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Club news

GK coach Price 'home' at last


AFC Bournemouth AFC Bournemouth

Days after retiring from a two-decade career as an international footballer, Lewis Price began his new coaching challenge and returned to his boyhood Cherries.

Price had been on the books at Rotherham United from 2016 and was an integral part of the dressing room for the Millers, but at 36 found the lure of returning "home" to the club he supports irresistible, joining as under-21s goalkeeping coach.

The opportunity arose after first-team coach Anthony White moved to a prestigious role with the FA and academy coach Joe Prodomo switched to a first-team position at Southend United.

The reshuffling opened the door for Price, an 11-time Wales international, to sign for the Cherries as a coach - the club he had always wanted to represent as a player.

Price spoke to afcb.co.uk about it all: "After Anthony left and Joe moved on I got a phone call from Neil Moss, asking if I'd be interested in the position, it took all of about three seconds for me to say yes.

"I came down to meet him and had a chat but to be fair I'd already made my mind up in respects to stopping playing and coming home.

"I retired on the Friday and started here on the Monday; there have only ever been two things written into most of the things I've done. One, if Bournemouth ever try to sign me you've got to let me leave and, two, this is probably the only job I would have retired for.

"As soon as I found out there was a chance of me coming down here I'd made my decision and I came down."

Poole-born, Branksome-raised

Price spoke about his upbringing in the area and the pull of his hometown club, despite finding success and enjoyment during the final four years of his playing career with the Millers.

"I was born in Poole and grew up in Branksome," he said. "My house is there now, my mum and dad still live there, my wife's family all live there too.

"I went to Poole High, played for Dexter Sports and then before I got picked up I played for Wimborne Town. So I've come all the way through, done everything down here in terms of football.

"I really loved it up there with Rotherham, I loved the players and was a good part of the group and I was successful while I was there, but speaking to the manager, who I get on with so well up there, I said that my family was down here, I'd never really moved them, and it's that next opportunity for me in my career.

"I would have been 37 by the end of the year and I always wanted to try and be a goalkeeper coach.

"So it was the opportunity to come home, the chance to work at this place, with Mossy and Gaz (Gareth Stewart) and start my coaching career here, it's the perfect job for me."

Success as a player - away from the Cherries

Now tasked with helping the development of the next generation of Bournemouth goalkeepers, Price spoke of how his dream of being a Cherries legend never quite happened, as well as the start of his love for the club as a young fan.

"I was on the terraces," he said. "My first ever game of football, I vaguely remember it, was either a cup game or a friendly against West Ham. Harry Redknapp would have been in charge of West Ham and that was my first game.

"I was never in the youth set up or anything here, maybe I wasn't good enough! I don't think the people here actually realise how much of a fan I am, so to be able to put my tracksuit on every day puts a smile on my face.

"I was never close to playing here, Southampton had a look at me and then I went straight up to Ipswich.

"In fact, I've only been back here to once as a player. I've had a 21-year career and only came back once for a friendly with Crystal Palace. It's been a nightmare, if I'm stuck here now I'll be happy."

Finally in a position to pull a Cherries jersey on, Price talked about his first impressions working with the club.

He explained: "I've walked around the club and I love it here, this is home. It means a lot to me and if I can come in and be of help working with players progressing up into the first team - and progress myself as a coach, which is the main thing to start with - I'll be happy.

"I think I'm in the best environment, I've been at a few clubs and as soon as I walked in here with the professionalism, the way we do things and the way we set up, it's just second-to-none.

"I've definitely made the right decision in my mind."

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