In our latest supporters blog, Brenden Guy talks about moving to San Francisco and how his bond with the Cherries has only grown stronger.
More than a decade has passed since I left my hometown of Bournemouth for America and despite the geographical distance, I have never felt closer. I attribute this to AFC Bournemouth and the unwavering community culture that it has cultivated across the world. From the brink of collapse to its meteoric rise and beyond, the club has established a resolute belief that unites us all under one simple yet powerful message:
Together, anything is possible.
Leaving home is never easy, whether to the next town over or across an entire ocean. After trading the sunny south coast for San Francisco in 2008, I found myself tightly clinging onto Bournemouth in an attempt to feel connected to the home that I had left behind. Despite the troubles facing the club at the time, I remember the optimism and excitement of watching the Cherries play in an FA Cup replay against Blyth Spartans on a live stream online, albeit one that was grainy and constantly buffering. The initial excitement soon evaporated after an unconvincing display that led to a last-minute loss against a non-league club. Times looked bleak but as we all know the story was only just beginning.
Watching Bournemouth’s subsequent success from overseas as they turned back from the precipice and climbed their way to the Premier League was uniquely special as a fan living in America. Amidst the myriad of extensive American sports coverage, I remember the day that I first saw the club’s heroics mentioned in a tiny The New York Times column as they started to make waves around the world. I felt immense pride walking around the streets of San Francisco sporting the red and black, watching a dream become reality alongside my fellow American fans. No longer were we just a small, lower league club by the seaside that Americans had never heard of, everyone around the world was starting to take notice and revel in the fairy-tale story with us.
Throughout this entire journey, there was a sense of belonging that Eddie Howe instilled not just within the players, but the fans too. Flying back home and attending games was impossible for me at the time but I still felt that I was a part of this incredible journey. The togetherness that helped bring success to the club extended far beyond the grounds of the stadium.
Just over a year ago, the Cherries added another overseas fan to their ranks with the birth of my daughter Eleanor Eve, born in Philadelphia to where we moved two years ago. Family members back in England dutifully bought her a variety of different Cherries outfits which she wears with pride every week as we watch the lads together on TV. I’m counting down the days until I can order her first official jersey and she can tell her school friends all about her beloved English football club. Along with Tess, my American wife and Cherries fan by association, I look forward to one day bringing Eleanor to her first ever live game and cheering from the stands.
Being a part of the Bournemouth fan base, no matter where you are in the world, is a special bond forged through moments of unbridled joy as well as those of soul-crushing loss. Regardless of what the future may hold, this community will continue to flourish because the club has built a legacy upon the strongest of foundations. From my adopted home here in Pennsylvania, we’ll continue to shout loudly and proudly, forever believing that together, anything really is possible.