PREVIEW: Bradford (Home)

Posted in Bournemouth Blog with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 2, 2010 by hoare89

By Joshua Hoare

The Cherries head into a busy easter weekend of football where they will firstly host Former England manager Peter Taylor’s Bradford City tomorrow, before a daunting trip to runaway divison leaders Rochdale on Monday 5th April.

The division is as close as it has been all season, with just seven points separating second place and seventh. Eddie Howe’s men know any slips ups from now until the end of the season could see them miss out on automatic promotion and unthinkably even a play off place.

Captain Jason Pearce could make a return in defence for Saturday’s game, with Ryan Garry also close to match fitness after a lengthy spell on the sidelines. As I mentioned before in my previous blogs, it is Squeeky-bum time at the top and bottom of the table. Rochdale have pretty much sewn up the league title, their strikeforce of Chris Dagnall and Chris O’Grady has produced thirty-seven goals this season, and who said great strikeforce partnerships were finished in football? It is fair to say the top four premiership sides all prefer a 4-3-3 formation with one main striker al la Rooney, Drogba, Van Persie and Torres.

A nice gesture was made to Steve Fletcher in the week, when the Cherries announced they are to rename the North Stand after him. I wrote about the legend last week in this blog, and I am very pleased to see our all time record appearance holder rewarded for his loyalty and love for the club. So well done Bournemouth and of course Steve Fletcher. It just goes to show nice guys do sometimes finish first, wouldn’t it be nice for Fletch and the young side to end the season with promotion?

Saturday’s game kicks off at 3pm, Jeff Goulding is still suspended following his red card at Grimsby, he will sit out the second of his three game ban.

Let’s hope for three points and a point away on Monday would do very nicely 🙂

Positive week ends on a high

Posted in Bournemouth Blog with tags , , , , , , on March 29, 2010 by hoare89

by Joshua Hoare

WELL what a difference a week makes in football, after a laughable 3-2 defeat to Grimsby last weekend, The Cherries’ got their promotion hopes back on track on Saturday with a 2-0 home win over Accrington Stanley. But, news earlier in the week that a £370,000 unpaid tax bill had been covered meant Bournemouth had managed to live another day.

What a terrific job Eddie Mitchell (Chairman) has done since he took over the club, in difficult circumstances he has ensured the Cherries can maintain their promotion push, without the threat of going into administration, not that the football league wont find any other excuse to dock us points!

Who would want to own a football club in the current economic climate? With such poor attendances in the lower leagues, only a decent cup run can ever recover a small percentage of the cash that owner’s plough into the ninety-two professional football clubs across England.

If anything thursday’s financial security has now opened the door for Eddie Howe to pick up a few loan signings, as a transfer embargo has now been lifted from our ‘friends’ at the football league. But one area he won’t need to look to bolster is upfront, where Brett Pittman grabbed his 21st goal of the season on Saturday. His goals this season have been priceless, and its little surprise a number of Championship clubs have been looking at him.

Brett Pittman: On fire with 21 goals this season

Brett Pittman is another fine example of the Cherries excellent youth setup. I don’t think he will leave in the summer, partly because I believe his love for the club will keep him south, however Sam Vokes was in a similar situation to Pittman, and he’s now strutting his skills with the very best in the Premiership at Wolves, so never say never.

It’s fair to say that at least confidence and momentum is now firmly back, but with a testing easter holiday weekend in store, which will see us at home to Bradford next Saturday 3/4 and than away to league leaders Rochdale on the Monday two days later, Eddie Howe will soon find out whether his paper thin squad can last the distance.

Eight games to go? Where has the season gone? League One football feels so close yet so far….Come on Eddie and the lads, we’ve suffered enough, its time to put the Cherries back in the third tier of English football, where we have always belonged.

Keep reading this week for another ALL TIME CHERRIES ‘LEGEND’ FEATURING TED MACDOUGALL (right)

Have a bearable week 😉

All Time Legend Feature #4: Steve Fletcher

Posted in Bournemouth Blog with tags , , , , , , , on March 25, 2010 by hoare89

Promotion hero: Fletch celebrates after volleying the Cherries in front against Lincoln City

By Joshua Hoare

IF you asked any Cherries fan who their all time legend would be, few could argue with those who nominate Steve Fletcher.

The Hartlepool-born forward has played a record five hundred and forty-six times, amassing ninety-six goals, he is the club’s record appearance holder. A cult figure for the Cherries, Steve Fletcher scored a decisive goal (left) in the 2003 Play-off final win over Lincoln City, which ensured the Cherries promotion to the Second Division.

Now, 37, Fletcher is in his second spell at the club and has helped his close friend and now boss Eddie Howe into the top six of League Two 2009/10.

The Big man is regarded a legend amongst the Dean Court faithful largely due to his ‘never say die’ attitude, his bullishness and a playing style that has help support fellow cherry legends to plenty of goals, such Warren Feeney, James Hayter and of course Jermaine Defoe, who I wrote about last week – https://hoare89.wordpress.com/2010/03/05/all-time-legend-feature-2-jermaine-defoe/

His goals record might not be as great as you would expect for a striker, however Fletcher’s style is very similar to Emile Heskey I would say, Ok not prolific, but arguably very effective and difficult to play against.

The best compliment anyone could pay to Big Fletch his desire and love for the club, has never been in question. His relationship with the fans is tremendous, and when you ask your players to stand up and be counted, He is always there.

A lot has been written about Fletch’s influence in the dressing room too, he is another like I Rio, as mentioned in this blog, a bit of a joker and its little surprise that he was the first number Eddie Howe called when appointed First Team boss to come back to Dean Court.

Cherries Legend Rating: 8/10

Relive that famous day at The Millennium Stadium, Bournemouth 5-2 Lincoln City and of course STEVE FLETCHER’s GOAL

Tale of ‘two’ little too late

Posted in Bournemouth Blog with tags , , , , on March 21, 2010 by hoare89

Mixed week: Jeff Goulding has been in the thick of things for the Cherries

Its been a tale of two for the Cherries this week, with dramatic late goals either side, providing joy and despair. Monday night saw Jeff Goulding snatch an added on time equaliser at Meadow Lane, while former Leicester City reject Ashley Chambers gave the Cherries a taste of their own medicine with his winner for Grimsby on Saturday.

Jeff Goulding on the other hand went from hero to zero; from his late goal at Notts County to a red card yesterday. Eddie Howe must now question how serious this side is about promotion. If you asked any Bournemouth fan at the start of the season where we would finish? Few would have tipped us to be up amongst the leading pack, so of course expectation has risen and now with just nine games to go, concentration at the end of our games will be decisive to who goes up.

Of the one thousand one hundred and fifty four (1154) scored in League Two this season, a staggering 23% yes thats 260 goals to those who know their maths!; have been scored in the last quarter of games (76mins – 90mins).

This stat highlights how concentration late on in games can determine one’s season. Bournemouth have taken great advantage of other sides lack of focus, scoring thirteen times in this period whilst conceding just four before Chamber’s first goal of the season put a dent to our promotion hopes at Blundell Park.

Eddie Howe will try and windowdress Saturday’s defeat, but in all honesty, teams such as Grimsby at the foot of the table should be beaten. Yesterday was just their second win in twenty-eight games!

So its Accrington Stanley next at home on Saturday 27th March…….and in a week which has seen Bournemouth reap the benefits of added on time as well as become victims of it, few could argue Squeeky-bum time is in full force from now on in.

Keep reading for more Reviews, Previews and thoughts on The Cherries til the end of the season 🙂

Have a good day!

PREVIEW:Notts County (Away) 15/03

Posted in Bournemouth Blog with tags , , , , on March 14, 2010 by hoare89

By Joshua Hoare

A Former Cherries favourite will be looking to get one over his former side, when Bournemouth travel to Meadow lane tomorrow evening. The current Notts County boss Steve Cotterill made over forty-five appearances, scoring fifth teen goals during a three year stint at Dean Court (1993-1996) and has taken his resurgent County side to fourth in the table, just three points behind the Cherries.

Former Cherry: Notts County boss Steve Cotterill scored 15 goals for Bournemouth

All eyes will be on the televised match tomorrow evening as two former teammates battle it out for the automatic promotion spots. Both sides will be happy with how Saturday’s results in League Two went as both Bury (2nd) and Chesterfield (5th) lost respectively.

However Cherries boss Eddie Howe, who played with Cotterill during the 90s says the team must concentrate on their own performances: ‘It didn’t matter what the results were like yesterday, as Monday’s game was always going to be huge. For me, I don’t look too much at the table or how other teams fared; I would rather just concentrate on ourselves.’

The Cherries’ form has been rather erratic in recent weeks, with the side picking up just nine points from a possible eighteen, but the extended nine day break since the home win against Morecambe has given the side a chance to get players fit again. Howe admitted the team have enjoyed the time off after a gruelling fixture list, which saw his side play eight games in twenty one days. “We’ve had a good week, with extra time for certain players to get over a few knocks. There are a lot of lads who have played most minutes of most games, so there are some weary bodies, but the rest has come very handy indeed.”

It will certainly be an intriguing encounter between two former pals, and the game could pave the way for one side to take a stranglehold on the one of the three automatic places.

Tomorrow evening’s match kicks off at 7.45pm and is live on Sky Sports 1

Harry Redknapp Tribute: 1972-1992

Posted in Bournemouth Blog with tags , , , , , , , on March 12, 2010 by hoare89

By Joshua Hoare

Bad hair day: Harry rejoins the Cherries in 1982

The south coast is where Harry Redknapp would regard his home. His swanky five bedroom apartment over-looking sandbanks beach in Bournemouth,  offers ‘Arry the tranquillity to unwind and the escapism from the stresses of everyday football management.

It is no surprise that three of the five clubs, he has managed are located in the region. From disappointment of relegation with Southampton in 2004, to winning the FA Cup with Portsmouth in 2008, it is the ‘Redknapp revolution’ that has left many tipping him to become the next England manager after Fabio Capello. But it was at my club AFC Bournemouth, where Harry Redknapp firstly played (1972-76) and then managed (1983-1992) made his name. In a career spanning over 46 years and 1472 games; I would like to pay tribute with this piece, to one of the finest English managers this country as ever produced.

Home sweet home: Harry's house on sandbanks beach

As player Harry’s love for the cherries saw him spend two stints at the club. He managed over 114 games for the cherries in four seasons at Dean Court; but his first spell was largely plagued with injury, with the midfielder breaking his leg in his final season. However, there were plenty of memorable moments, with Redknapp managing to bag 6 goals for the south coast outfit. He later would play for Brentford and Seattle Sounders (USA) before returning in 1982-83 season.

Player to Manager: Harry takes over the reins at his beloved Bournemouth

Management has propelled Harry Redknapp’s reputation. In his first season at the helm, Harry guided the Cherries to a shock FA Cup win over holders Manchester United in the third round. It was an unforgettable victory, further symbolizing the FA Cup’s renowned ‘giant-killing’ tradition.

On 7 January 1984 Harry Redknapp’s Bournemouth side, many of whom were free transfers or plucked from lower divisions. Nobody gave them a chance against then United boss Ron Atkinson.

Cup Kings: Bournemouth 2-0 Manchester United

But Milton Graham and Ian Thompson failed to read the script as the pair stole the headlines with goals either side of half time. The late BBC Radio reporter Peter Jones, overwhelmed by the eruption of crowd noise, simply commented: “Bournemouth are going mad here.” The occasion certainly propelled Harry Redknapp’s managing reputation.

The 1986–87 season was probably Harry’s finest, when his thinly assembled squad won the Third Division title amassing a club record 97 points as they held off the challenge of Middlesbrough. Despite only managing to survive a couple of seasons in the second tier of English football, Harry had won over the hearts of the Dean Court faithful.

Automatic Anton: Cherries on course for promotion after win

Posted in Bournemouth Blog with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 8, 2010 by hoare89

Matchwinner: Anton Robinson nets the only goal

By Joshua Hoare

Anton Robinson marked his 50th football league appearance for Bournemouth with a goal to beat Morecambe 1-0 on Saturday at Dean Court. The win ensured the Cherries remain in the trio at the top for automatic promotion.

On a weekend of major awards and accolades, how fitting it was that the reds put in a golden performance to convince the critics, they can stay in the hunt as the season draws to an end. I must admit I have been following Josh McQuoid’s breakthrough this season and as a good namesake goes, he hasnt disappointed. The U21s Northern Ireland midfielder had a brilliant game and on another day could well have helped himself to a hat trick.

We don’t play now till Notts County on the 15th March, a game which could effectively decide whether we go up or not, as County themselves have rediscovered their form after a turbulent season on and off the field.

But take nothing away from the lads and Eddie Howe, who has worked wonders with this side, and I have said before on a shoe string budget, so fair play. The news that Goalkeeper Shwan Jalal has signed a new two year deal today is also a great step forward for the club, tying players down has been a particular issue in the past, when the likes of Elliott, Hayter and O’Connor left on frees, it lost the club around £3m in transfer income. So full marks go to the board, even though HMS Revenues want £300,000 by the end of the month!

New Contract: Shwan Jalal signs two-year deal

I think its fair to say anyone of five teams, (us, Chesterfield, Notts County, Bury and Rotherham) can go up this season, it says a lot for the competiveness of League Two! Home form from now on and in, is going to be absolutely crucial, keeping Pittman, Pearce and Feeney fit will also help.

With home games against Accrington, Hereford, Darlington, Bradford and Port Vale, we must take at least 12 points from these games to have any chance. All these teams are in the middle or bottom half of the table so they are win-able. Trips to Rochdale and Chesterfield (last game of the season) are going to be decisive.

It always appears to end up being a nail biting end to the season for us, for once a positive outcome may be achieved, however we never make things easy for ourselves, but than would you want it any other way?

Keep reading for more features this week on Bournemouth ‘legends’ and enjoy the Blog!  🙂