Former Cherries goalkeeper Shwan Jalal has today announced his retirement from playing following a career spanning 20 years.
He made 161 appearances for the club between August 2008 and June 2014, featuring prominently in the Greatest Escape of 2008/09 and promotion to League One the following season.
A popular figure at Vitality Stadium during his six-year stay, Jalal is head of academy goalkeeping at Rochdale and also taking a degree in sports journalism and broadcasting at Staffordshire University.
On Tottenham's books as a youngster, Jalal helped Macclesfield Town win the National League in 2017/18 and finished his playing career with Chesterfield.
In June, afcb.co.uk caught up with Jalal to get his memories of winning promotion with the Cherries in 2009/10.
Here is the article:
Shwan Jalal believes resilience and a siege mentality were key factors in AFC Bournemouth’s 2009/10 promotion campaign.
Jalal kept no fewer than 19 clean sheets and missed just two league games as the Cherries finished as runners-up to Notts County in League Two.
He also starred the previous season as Eddie Howe’s heroes pulled off the Greatest Escape to preserve the club’s Football League status.
Jalal remembers the squad being in tip-top condition heading into 2009/10, even though he had concerns about the financial uncertainty surrounding the club.
In the latest in our series of interviews for The Journey, Jalal starts by recalling a gruelling pre-season which stood the team in good stead for a marathon 51-match campaign in all competitions.
He said: “For me, it was very strange and I felt insecure even though everything was very positive and buoyant around the squad.
“We had just pulled off the Greatest Escape but there was still stuff going on behind the scenes that made you feel uncertain about whether the club was even going to start the new season.
“The lads were more confident than I was about how well we could do. They thought that if we could carry on our form from the previous season, we would have a good chance of being successful.
“When we came back for pre-season, we had a series of tests at Solent University and you could tell Eddie and Jason had the bit between their teeth.
“They watched us like hawks. You could see Eddie was almost measuring us to see how serious we were about being on the journey that he wanted to go on.
“We all knew Brett Pitman would be such an important player for us because of how well he had performed the previous season. Eddie was on him all the time.
“Those were the standards he set and he expected us to be in the best condition physically as possible.
“He introduced a fitness coach called Jon Dalzell who he had worked with before. Long gone were the days of running around a pitch until you dropped and were sick.
“Everything involved a football and fitness. Eddie brought a competitive edge into every scenario and all the players bought into it.”
Goals from Pitman, Anton Robinson and Mark Molesley saw the Cherries hit the ground running by opening their campaign with a resounding 3-0 win over much-fancied Bury.
Jalal kept four clean sheets in the first five league games as Howe’s team climbed into the top three by the end of August.
“We went into the Bury game really confident,” said Jalal. “We turned up at Gigg Lane and the first thing that went up on the dressing room wall was their captain’s programme notes.
“They said something like…with all due respect to Bournemouth, we should be beating teams like this. That was the fuel for the fire.
“We went out there and ripped them apart. The goals we scored were superb and we couldn’t have played any better. That set the standard and the tempo for the season.
“I remember Marc Pugh tearing us to shreds when we went to Hereford but we won a lot of games 1-0 at the start of that season.
“We had a real togetherness and the characters in the dressing room, people like Warren Cummings, were absolutely vital to our success.
"We had a transfer embargo but Eddie used it to his advantage. He knew what he had to work with and he made us better players. How we started was vital to how we fared for the rest of the season.”
Jalal succumbed to a calf injury which forced him off after 59 minutes of a 1-0 win over Shrewsbury at Dean Court at the start of December.
“Due to the embargo, we were very thin on the ground,” said Jalal. “Ryan Pryce was my number two but he had fallen ill with glandular fever and was out of the picture.
“Dan Thomas was coming through and was fast-tracked into the first-team environment to work under Neil Moss, our goalkeeper coach.
“It was a horrible day and I felt my calf go. I tried to carry on and knew they would probably want me to because we only had young Dan on the bench.
“But Steve Hard called it and said I could run the risk of being out for months if I stayed on and tore it.
“Dan came on and did superbly well and we won 1-0. It just highlighted the situation with regard to the squad numbers.
“Relying on an 18-year-old and giving him responsibility was massive in that situation. It was the same with Jayden Stockley, another teenager to be involved.
“They were pivotal moments for players who probably weren’t expecting to play but we were having to recruit players from all parts of the club to get us through games.”
Jalal sat out the 5-0 defeat at Morecambe where loanee Marek Stech deputised before returning for the festive wins against Cheltenham and Torquay.
He was also between the sticks for a run of three successive defeats at the start of 2010, a sequence of results he believes could have been a turning point.
Jalal said: “A lot of people expected us to fall away after those three defeats, especially with everything else that was going on at that time.
“But it went the other way and it galvanised us. We went on a little unbeaten run which included beating Notts County at home.
“That was a big game and it set down a marker. They had some big-name players and I remember a story about Kasper Schmeichel taking out his frustrations on the dressing room door.
“That victory was one of the standout moments, as was Jeff Goulding’s last-gasp equaliser at Notts County the following month.
“We always had a knack of being able to bounce back. Whatever was thrown at us that season, we responded in a positive fashion and that was testament to the group and the staff.”
Jalal picked out the promotion-clinching 2-0 win at Burton Albion as his high from the season and the 4-0 victory over Port Vale in their next game as his low.
“We were under huge pressure at Burton,” he said. “We took a massive following. Getting off the coach and seeing the place surrounded by our supporters was surreal. It felt like there were thousands there.
“The roar when we walked out was deafening. It just never felt like we were going to lose. We should have been out of sight by half-time, we had so many chances.
“One of my favourite saves in a Bournemouth shirt came in that game when I clawed one out from the bottom corner in the first half.
"Brett and Al Connell scored the goals and I remember the fans on the pitch at the final whistle making a point of sticking one to the Football League after what we had been through.
“It was an amazing experience on the coach on the way back. It was like “we’ve done it, we’ve done a complete 180 and are going to be playing League One football next season”.
“It was all down to the drive of Eddie and Jase and the way they worked. They instilled that winning mentality and created an environment for players to express themselves and flourish.
“I got injured in training ahead of the Port Vale game and didn’t play. It was the last home game of the season and there was a real carnival atmosphere.
“I remember being on the pitch receiving a couple of awards but it really took the edge off it for me because the lads were wearing their promotion t-shirts and I was in a suit.
“It was a disappointing way to end the season personally but nothing will ever take away from what we achieved. I have nothing but great memories of that season.”