AFC Bournemouth are proud to host the BU Big Match for the third season running this weekend.
The BU Big Match takes place against Liverpool to celebrate the ongoing relationship with Bournemouth University as Higher Education partner to the club.
The first ever Big Match was a home game against Tottenham Hotspur in 2015, while last season’s saw the Cherries take on Leicester City.
This year will mark the first year that BU has sponsored all of the AFC Bournemouth girls’ teams in championing its commitment to develop girls’ football across Dorset. The sponsorship supports U10, U12, U14 and U16 teams, all of which wear a match shirt adorned by the Bournemouth University sponsor image.
The BU Big Match will again see the BU Big Band perform for audiences outside the Vitality Stadium, as well as BU match day content played over signage across the site. The University green screen will also be making an appearance in the Christmas fan zone, where supporters can get their photo taken with their heroes celebrating a goal!
Rob Mitchell, AFC Bournemouth Commercial Director said: "The BU Big Match will again be a great opportunity for the public to see the wider benefits of the partnership and enjoy the wonderful pre-match atmosphere that is created when the BU Big Band play in the area outside the club Superstore for supporters ahead of the match."
AFC Bournemouth take on Liverpool in the final home game before Christmas this season.
With it being a Sunday game and a 4.30pm kick off, there are some amendments to our usual opening hours. Please arrive at the ground early at least 45 minutes before kick-off. There will be 100% searching so please do not bring a bag to the game unless absolutely necessary.
The match is Bournemouth University’s big match, so there’s plenty going on with BU around matchday, including a special new app – Cherrybot, a marching band around the ground and plenty more, arrive early and have a look!
9am CHERRYBOT GOES LIVE
We’ve got a special new app live for this game – and we want you to get involved!
The club have joined the AI revolution and launched their very own chatbot called CherryBot, it will operate on the Facebook Messenger platform, engaging with fans and encouraging them to share experiences before and during match days.
Collaborating with Bournemouth-based digital agency Greenwood Campbell, Microsoft and Bournemouth University, AFC Bournemouth is one of the first Premier League clubs to trial this exciting new concept - a ‘personality’ that interacts with fans through emotion recognition and intelligent conversation - effectively becoming an additional member of the squad.
Fans can expect exclusive competitions, vote for their man of the match, watch video highlights and access facts and FAQs. CherryBot offers the opportunity for loyal fans to enhance their match day experience like never before, and with plans to develop the bot into a permanent fixture and mascot for the club, the sky’s the limit.
10am TICKET OFFICE OPEN
Tickets for our upcoming away games at Manchester City and Brighton are available to purchase before the game - the ticket office will also be open for 20 minutes after the game.
10.30am SUPERSTORE OPEN
Our Superstore will be open from 10am as it’s a Sunday, all the way until kick-off – it won’t be open after kick-off due to Sunday trading laws.
Don’t miss out on 20% off all of the club’s trainingwear in the run up to Christmas!
We also have a new special offer, take a gnome home this Christmas! For just £10, you can give a Cherry Gnome a special Christmas for someone! Take a look!
10.30am SOUTH STAND CAR PARK OPEN
Just behind the stadium, the South Stand car park is open for just £1 to all supporters.
It does tend to fill up approximately 75 minutes before kick-off and there may be delays in excess of half an hour leaving post-match. Please be aware, you can turn left out of this car park and right at the roundabout, which will bring you out via Gloucester Road in Boscombe.
Alternatively, the Sovereign Centre on Christchurch Road, which is also approximately 10 minutes’ walk from the ground, is available for matchday parking for both Saturday and week night games. Parking fees cost just £2 for 4 hours and £4 for 24 hours.
Supporters will also be able to use Harewood College for parking.
This parking facility has the advantage of being away from the congestion around Kings Park, while only a short walk to Vitality Stadium, allowing easier access.
Available from 11am, the car park will be manned by a steward until kick-off and is free to use.
We respectfully ask that all visitors keep to the 10mph and then the 5mph speed limits.
Residents have direct access to parking enforcement officers on a matchday and so to avoid any issues please respect their access.
1pm DC LOUNGE OPEN
The DC Lounge is open to both home and away disabled supporters pre-match.
It is based on the ground floor and first floor in the East Stand for the use of disabled supporters only.
This offers Sky/BT Sport TV and a refreshment service, and a great opportunity for supporters to socialise before the match. There is a lift available for supporters using the platform and two accessible toilets. The matchday quiz is a highlight too.
1pm RETAIL POD OPEN
Our retail pod behind the Colmar Construction Ted MacDougall South Stand is open from 1pm and you can get your home and away shirts and plenty more!
It's also open for 20 minutes after the final whistle.
1.30pm 1910 BAR OPEN
Want a drink before the game? The 1910 bar is open for home supporters and is located next to the press entrance in the Vitality Main Stand.
Supporters are required to show their home ticket on entry.
Hot food is available in the bistro section of the 1910 and bar does get busy, but below is an alternative…
1.30pm THE GREAT ESCAPE OPEN
Our outside bar is open for business from 10.30am, with last orders at 12.45pm and closing at 1pm. Situated between the Thistlebarrow Road entrance and the Superstore, it’s a great place to meet friends before entering the ground for a drink and a hot snack.
The Digivan will also be live showing plenty of highlights and the latest from the club.
2pm JUNIOR FANZONE
It’s our special Christmas Fanzone!
Come and get in the Christmas spirit with our decorated fanzone with a special addition thanks to BU! They’ve brought along a green screen, so you can pose with your heroes and celebrate the goals with the first team squad!
It promises to be one of our biggest fanzones of the year, don’t miss out.
3pm BU BIG BAND
At 3pm outside the Great Escape bar, the BU Big Band will be performing ahead of the game.
Make sure to check them out!
3pm TURNSTILES OPEN
Supporters can take their seats from 12pm and make the most of our pre-match combo. Choose from either a pie & pint for £5 or a pie & soft/hot drink for £4, both available up to half an hour before kick-off. The Junior Cherries meal deal remains fantastic value at just £2.50 – just show your JC card at the food counter when ordering, and then enjoy!
Supporters who have entered the ground up to 45 minutes before kick-off will be entered into a draw to win the previous game’s man of the match signed by the player. This week, a signed Ryan Fraser shirt is the prize.
3.45pm PRE-MATCH ENTERTAINMENT BEGINS
We’ve revamped our big screen so there’s plenty of new entertainment on offer this season.
See lots of content ahead of Liverpool, the community draw and plenty more.
Make sure you are in your seats to see our latest Fans’ Champion place the matchball on the Premier League plinth just before kick-off.
Fan Champion is new this season and gives supporters the chance to nominate for selected games a fellow Cherries fan they think deserves a special matchday – someone who has achieved something great or is a valued member of the community. Just email [email protected] with your nominee’s name and why you think they should be a Fans’ Champion.
We get underway for a big game against Liverpool!
Supporters are reminded that AFC Bournemouth does not tolerate any abusive or discriminatory language or behaviour and fans are encouraged to contact a steward should they witness this. Alternatively, supporters can confidentially text the support number on 07968 980580 with details.
Keep an eye out for half time too, where we’ll have our team relay!
The Cherries welcome Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool side to Vitality Stadium on Sunday.
Last year, AFC Bournemouth ran out as 4-3 victors in a dramatic affair, with Nathan Ake grabbing a last minute winner.
Ahead of the fixture, we look at five points to preview below.
Liverpool go into the weekend's game unbeaten in 11 and with just one loss in their last 17.
In the Premier League, Huddersfield Town, West Ham United, Southampton, Stoke City and Brighton & Hove Albion have all conceded at least three, whilst it was a similar story for Maribor, Sevilla and Spartak Moscow in Europe.
However, the Cherries can be buoyed by the fact that the Reds, who have drawn their last two games, have also conceded 17 goals on their travels, the fourth worst record in the league.
Liverpool have one of the best attacking set-ups in the league, with Mohamed Salah currently the Premier League's top scorer with 13 from the wing.
Additionally, the likes of Philippe Coutinho, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino will also be looking to cause problems for the Cherries defence and help assist Salah where possible.
With the Reds having already recorded two 7-0 wins this season, the hosts will have to be on hand to nullify such threats.
Jurgen Klopp took charge of the Reds in 2015, signing a three-year deal following the dismissal of Brendan Rogers.
Coincidently, the German secured his first win as Liverpool manager against the Cherries in the League Cup, securing a place in the quarter-finals.
After guiding Liverpool to a Champions League spot at the end of last season, Klopp also helped them to a Europa League final against Sevilla, who proved to be better on the night.
Nevertheless, at the end of the season, the former Borussia Dortmund manager, as well as his coaching staff, signed six-year extensions to their contracts, keeping them at Liverpool until at least 2022.
Last season against the Reds...
The Cherries recorded two fantastic results against Jurgen Klopp's side last season. The first came in December and saw a remarkable comeback for AFC Bournemouth at Vitality Stadium.
2-0 down at half-time, and subsequently on the wrong end of a 3-1 scoreline, goals from Callum Wilson, Ryan Fraser and Steve Cook reduced the deficit, before Ake smashed home at the death for the win.
At Anfield, the Cherries also performed well and recorded a point, after Benik Afobe and Joshua King were both on target in a 2-2 draw.
AFC Bournemouth have joined the AI revolution and launched their very own chatbot.
Called CherryBot, it will operate on the Facebook Messenger platform, engaging with fans and encouraging them to share experiences before and during match days.
Fans can get involved for the first time on Sunday by keeping an eye out on our Facebook page.
AFC Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe has confirmed that Tyrone Mings has seen a specialist following a setback with his recovery from a back injury.
Mings hasn't played since the beginning of September, but the manager has confirmed that the club will await a second specialist's opinion before deciding what the next step to take is.
Elsewhere, Howe will also speak to the players who have played regularly during this busy period before he decides to rotate the squad against Liverpool.
"We have a tough run of fixtures and we're still in the Carabao Cup, so the key is we have to make sure everyone can play at their best levels," he said.
"We're pretty much as we were, we have no fresh concerns but on Wednesday we had a late return after a string of tough away games.
"So I want the players to be fresh enough to perform, I will speak to the players concerned and see how they feel."
On attempting to stop an ever-changing Liverpool line-up...
The personnel may be different, but the quality doesn't change much, they have quality to come in in every position. We know what sort of team we're up against and the challenge is to stop them.
Salah has been excellent this season, but it's not just him, that's the problem when you play these teams. We need to make sure our structure is good, our plan is good and also look at how we can take them on and focus on our strengths.
On sharing Klopp's attack-first attitude...
I think we have a lot in common in that respect. Our first thought is always to be positive, take the game to the opposition and to be brave in all aspects of our play. I don't think we should change from that, we have tried the other way and it doesn't suit us.
There is a trade off sometimes and you have to try and find the balance.
On the result and performance at Old Trafford...
In Wednesday's performance we were good in a lot of the game, I've been pleased with the majority of performances recently, we've not had the rewards but then that's the game.
The game is about points, about winning. The demands are extreme so we're well aware of what we have to do, we have to try and get points against everyone; it's about maximising what we can get.
I felt we deserved something in our last game, we had a real threat but it wasn't to be. Hopefully we'll get a better result on Sunday.
On repeating the Liverpool results from last season...
We have good memories from last year, from both games. We competed in both and the game here will live long in the memory for the character shown by the players. The last 20 minutes is what I was looking for, the atmosphere in the stadium and the resolve from the players was excellent.
To get four points from them last year was good but they're a different team this year and will be extremely tough on Sunday.
We know how big a challenge it will be, Liverpool have added quality and in attack, they excel with their pace, technique and movement. They're a formidable outfit and they're getting better and improving all the time.
Andre Marriner will be the man in the middle as the Cherries host Liverpool on Sunday.
The 46-year-old has taken charge of 12 Premier League affairs this season, handing out 31 yellow cards, four red cards and awarding two penalties.
However, this weekend will be the first time that Marriner has officiated Eddie Howe’s side this season, last refereeing at Vitality Stadium on the opening day of the 2016/17 campaign as Manchester United ran out 3-1 winners.
He certainly possesses plenty of experience, having also taken charge of three Europa League games and one Champions League qualifier this season.
On Sunday, Marriner will be assisted by Simon Beck and Scott Ledger, with Kevin Friend the fourth official.