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Club news

Remembering 1981/82 Promotion


AFC Bournemouth AFC Bournemouth

Unlike the success-laden Eddie Howe era, promotions for the Cherries were a rarity following their election to the Football League in 1923.

The club had to wait 48 years before breaking its duck when John Bond led them to runners-up spot in Division Four in 1970/71.

However, their stay in the third flight lasted just four seasons and some lean years followed in the basement division.

But the appointment of former Chelsea star David Webb as manager revived the club’s fortunes and he presided over a second promotion in 1981/82.

Webb, who initially came in as player-coach in May 1980 and made 11 appearances, replaced Alec Stock after he had been elevated to the board of directors in December 1980.

Chelsea’s extra-time goal hero in their 1970 FA Cup final replay win against Leeds quickly set about building a team with an excellent blend of youth and experience.

His squad, some of whom had been signed by Stock, included the likes of Nigel Spackman, Trevor Morgan, Paul Compton, Brian Smith, Chris Sulley, Kevin Dawtry, Keith Williams, Paul Edmunds, Phil Brignull, Tony Funnell, Andy Crawford, Eddie Kelly, Steve Carter and Milton Graham.

It was the first season when three points for a win had been introduced and the Cherries hit the ground running by embarking on a nine-match unbeaten run, including six victories.

They would lose just four league games during the campaign, the last of which came when they went down 1-0 at Northampton at the end of February.

Former England international Charlie George featured in their next two games – a 1-1 draw with Peterborough and a 2-2 draw with Aldershot, both at Dean Court.

Crawford and Howard Goddard were on target when promotion was clinched thanks to a 2-2 draw at Bradford, the Bantams also going up on the same day with rival fans celebrating together on the pitch at Valley Parade.

And the champagne corks continued to pop when Hereford United visited Dean Court for the final game of the season on May 15th, Funnell netting in a 1-1 draw.

An 18-match unbeaten run, which included the first game of the following season, remains a club record.

Funnell finished the campaign as leading scorer with 16, while defender Sulley was the only ever present. Ian Leigh kept 15 clean sheets in 36 games and Kenny Allen kept seven in ten.

Fourth place saw the Cherries joined in Division Three by champions Sheffield United, runners-up Bradford and third-placed Wigan Athletic.

To mark the 38th anniversary of promotion from Division Four, afcb.co.uk will be running a series of features and interviews over this weekend, including taking a trip down memory lane with new conversations with manager David Webb, leading marksman Tony Funnell and fans' favourite Tommy Heffernan.

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