club to score five goals at the Millennium Stadium, beating Lincoln City 5-2 in the Division Three playoffs.
2003-04 O’Driscoll’s team narrowly misses the playoffs
2004-05 Again the team just misses the playoffs
2005-06 AFCB narrowly avoids relegation after a poor season
2006-07 Sean O’Driscoll leaves the Cherries after twenty-two years for Doncaster Rovers and Kevin Bond takes charge, steering the club to Division One survival
2007-08 AFC Bournemouth is forced into administration, starting the season with a ten point deduction and debts of around £4 million. Despite this setback the club fights back bravely, almost preserving its League One status but is relegated. Without the points deduction Bournemouth would have finished in fifteenth place.
2008-09 The club comes out of administration at the start of the season but incurs a seventeen-point deduction for failing to observe the FA’s insolvency rules. Kevin Bond is sacked after four games, replaced by Jimmy Quinn, with Jason Tindall as his assistant. Quinn is replaced twenty games in by Eddie Howe, who at 31 becomes the youngest manager in the Football League. The return of Steve Fletcher as one of Howe’s first signings marks a change in fortunes and they survive the season in League Two
2009-10 Dorchester Town’s Eddie Mitchell comes in as the new club chairman determined to reduce the steep debts as part of a consortium take-over. Eddie Howe has a squad of just nineteen players, but despite this Bournemouth has its best ever start to a season, keeps its form and is promoted to League One in second place
2011 Howe and Tindall leave for Burnley in January and Lee Bradbury takes the helm with Steve Fletcher. The club enters the League One playoffs for the first time after finishing 6th. Two epic encounters with Huddersfield make it 4-4 on aggregate before the Cherries lose out 4-2 on penalties.
2011-2012 With the majority of the squad snapped up by bigger clubs, Bradbury is unable to lead Bournemouth to another promotion challenge and leaves with seven games to go. He is replaced by youth team coach Paul Groves for the final games of the season.
2012-13 Groves is sacked for failing to lift the club from the bottom of the table, making way for the return of Eddie Howe. Not only does Howe pull Bournemouth out of the relegation zone but they are promoted to the Championship. The club reveals a new crest and finishes its first season in 10th place – its highest ever in the Football League.
2014-15 AFC Bournemouth spends most of the season at the top of the Championship and a 0-3 win at Charlton Athletic sees it clinch the title and bag its first ever promotion to the top flight of English football
2015-16 AFC Bournemouth is enjoying its first season in the Premiership and competing admirably. Notable scorelines so far include an early 3-4 win at West Ham, a 0-1 victory at Chelsea, 2-1 defeat of Manchester United at home and a 1-3 victory against Newcastle. We have also beaten local rivals Southampton FC 2-0 at Dean Court
Managers through the ages
Eddie Howe – October 2012 to present
Paul Groves – March to October 2012
Lee Bradbury – January 2011 to March 2012
Eddie Howe – January 2009 to January 2011
Jimmy Quinn – September 2008 to January 2009
Kevin Bond – October 2006 to September 2008
Stuart Murdoch – September to October 2006
Joe Roach – September to October 2006
Sean O’Driscoll – August 2000 to September 2006
Mel Machin – September 1994 to August 2000
John Williams – August to September 2004
Tony Pulis – June 1992 to August 1994
Harry Redknapp – October 1983 to June 1992
Don Megson – March to October 1983
David Webb – December 1980 to February 1982
Alec Stock – January 1979 to December 1980
John Benson – January 1975 to January 1978
Tony Nelson – January 1975
Trevor Hartley – November 1974 to January 1978
John Bond – May 1970 to November 1973
Fred Cox – April 1965 to April 1970
Reg Flewin – September 1963 to April 1965
Bill McGarry March 1961 to July 1963
Don Welsh – July 1958 to February 1961
Fred Cox – April 1956 – July 1958
Jack Bruton – March 1950 to March 1956
Harry Lowe – August 1947 to February 1950
Harry Kinghorn – August 1939 to May 1947
Charlie Bell – February 1936 to May 1939
Bill Crompton – June 1935 to February 1936
Billy Birrell – August 1930 to April 1935
Frank Richards – July 1928 to May 1930
Leslie Knighton – July 1925 to July 1928
Harry Kinghorn – August 1923 to May 1925
Vincent Kitcher – August 1914 to May 1923