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Features

Bourne Legacy: Ian Andrews

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AFC Bournemouth AFC Bournemouth

Goalkeeper Ian Andrews starred in AFC Bournemouth’s 1994/95 Great Escape after becoming Mel Machin’s first signing for the club.

Capped by England at under-21 level, Andrews started out at Mansfield Town before signing professionally for Leicester City in December 1982.

He was the Foxes’ first choice in the top flight for three seasons and joined Scottish giants Celtic for £330,000 in July 1988.

Andrews moved to Southampton for £200,000 in December 1989 before Machin snapped him up for a bargain £15,000 in September 1994.

He made 76 appearances in all competitions for the Cherries before hanging up his boots to care for his wife who had cancer and passed away soon after he had left Dean Court.

Andrews now runs a physiotherapy and wellness centre in Bingham, near Nottingham, where his son Harry is also a chartered physiotherapist.

HOW DID YOUR MOVE TO AFC BOURNEMOUTH COME ABOUT?

I was at Southampton but wasn’t in the team at the time. Mel Machin had just taken over at Bournemouth and they were really struggling. The first position he wanted to strengthen was the goalkeeper and, being just down the road, it made every sense to contact Southampton.

Mel then contacted me and asked if I fancied joining and I said ‘absolutely’. I wanted to play football. It was like a musician not playing an instrument. I didn’t want to be on the bench, I wanted to play. It made absolute sense.

I liked the challenge as well because Bournemouth were right at the bottom of the table. They didn’t have many players and it was a real nightmare. I thought ‘right, let’s play’ and jumped at the chance to come.

WHAT CAN YOU REMEMBER ABOUT YOUR DEBUT – A 1-0 DEFEAT AT STOCKPORT COUNTY?

Crikey, I can’t remember much about that, I always tried to block defeats out of my mind!
I can remember going on the bus and thinking ‘wow, we’ve got a youth team here’.

We had loads of players injured and had a weakened squad. Sean O’Driscoll, who was the coach at the time, was pressed into action and we had youth team players in the squad. I think we did well to lose 1-0 to be honest.

WITH NINE POINTS AT CHRISTMAS, YOU MUST HAVE FEARED THE WORST?

As a goalkeeper, it’s almost like saving a penalty in a shootout – you’ve got absolutely nothing to lose.

When I joined, we didn’t have a team, we had nine points at Christmas and we also had a lot of injuries.

Although we had a weakened team, we had such good heart because the same players played week in, week out because there were no other players.

Out of that came a real solidarity and a real team spirit. Everything in life, and especially football, hinges on one or two things. You are always looking for those trends and you feel them. Something started swinging in our favour.

Things were being saved and hitting the post rather than going in and people were making important tackles just at the right time.

It just gathered pace and, piece by piece, we started getting momentum. I remember the players not saying too much about it but we had this feeling.

It was a bit like Leicester winning the Premier League. It was the same feeling but at the other end of the scale. The process was the same.

There was something about the team and its coordination and the spirit. It just began to feel good. Nobody started looking too far ahead but we started grinding out a few points.

APART FROM THE OBVIOUS GAMES, WAS THERE ONE WHICH STOOD OUT THAT SEASON?

One of our last home games when we beat Wycombe Wanderers thanks to two penalties from Scott Mean.

We got the first penalty at the right time but you are never safe at 1-0. When we were awarded the second one, I just thought ‘this has to go in’. When Scottie scored, we had something to hold on to.

That was the momentum that really started pushing forward. Dry land was now in sight and it was something we had to look after.

WHAT ARE YOUR MEMORIES OF BRENTFORD AWAY?

I remember the anxiety before the game. We had everything to lose and everything to gain. It was an amazingly-charged atmosphere.

There was a backpass in the first few minutes and it was a really nervy start to the game. I cleared the ball at the last minute and remember thinking ‘wow, that was close’.

After that, the whole team started tightening up and started fearing giving something away. A few decisions went our way and we won a few tackles.

It was a real battle, a nasty battle, mentally not physically. There wasn’t one moment when you could put down the situation. You played every blade of grass that game, it was 100 per cent completely exhausting.

WHAT ABOUT SHREWSBURY AT HOME?

We knew if we could win, we would stay up.

Before we went out, everyone looked at each other and thought ‘we’ve come this far, what the hell, let’s do it, let’s go for it’.

It was a game where there wasn’t any tightness. All the tightness was at Brentford.

We went into the game without fear and Mel was amazing. He let the players do what they did, he was a calming influence.

He formed a phenomenal management partnership with Willo. From the chairman and the coaching staff, they all put their arms around people and believed in us all the way.

When you’ve got that belief and you know someone trusts you come what may, you may as well do it, you may as well win it.

WHO WAS THE BIGGEST JOKER IN THE SQUAD?

Fletch, definitely. He was hilarious, confident and a really good character.

Scottie Mean was very intelligent and also a very good footballer. Mark Morris had a dry sense of humour and was also very funny.

Everyone bounced off each other and we had a really lovely group. All of them were funny in their own way. It was a good combination, a purple patch of a squad.

WHAT WAS MEL MACHIN LIKE TO PLAY UNDER?

Phenomenal, amazing. He trusted you, the decisions you made, he trusted you to make them and didn’t try to make them for you. He trusted you to do what you did best and players totally respected him.

He was brilliant. It was a good experience and a happy relationship we all had with each other. We all got on well, we all trusted and respected each other.

YOUR FINAL GAME WAS A 1-0 HOME DEFEAT TO OXFORD IN MARCH 1996 WHEN YOUR WIFE WAS SERIOUSLY ILL – WHAT WAS IT LIKE PLAYING UNDER THOSE CIRCUMSTANCES?

My wife had cancer and was very poorly. There was a lot going on.

I couldn’t let down the team, they needed a goalkeeper, they needed me to play and although it was the last thing on this planet I wanted to do, it was also the most important thing I had to do.

You have to live your life by the moments and you can’t get fixated and caste in a mould.
It made it very important to me to live the moments of my life that I had in front of me.

I did everything in my power to play as well as I could. There was no sympathy and no pity. I just wanted to make the 90 minutes as good as they could be.

WHAT ARE YOU DOING NOW?

I’ve got my own physiotherapy practice in Bingham, near Nottingham.

My son Harry, which was my nickname at Leicester, was on the books at Notts County but is now also a chartered physiotherapist so we’ve got our own practice and wellness centre.

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