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Supporter blogs

Global Cherries: Representing in the UAE


AFC Bournemouth AFC Bournemouth

The latest instalment of our international supporter blogs comes from the aptly named Wayne Pitman, who shares his experiences of him and his son Zach from the United Arab Emirates.

We will both always remember that night in April 2015 - the final home game of the season against Bolton and of course, the club were on the verge of the Premier League for the first time.

I was walking to the ground with Zach, my six-year-old son, behind a group of 25-35 year olds. One of the fans spotted Zach and had a conversation with him.

“You haven’t lived lad! You have no idea what pain we have been through following the club and now you are on the fringe of glory!

“It’s not been this easy lad, it’s not been like this in the past for sure!”

I empathised with their pain after following the Cherries as a local lad since the 80's, but nothing would detract from the excitement Zach and I had that night - this was an occasion I never dreamed I would see or experience - promotion to the Premier League.

We had been regular attendees before and during the promotion season, but by a twist of fate, we wouldn’t experience regular Premier League football as I accepted a new job in the Middle East.

So after watching the team together in the third and fourth tiers of English football, our last live game we had the chance of seeing was that first top flight fixture against Aston Villa.

We only get back in the summer now when the season had ended, but notwithstanding, Zach and I have been spreading the word in Abu Dhabi for four years now.

We don’t get to see too many people wearing the red and black stripes here in the UAE, but Zach wears his kits regularly and people recognise Bournemouth now and want to talk about them. On the odd occasion we will see a Bournemouth shirt either in Abu Dhabi or just up the road in Dubai and it’s always a great excuse to stop, chat and reminisce about the AFCB journey – both good and bad times and we see more people.

Me and Zach get to see every Bournemouth game live on TV on BEIN Sports here, which is amazing as we live 3500 miles away from the Vitality. It’s not the same as sitting amongst the 11000 faithful, but it’s our lifeline to the Cherries and we enjoy every minute - well most of them!

Who would have thought a few years back that a Cherries shirt would ever be recognised in Abu Dhabi? It’s tough being an expat supporter, but we have can have no complaints at being Bournemouth fans over the last few seasons. Zach of course still thinks that Premier League life is the norm for the Cherries and long may that current reality remain!

There’s definitely a growing fan base here in the Middle East. We love talking all things Bournemouth here in the desert and whilst we are a long way from home, we still feel connected.

It certainly isn’t a bad time for Zach to grow up supporting the Cherries!

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