Reginald McKie hails from Atlanta and, in our latest international supporter blog, talks about how he fell in love with the Cherries.
If you would have told me five years ago that I would go from a curious fan of football, with very little knowledge, to a die-hard supporter with regular appearances on Premier League Fanzone, I wouldn’t have believed you!
For me, AFC Bournemouth personifies the essence of football. The love, devotion, pride and the fighting heart of this club would inspire anyone.
I am extremely grateful to this club and for this opportunity to share how and why I support the Cherries.
My brother, an Arsenal supporter for over 25 years, had been trying to get me to follow 'soccer' for years, most recently the Premier League - and for years I wasn’t having it at all.
As you may well know, in the States the sports landscape is dominated by the NFL, NBA and MLB. With sports boxing was my first love and apart from the 2014 World Cup, I rarely watched football.
Then in 2016 my brother was visiting from New York when I finally broke down and asked him: “Ok, so which team should I follow in the Premier League, man?”
Chuckling to himself, he replied: “I know you love the underdog, so check out Bournemouth. Here, watch the documentary, look up their history and tell me what you think.”
Well, the NBC Sports documentary was, “AFC Bournemouth: Together, anything is possible” produced by Roger Bennett.
Relegations, Minus 17, liquidation, Jeff Mostyn in tears and the triumph of promotions, the full support of the community and the Cherries’ never-say-die attitude culminated in promotion to the Premier League. I was completely sold.
I became a sponge: soaking up history, tactics, following anything Eddie Howe related, and developing a genuine love and appreciation for the sport.
There’s a Bournemouth shirt in my closet for every year we were in the Premier League, a scarf and a jacket. There’s a flag on the wall of my man cave, and now I live and breathe football.
My poor family didn’t know what to do with me initially, but eventually my sons would come with me to watch matches at Fado Irish Pub, here in Atlanta.
Joining the North American Cherries Overseas Supporters (NACHOS) group on Facebook, I’d found a home where I could celebrate the club with fans in the States and from other parts of the world.
Transfer rumors, post match interviews, pre-season friendlies and banter, I became part of a much bigger family. We frequently share where to find and watch Bournemouth broadcasts in North America as well as the latest news about the club.
Still, it came as a shock when I got an email from a producer of the television show Fanzone, asking if I’d like to come on and talk about my club. Honestly, I was terrified, considering I hadn’t been a supporter for very long and didn’t consider myself anywhere close to being an expert!
You best believe I did my research before the show and made sure not to embarrass myself, the club, or the lifelong Cherries supporters!
One appearance soon became one to two appearances a month, and occasionally once or twice a week! Once, a friend who was on vacation in Singapore, saw me on the show!
Friends and family know exactly what I’m doing on Saturday or Sunday mornings: I’m at the pub or down in my man cave supporting the Cherries!
Of course, last Saturday Bournemouth 'put the paws' on West Ham to remind them exactly who we are.
I don’t care that it was a friendly, it sent a message: We’ll be back.
Up The Cherries!