LET'S LOOK AT: Bournemouth
Feature by Jaybee
Updated Monday, 30th November 2009
The latest in Barnet Mad's new series
LET’S LOOK AT:
The origins of the club started with Boscombe St Johns Institute FC who were formed in 1890. They disbanded nine years later, but Boscombe FC were formed out of the remains at a meeting in Gladstone Road in Bournemouth.
The club played at a ground in Castlemain Avenue, in Pokesdown and played in the Bournemouth and District Junior League. In 1902, they moved to King’s Park near Bournemouth’s current stadium. In 1910, they joined the Hampshire League and soon after moved to Dean Court where the Cherries play today.
Soon after, the club joined the South Eastern League and in 1920, joined the Southern League finishing 5th in their first season. In 1923, they finished as runners up to Bristol City’s reserve team and were also elected to the Football League Division 3 (South).
The club then changed their name to Bournemouth and Boscombe Athletic FC. In their first season, they struggled finishing second from bottom but things gradually improved as they established themselves in the league, though their highest pre-war placing was 6th in 1937
In 1948, Bournemouth had their best league season so far, finishing as runners up to QPR and were 3rd the following season, but just could not manage to finish top and gain promotion to Division 2.
In the 1956/57 season, the Cherries had a wonderful run in the FA Cup, reaching the 6th round. In the early rounds they disposed of Burton Albion, Swindon and Accrington and met Wolves in the 4th round, beating them 1-0 at Molyneux. In the 5th round, the Cherries beat Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 at Dean Court and were drawn in the 6th round to play the mighty, Manchester United, the ‘Busby Babes. Unfortunately, the team’s run came to an end as United won 2-1 at Dean Court.
However, Bournemouth could not transfer their cup success to the league, only finishing 5th that season. The following season, Bournemouth finished 9th which was enough to see them elected to the new 3rd Division, the two regional 3rd Divisions, now becoming a national 3rd and 4th division.
In their first season in the new division, Bournemouth finished 12th. In 1962, they finished 3rd, only missing out on promotion by 3 points. Bournemouth now regularly made top six finishes, but in 1967 they were almost relegated to the 4th division after finishing 20th. In 1970, having finished 4th the season before, the club finished 21st and were relegated to the bottom tier of the league.
John Bond, the club’s new manager, took them straight back to the 3rd Division, the club finishing as runners up to Notts County and almost went straight up to the 2nd division in 1972, finishing 3rd. By this time, the club had changed their name to AFC Bournemouth but following Bond’s departure to Norwich City, the club’s fortunes slumped and in 1975 they were relegated back to the 4th Division.
This time, there was no automatic return to the 3rd Division, as the club finished 6th in Division 4 in 1976. In 1982, under new manager, David Webb, the Cherries finished 4th and were promoted back to the 3rd division.
Harry Redknapp took over as manager in the mid 80’s and, in 1984, they beat the holders of the FA Cup, Manchester United, 2-0 in a 3rd round tie at Dean Court. Under Redknapp, the club won the Associate Members’ Cup and in 1987, the club finished top of the 3rd Division, winning promotion to the 2nd division for the first time in their history.
In their first season in Division 2, the Cherries finished 17th. The following season, the club finished 12th, their highest ever placing in the second tier of English football and also reached the 5th round of the FA Cup, before losing to Manchester United after a replay. However, in 1990, they were relegated back to the 3rd Division.
In 1995, Bournemouth escaped relegation by just two points and in 1996/97, the receivers were called into the club and were only 15 minutes, at one point, from closure but the club was eventually saved and became the first community club. It was to the club’s credit that they finished as high as 9th in the league in 1998 and the Cherries also played at Wembley in the final of the Auto Windscreens Shield. In 1999, Bournemouth finished 7th in the, now renamed Division Two, and just missed the play offs. They repeated this in 2001.
At the end of that season, the club moved out of Dean Court while it was being renovated and moved to play at Dorchester City’s Avenue Stadium. In 2002, they were relegated back to the fourth tier of the league, now called Division Three. However, the following season, they reached the play-offs, under Sean O’Driscoll, after finishing 4th and after beating Bury 3-1 on aggregate in the semi finals, they won 5-2 against Lincoln City at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff to clinch promotion to Division Two. However, O’Driscoll then left the club to take over as manager of Doncaster Rovers.
In 2004, they finished a respectable 9th and the next season finished one place higher. Kevin Bond took over as manager in 2006 and kept them up in 2006/07, but in 2007, the club’s financial situation worsened and they entered administration and were deducted 10 points and despite a superb run towards the end of the season, they were relegated to League Two.
Last season, they began the season with a 17 point deduction and were one of the favourites to go down, but under new boss, Eddie Howe they managed to stay up despite being involved in a relegation dogfight at the end of the season and the club eventually finished safe in 21st place, nine points ahead of the relegation zone.
This season, the club have started in tremendous form, despite continuing financial problems and a transfer embargo, and are currently leading the League Two table and look a good bet for promotion at the end of the season.