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Features

Next Moves: Crystal Palace

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AFC Bournemouth AFC Bournemouth

In the absence of our MATCHDAY programme, Gareth Davies' continues his features on the players who have pulled on the shirts of the Cherries and our upcoming opponents, this time the Eagles from south London.

Playing at Wembley at 1998 is without doubt a history defining moment for AFC Bournemouth and  two of the Cherries starting 11 under the twin towers also have Crystal Palace connections.

IAN COX & JIMMY GLASS

Calling the 20th Century’s final decade a mixed bag in the history of AFC Bournemouth is perhaps downplaying the roller coaster of events that took place here at Dean Court.

It started with relegation from the second tier, before manager Harry Redknapp was seriously injured in a car crash during Italia 90. Unfortunately, in the same incident, chief executive Brian Tiler, a man respected so greatly at Dean Court, lost his life.

Then followed Redknapp’s departure in 1992, before two years under Tony Pulis were tough for supporters - both on and off the pitch. Pulis’ style of football wasn’t overly pleasing on the eye, while many of his first team squad were sold as a boardroom row between chairman Norman Hayward and his prospective successor Ken Gardiner rumbled on.

When Gardiner finally wrestled control of the club, his first act was to dispense with the services of Pulis and Mel Machin was handed the reins a month into the 1994/95 campaign. With just nine points gained as the new year dawned, Bournemouth’s task of staving off relegation looked to be a bridge too far. However, Machin worked miracles in the transfer market with the drop avoided with a 3-0 win over Shrewsbury on the final day.

With a squad nicely balanced between experienced heads and younger players with potential, hopes were high of at least a play-off push during 1995/96. However, given all that went on at Dean Court during the ‘90s, this campaign was one to forget as injuries and inconsistency meant Machin’s men finished in the bottom half – never in relegation trouble, but by the same token, not capable of making an impression near the top.

By March 1996, with Machin seemingly keen to shape his squad for the following season, he made three deadline day moves as back then, there was no window, just a March 31 cut-off point for transfers.

The first acquisition saw a return to Dean Court for Poole-born midfielder Paul Mitchell, although second time round, he made just four appearances before leaving to join Torquay. Machin further strengthened his options in the Cherries’ engine-room when Ian Cox swapped Crystal Palace for the south coast.

Cox wasn’t the only Eagle to join Bournemouth as goalkeeper Jimmy Glass would also ink terms on a move. Both would become first team regulars in the final six weeks of 1995/96 and started off in possession of the number eight and one jersey the following year.

This proved to be a season in which financial problems almost saw Bournemouth go bust, but a fan-led consortium somehow saved the club and just 12 months after nearly going under, they ran out under the Twin Towers of Wembley.

Although the importance of what is now known as the Football League Trophy is often downplayed, the carrot dangled to clubs is a day out on football’s grandest stage. After defeating Leyton Orient, Bristol City, Luton and Walsall, the Cherries would play Grimsby Town with Cox, who by this time had been converted to a defensive role, leading the side out onto the hallowed turf, while Glass donned the gloves.

After John Bailey had put Bournemouth a goal up, Grimsby equalised through Paul Groves, who would later become manager here at Dean Court. Into golden-goal extra-time, Grimsby scored the all-important winner when Kingsley Black’s shot crept over the line to send the Mariners’ faithful into raptures, although the goal was later credited as a Glass own goal.

When the regular season finished, Glass was one of several players to be released by Machin and he ended up at Swindon Town. Cox, still captaining Bournemouth, almost guided his side to the Division Three play-offs, but a 0-0 draw on 1998/99's final day at home to Wrexham, saw the Cherries’ promotion dream die.

At the same time, Glass, by now on loan at Carlisle United, wrote himself into footballing folklore as he scored an injury-time winner to keep the Cumbrians in the Football League. Despite his notoriety, Glass’ career stuttered and after short spells at several Football League clubs, he retired at just 27.

After becoming a taxi driver and moving into the local grassroots scene, Glass become compere for Bournemouth’s matchday hospitality, before he was appointed players’ liaison officer in 2016.

Meanwhile, Cox’s career went in an altogether different direction as the millennium approached. With the role of a centre half changing as the game evolved, Cox, with his athletic build and an ability to play with the ball at his feet, was a valuable and in demand commodity.

It was therefore of little surprise when he left Bournemouth for Burnley in 2000 as the cost of gambling on winning promotion the year before caught up with the club. A hike in ticket prices and a failed loyalty scheme saw attendances plummet, while the club were still paying back a creditors voluntary agreement from the 1997 brush with oblivion.

With this in mind, the reported £500,000 fee for French striker Roger Boli, who turned out to be a failure, meant the necessity for book balancing. Before the 1998/99 season had finished, Jamie Vincent was sold to Huddersfield, while Cox and Northern Ireland international Steve Robinson followed suit less than a year later.

Cox flourished at Turf Moor, although his release on a free transfer three years later was something of a surprise. He moved onto Gillingham and amassed over 150 appearances for the Kent side, and went to the 2006 World Cup with Trinidad & Tobago.

Remaining in Kent, Cox left Priestfield in 2009 and enjoyed a brief spell at Maidstone, with his boots hung up a year later.

A spell in management at Whistable Town followed, although like Glass, he has returned to AFC Bournemouth, now working within the club’s Community Sports Trust.

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