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Supporter blogs

Global Cherries: South coast to Sydney


AFC Bournemouth AFC Bournemouth

The latest instalment from our international fan blog comes from Ian Hensman, an exiled AFC Bournemouth fan now living in Sydney, Australia.

I'm going to start this supporters' blog with a trip back in time, to the 1980s when I lived in Christchurch, Dorset.

One Christmas my parents bought me a little radio (and importantly for them some headphones!). I loved that radio. During the week it was set to Radio 1, but on a Saturday afternoon I'd have moved the dial to Radio 2 to listen to the football. The reception ebbed and flowed, it went loud, it went quiet, it crackled, but the voice of Peter Jones and Jimmy Armfield would bring me the sounds and commentary of that afternoon's Division One game.

Every week Peter Jones would start of the second half with the same words, words that would fire my imagination of intrepid explorers listening on their radios in exotic places, the words, 'we welcome the listeners of the BBC World Service to...'. 

It still sends a tingle down my spine today.

Every now and then during a game, Peter would say hello to someone somewhere - forces in the Falklands one week, people in Australia another - all of who were using new technology and football to maintain their bond with back home.

Fast forward 30 years, I left the Bournemouth region to move to Australia. For the first few weeks sat in Sydney surrounded by boxes, I had no friends, but through homesickness and some tough personal times, over the past nine years the mighty Cherries have always, unknowingly for me, been there. They have provided me with enjoyment, reassurance, ecstasy and for my Dorset-based family an answer of what to buy me for Christmas!

So, I’d like to use this post to thank the BBC World Service for firing my imagination, and to those people in my childhood imagination hunched over the World Services, cheering their team. You trod a path that we (exiles from Bournemouth) still follow. Those £10 POMs were the pioneers, without them, the handful of us who gather at all hours to watch games in pubs all around the world perhaps wouldn't have this connection home that we do today.

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