With over 800 appearances under his belt for the club, Steve Fletcher is a hero to many Cherries fans but possibly none more so than Jamie Buxton.
The 23-year-old found himself struggling with his mental health issues during lockdown and turned to Twitter, attracting the attention of the goal-scoring legend.
Jamie spoke with afcb.co.uk ahead of Saturday's World Mental Health Day to talk about his experiences with his the club's all-time appearance record holder.
He said: “I was sitting in my room one night, thinking about lockdown and it brought me down quite a bit. I started thinking about how I couldn’t even go to football to escape my mind for a bit.
“I wrote my tweet and the next day I woke up to a message from Steve Fletcher. It honestly just blew my mind; I was utterly speechless. Ever since then he’s been great.”
Hey @jamie_afcb7 it’s Fletch. How you doing mate? How you coping with all this stuff. Stay strong mate. The team need you when all this is over and the football gets going again 👍🏽🍒⚽️— Fletch (@SteveFletcher33) March 25, 2020
Fletcher’s message of support birthed a friendship which has lasted for the seven months since, with the pair remaining in constant communication across social media.
Jamie explained: “He literally just asked if I was okay. He’s been really supportive of me, checking in on a regular basis, he’s even added me on Facebook!
“It’s mind-blowing how much he’s supported me through lockdown. My housemates didn’t hear the end of it!
“It’s meant the world to me, he made me realise that there are people out there who genuinely do care.”
In June, they met in person for the first time when Fletcher turned up to Jamie’s door and surprised him with a signed Joshua King shirt.
“When he turned up to my house with the signed shirt, I thought he was a delivery man. I opened the door and saw him, and I couldn’t believe it.
“It was really nice to have actually have a face-to-face conversation with him. We talked about the players and everything, to sit there and say Steve Fletcher is my friend means a lot to me as a Bournemouth supporter."
Jamie is making constant progress with his mental health and has emphasised the importance of speaking to people.
“I’ve had problems with my mental health for a couple years now and I would never say anything," he said. "I’d tell myself to get over it and it got to a point where it got really, really bad.
“Since I’ve started talking about it, it’s made it so much easier to handle. There’s still a real stigma around men and mental health problems which I think is wrong.
“No-one should ever feel they can’t talk about it."