In the latest of bi-monthly updates from our supporters around the world, Tony Alcock of the North American Cherries Fans Overseas details how he follows the club from afar, now living all the way over in Texas.
The first Cherries game I remember seeing was all the way back in 1970.
My Dad took me to the final game of the season at Gillingham, where we drew 0-0. Unfortunately that result kept the Gills up and doomed Bournemouth to relegation to Division 4 for the first time.
It was then though that things turned around. The club was sold, John Bond took over as manager, Ted Macdougall started scoring goals, and a winger named Harry Redknapp joined the team.
They played attractive, attacking football and were immediately promoted back to Division 3. It was exciting times and the team pushed immediately for promotion to Division 2.
There were memorable games in the early 1970’s and Dean Court was full, with crowds reaching 20,000 plus – how did we all fit in! Macdougall scored six goals and nine goals in two separate FA Cup games, Aston Villa were put to the sword 3-0 at Dean Court, and then over 48,000 watched the return game at Villa Park.
My Dad and I had season tickets and we went to many away games too, leaving early in the morning to watch games in Scunthorpe, Newport, Oldham, Walsall, Plymouth and more. The furthest day trip was Newcastle away in the FA Cup, where we were unfortunate to lose 2-0. The worst game was at Chesterfield where the fog came down and we could only see part of the pitch and saw none of the goals!
The next season started promisingly but we finished seventh in the league, and then the team started to break up. Manchester United signed Macdougall and Bond left for Norwich with several other key players. After another year or so we went back down for Division 4 for several seasons.
I left for University in 1979 but still followed the team from afar and went to games whenever I could. I was there when they played Sheffield United off the park at Bramall Lane when we finally were promoted back to Division 3 in 1982 and I was back at Dean Court when we beat Rotherham 2-0 in 1987 to finally, finally reach Division 2 with Harry Redknapp as manager.
I met Louise, my future wife, in 1985 and it was on my first visit to meet her family in Bolton that, co-incidentally, Bournemouth were playing there. Her Dad was a Policeman and we went to the game with him and some of his work colleagues. Bournemouth took the lead after about two minutes and I was definitely uncomfortable celebrating surrounded by these big Coppers! Alas, the lead didn’t last and we ended up losing 2-1, which was probably better for my relationship with my future in-laws!
I realised that I had definitely married the right woman though when the Bolton connection paid off in 2015! My wife’s brother managed to get me tickets for the Bournemouth vs. Bolton game where we clinched promotion to the Premier League. Again though, I was sitting with the Bolton fans and I was hard pressed to hold in my goal celebrations in our 3-0 win!
Since promotion to the Premier League I’ve only managed to see one game – home versus Newcastle last season – but that’s OK. I’ve watched Bournemouth in all four divisions now and I’m happy whatever the future holds.
I guess that the only thing I’m missing is watching the Cherries play in a Cup Final at Wembley!