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Features

The Week In... March 1997

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AFC Bournemouth AFC Bournemouth

Harry Wilson last week extended his loan from Liverpool, allowing him to remain at Vitality Stadium until the end of the season.

The 23-year-old Wales international has netted seven times in 23 appearances for the Cherries in the Premier League.

With this in mind, afcb.co.uk looks back on events from an AFC Bournemouth perspective in the week Wilson was born in March 1997.

Cherries news and matches…

Saturday 22nd March 1997 – AFC Bournemouth 1-1 York City – Division Two

On the day Wilson was born, the Cherries hosted the Minstermen bidding to record a hat-trick of wins in Division Two having beaten Chesterfield and Millwall.

And Mel Machin’s team made a promising start when young striker Dave Town scored a stunning solo goal after just eight minutes.

Town weaved his way past a posse of York defenders before finishing assuredly with his right foot to register his second goal of the season.

Cherries defender Jamie Vincent and York striker Neil Tolson both saw red during an ill-tempered first half before Dave Gilbert equalised midway through the second.

A share of the spoils took the 14th-placed Cherries on to 50 points and well clear of the relegation zone.

Saturday 29th March 1997 – Watford 0-1 AFC Bournemouth – Division Two

Beaten 2-1 at Dean Court on the opening day of the season, the Cherries headed to Vicarage Road looking for revenge.

But the odds on an away win were very much against them as the Hornets were flying high near the top of the table and gunning for promotion.

However, Mel Machin’s men upset the form book and extended to five games their unbeaten run by triumphing thanks to Ian Cox’s goal.

The stylish defender outjumped the Watford defence to glance Jamie Vincent’s free-kick past Kevin Miller.

Cox’s eighth goal of the season saw him win the AFC Bournemouth golden boot, finishing one ahead of Steve Fletcher, Steve Robinson and Matt Holland.

Watford, under the management of Kenny Jackett, fell away dramatically to finish 13th but would go on to win the title the following season.

Going forward…

Just seven days after the Watford victory, James Hayter made his debut for the Cherries, the young striker coming on as a substitute in a 3-1 defeat at Peterborough.

It was the start of a glittering career for the Isle of Wight-born frontman who scored more than 100 goals for the Cherries and won four promotions with four different clubs.

Mel Machin’s team, who boasted West Ham loan star Rio Ferdinand in their ranks in 1996/97, lost one of their last six matches to finish 16th in Division Two.

In the summer of 1997, inspirational skipper Matt Holland joined Ipswich Town for a reported fee of £800,000.

In the winter of 1997, the receivers had been called in and supporters raised £35,000 at the Winter Gardens to help keep the club afloat.

The week in football…

Manchester United, who would go on to win the Premiership, triumphed 2-0 at Everton on 22nd March 1997 thanks to goals from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Eric Cantona.

Brazilian striker Oswaldo da Silva, commonly known as Baltazar, died aged 71 on 25th March 1997. He played in two World Cups for his country.

The North West dominated all four divisions of the English league with Manchester United (Premiership), Bolton (Division One), Bury (Division Two) and Wigan (Division Three) topping their respective tables at the end of March 1997. They would all go on to win the titles.

On 22nd March 1997, 19-year-old Emile Heskey, one of the hottest prospects in the top flight, scored for Leicester in a 2-2 draw at Southampton.

During Liverpool’s 2-1 win against Arsenal on 24th March 1997, Robbie Fowler was awarded a penalty after going down under a David Seaman challenge and urged referee Gerald Ashby to change his decision, something the official refused to do.

The week in news…

The English Patient won nine Oscars at the 69th Academy Awards and Mel Gibson presented Anthony Minghella with his best director gong.

BBC One’s offerings on 22nd March 1997 included Grandstand, Dad’s Army and Noel’s House Party, while the following day you could watch Airport 77, Last of the Summer Wine and Birds of a Feather.

Bill Clinton was president of the United States of America, John Major was UK Prime Minister and Pope St John Paul II was leading the Catholic Church.

Actor Milo Sussman, model Frank Rossi and Colombian tennis player Maria Herazo were all born on 22nd March 1997.

Who Do You Think You Are by the Spice Girls, a double A-side with Mama, was number one in the UK singles chart.

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