Bournemouth hit the big time with Premier League promotion

Bournemouth players celebrate scoring against Bolton Wanderers last week, a game that effectively secured their promotion to the Premier League for the first time
Bournemouth players celebrate scoring against Bolton Wanderers last week, a game that effectively secured their promotion to the Premier League for the first time

Bournemouth is a place that conjures images of beaches and promenades bathed in sunshine.

It’s a southcoast town full of happy memories for the many Scots who have spent holidays there - even if it does have something of a reputation as a retirement home-on-sea.

As a young football fan, I was happy to spend some of my pocket money to help them out

But from August, it will also be home to a Premier League club. Yes, sleepy old Bournemouth has earned a place at the table of the world’s richest sporting bunfight.

The Cherries will achieve promotion to the top flight for the first time in their history today.

It’s an unlikely story considering they play in a stadium with a capacity of just 11,000 and their average crowds not so long ago was less than 5000.

The club was reportedly just five minutes away from being liquidated in 2008 before the man who is now their chairman took over.

I have a soft spot for Bournemouth. I well remember their previous brush with financial oblivion in 1997. I was on holiday in the town and staying a short distance from their old ground, Dean Court, long before it was redeveloped.

Fans were outside the stadium on a daily basis, selling their carefully assembled collections of football programmes, among other items just so their beloved team could gain a few extra quid in its hour of need.

As a young football fan, I was happy to spend some of my pocket money to help them out.

A few days later I went to a pre-season friendly against Porstmouth. The home goalkeeper that night was a certain Jimmy Glass. The match programme noted he had played up front in a bounce game the week before, and had an “eye for goal”.

He would famously prove his striking talent to the world when playing for Carlisle United for two years later, when his last-gasp goal kept the club in the Football League.

The persistence of the Bournemouth fans paid off and the club has lived on.

Fast forward 18 years and those same fans, those who sold their beloved programme collections, now have the prospect of trips to Old Trafford and Stamford Bridge to enjoy.

A wealthy owner may have bankrolled the current Bournemouth team – but it was their supporters who ensured there was still a club in the first place.