From the depths of League Two to the Premier League – AFC Bournemouth’s rise has been one of the most remarkable stories in English football’s recent history.
Fighting for their Football League survival as early as 2009, three promotions in five years catapulted the Cherries to the top flight by 2015 where they have remained ever since.
As sport across the globe takes an enforced break due to the COVID-19 outbreak, afcb.co.uk today launches The Journey, a look back at a hat-trick of thrilling campaigns.
Starting with manager Eddie Howe’s memories, over the coming weeks, we will be running a series of features with some of the leading players and personalities involved.
Boss Howe masterminded all three promotions during his two spells, having first taken the reins when the club was seemingly cast adrift at the foot of League Two in December 2008.
He presided over the Greatest Escape by piloting the Cherries to safety in his first season before overseeing the never-to-be forgotten promotion campaigns of 2009/10, 2012/13 and 2014/15.
Howe told afcb.co.uk: “They were all so different but they all had the same characteristics.
“All three teams had the will to win and the desire to perform well for the club and for themselves. There was a tremendous team spirit in every group.
“No one player was bigger than any of those teams and no one player put himself on a different plane. They all knew the importance of each individual to get results for the team.
“In every season, we had some difficult situations and some challenging runs. But, every time, we came back and showed real character. When we needed to win, we did.
“I don’t think you can underestimate the quality of some of the individual players and the difference they made in different games. Some contributed more than others but, ultimately, it was a collective effort that got us there.
“The memories come flooding back when I am asked about those seasons in interviews or if one of the games from the Championship pops up on Sky.
“It’s always about the future and it has to be that way. But it’s lovely to look back and pay tribute to people who made a difference.
“I love speaking about players who have made a difference to the team, some maybe who I no longer work with. I can recognise their contribution and thank them for what they did for the club.”
We kick-off tomorrow with Howe's memories of the 2009/10 season when the Cherries beat the odds to secure promotion to League One.