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Our Opponents: AFC Bournemouth

Bolton Wanderers travel away to Bournemouth this weekend for the first time in almost 20 years when Bolton came away from Bournemouth with a 2-1 win. There is a whole generation of Bolton Wanderers fans who will know little about Saturday’s opponents as a club so let us have a look at exactly who AFC Bournemouth are.

Right at home, Eddie Howe
Right at home, Eddie Howe
Charlie Crowhurst

Formed late in the 19th Century, AFC Bournemouth were originally formed as Boscombe F.C. Boscombe, a suburb of Bournemouth, competed in the area’s junior league and became a senior club in 1905. The clubs development evolved rapidly as Club President J.E. Cooper-Dean invested heavily into the club and secured a permanent home for the club at Kings Park which, in Dave Whelan-esque fashion, would become known as Dean Court, where the club, in name at least, still play today.

After the First World War, the club continued its evolutionary growth and renamed itself ‘Bournemouth and Boscombe Athletic Football Club’ to represent its stature within the Bournemouth area. The Club became league members in 1923 and remained in the third tier of English football for a considerable amount of time. The club would maintain its competitiveness in English football’s lower leagues for the majority of the 20th Century. A stand out achievement was the 9 goals scored by forward Ted McDougall in a 1971 FA Cup tie against Margate. Shortly after, the club became known as simply AFC Bournemouth in a rebranding in 1972 under the stewardship of manager John Bond and despite not changing the name officially until much later, this remains the name the club are known as today.

AFC Bournemouth has ridden a roller-coaster of fortune since the turn of the 21st Century. The Club appointed well respected manager Sean O’Driscoll in 2000 as he was promoted from the playing staff to take the reins. O’Driscoll would narrowly miss out on the third tier play-offs that season and after relegation to the fourth tier of English football followed immediately by promotion via an emphatic 5-2 play-off final victory over Lincoln City. After a 5 year spell, which included James Hayter scoring the fastest league hat-trick in English Football history at just 2 minutes and 17 seconds, O’Driscoll left the club to take charge at Doncaster Rovers, where he would have plenty of success.

The back end of the decade brought the club's darkest days. As has been the case for many provincial football clubs in the modern era, AFC Bournemouth were thrown into deep financial crisis. A 10 point deduction for falling into administration led to their subsequent relegation to the bottom tier of league football. The issues continued into the following season and The Cherries were given a 17 point deduction for failing to comply with the Football League’s Insolvency Rules.

In spite of the off-field drama, newly installed manager Eddie Howe, the youngest in the Football League at 31, guided Bournemouth to a ‘Great Escape’ with club legend Steven Fletcher scoring the goal that ensured AFC Bournemouth’s status as a league football club. Since then the club have gone from strength-to-strength both on the field and of it. A consortium took over the club in 2009 to ensure its stability and Eddie Howe guided Bournemouth to promotion to League One in the following season. Howe’s achievements had not gone unnoticed and he was approached the following year by our neighbours Burnley. Howe’s replacement was firstly replaced by Lee Bradbury, who after a play off semi-final penalty shoot-out defeat to Huddersfield, failed to kick on and was removed from the position. This resulted in the promotion of Paul Groves from the youth setup. Groves struggled and after a poor start to the 2012-13 season, was sacked. AFC Bournemouth then surprised many in football by bringing Howe back from Burnley. The highly-regarded young manager stepped down a division and returned to Dean Court.

The Cherries ambition was rewarded as Howe managed to guide the club from a relegation battle to automatic promotion. Today, Eddie Howe’s men are 11th in the table and look very comfortable at this level. This is a testament to how far they have come under Howe’s stewardship. However, with only one win in their last five outings, they will be looking to pile the pressure on a failing Bolton Wanderers side.

STATS:

Played: 13 Won: 5 Drawn: 2 Lost: 6

Top Scorer: Lewis Grabban: 7

Assists: Tokelo Rantie 3

Discipline: Simon Francis 17 Fouls 2 Yellow Cards

Shots: Lewis Grabban: 16 (15 On Target)

TRIVIA: Gary Megson’s father Don Megson, managed AFC Bournemouth in 1983