When AFC Bournemouth swept aside Bolton to win, all bar the shouting, a first season in the Premier, we wondered about asking a supporter of the south coast club to write something. Our own Jeremy Robson has beaten them to it, welcoming the team that plays in AC Milan colours but to a maximum home crowd of 12,000 to a top flight Sunderland may well be departing. As our illustrator Jake put it at Facebook the other night, they ‘play some great stuff, they sing the red flag an’ al’…
We live in cynical times. If you are a Sunderland supporter these cynical times are as depressing and challenging as we have faced in many a good year and all our relegation-threatening seasons.
This might be the year we make the drop after a series of the narrowest of escapes.
And we might have expected to pass Norwich, Derby, Boro or Watford heading in the opposite direction. It’s about time for all of those clubs to have another bite at the Premier League pie, (or overblown ten tier cake full of cream, sponge and a load of jam that it is these days). Only Watford from that line-up are assured of their top-flight place.
None of us would have expected under the days of Roy Keane, that our next relegation might have seen us replaced by Bournemouth. I wondered whether they were still called Bournemouth and Boscombe Athletic? (Officially yes, I believe, as AFC Bournemouth is just te trade name – Ed).
Bournemouth’s achievements are perhaps unparalleled in the modern game. In 2008, the club were within five minutes of being liquidated.
Even though they survived a second administration within a decade they began the 2008-9 season in League 2 with a 17-point deduction.
Against the odds, they were able to preserve their status as a league club in the final game of that season at home to Grimsby.
Eddie Howe had only been in charge since New Year’s Eve. Nobody could have predicted what was going to happen in just a few short years. Eddie Howe is only 37 years old now. He was 31, then. He left the south coast club for a stint at Burnley before returning to take the Cherries up the Championship.
Now he has taken them to the top flight (barring an unprecedented drubbing at the hands of Charlton Athletic, that is). Who says that there is no magic in football? It’s alive and breathing and in fact kicking and cheering down on the south coast.
We have the football pyramid of relegation and promotion to thank for all of this. Miracles can happen and indeed they do. The fact that a club like Bournemouth with meagre resources can still reach the top is remarkable these days.
They should be congratulated for it and welcomed.
I hope they enjoy the miracle. We can hope that we get the opportunity to welcome them to the Stadium of Light next season, but we may have to hope for a miracle of our own for that to happen. Well done to Bournemouth and everyone connected to the club. It’s brilliant.
* It would also be brilliant if another club that is not Sunderland – Shildon AFC, town and team close to some Salut! Sunderland hearts – clinched the Northern League title at Bedlington Terriers tonight. See https://safc.blog/2015/04/before-sunderland-there-was-shildon-tomorrow-at-bedlington-theres-shildon-again/