AFC Bournemouth (// (listen)) is a professional association football club based in Kings Park, Boscombe, a suburb of Bournemouth, Dorset, England. The team compete in the Championship, the second tier of the English football league system. Formed in 1899 as Boscombe, the club adopted their current name in 1971. Nicknamed "The Cherries", Bournemouth have played their home games at Dean Court since 1910.
|Full name||AFC Bournemouth|
|Nickname(s)||The Cherries, Boscombe|
|2020–21||Championship, 6th of 24|
Their home colours are red and black striped shirts, with black shorts and socks, inspired by that of Italian club A.C. Milan.
Initially known as Boscombe, the club competed in regional football leagues before going up from the Hampshire League to the Southern League in 1920. Now known as Bournemouth & Boscombe Athletic, they were elected into the Football League in 1923. They remained in the Third Division South for 35 years, winning the Third Division South Cup in 1946. Placed in the newly reorganised Third Division in 1958, they suffered relegation in 1970, but would win an immediate promotion in 1970–71. Relegated back into the Fourth Division in 1975, Bournemouth were promoted again in 1981–82 and after lifting the Associate Members' Cup in 1984 would go on to win the Third Division title in 1986–87. They spent three seasons in the second tier but entered administration in 1997 and ended up back in the fourth tier with relegation in 2002, though immediately gained promotion by winning the play-offs in 2003.
Bournemouth entered administration for a second time and were relegated back into League Two in 2008, but ended the year by appointing Eddie Howe as manager. Under Howe's stewardship, Bournemouth won three promotions in six years to win a place in the first tier of English football for the first time. This was achieved with a second-place finish in League Two in 2009–10, a second-place finish in League One in 2012–13 and a Championship title in 2014–15. The club remained in the Premier League for five seasons before suffering relegation in 2020.
Although the exact date of the club's foundation is not known, there is proof that it was formed in the autumn of 1899 out of the remains of the older Boscombe St. John's Institute Football Club The club was originally known as Boscombe Football Club. The first president was Mr. J. C. Nutt.
In their first season, 1899–1900, Boscombe competed in the Bournemouth and District Junior League. They also played in the Hants Junior Cup. During the first two seasons, they played on a football pitch in Castlemain Avenue, Pokesdown. From their third season, the team played on a pitch in King's Park. In the 1905–06 season, Boscombe graduated to senior amateur football.
In 1910, the club was granted a long lease over some wasteland next to Kings Park as the club's football ground by local businessman J.E. Cooper-Dean. With their own ground, named Dean Court after the benefactor, the club continued to thrive and dominated the local football scene. The same year the club signed its first professional player Baven Penton.
Around about this time, the club obtained their nickname "The Cherries". There are two leading explanations of how the club gained the nickname: from the cherry-red striped shirts that the team played in, and, perhaps less plausible, because Dean Court was built adjacent to the Cooper-Dean estate, which, it is believed, may have contained many cherry trees.
For the first time, during the 1913–14 season, the club competed in the FA Cup. The club's progress, however, was halted in 1914 with the outbreak of World War I, and Boscombe returned to the Hampshire League.
In 1920, the Third Division of the Football League was formed, and Boscombe were promoted to the Southern League, finding moderate success.
Bournemouth & Boscombe Athletic
To make the club more representative of the district, the name was changed to Bournemouth & Boscombe Athletic Football Club in 1923. During the same year, the club was elected to the newly expanded Third Division South. The first league match was at Swindon Town on 25 August 1923, which Bournemouth lost 3–1. The first league game at Dean Court was also against Swindon, where Bournemouth gained their first league point after a 0–0 draw.
Initially, Bournemouth struggled in the Football League but eventually established themselves as a Third Division club. Bournemouth remains on the records as the longest continuous members of the Third Division.
As a league club, Bournemouth had to wait until after the Second World War before winning their first trophy. This was accomplished as they beat Walsall in the Third Division (South) Cup in the final at Stamford Bridge.
The club adopted the AFC Bournemouth name in 1971, with the intention that the club would appear first in alphabetical lists of English clubs. A year later, the club adopted a new badge as a symbol of the club's progress. The stripes in the background were based on the club shirt, while in the foreground is the profile of a player heading the ball, in honour of Dickie Dowsett, a prolific scorer for the club in the 1950s and 1960s.
Their red and black kit, introduced in 1971, was based on the A.C. Milan strip. This was the era of Ted MacDougall, a prolific goalscorer who, in an FA Cup tie in November 1971, scored nine goals in an 11–0 win against Margate.
Late 20th century
Bournemouth recorded a famous victory over holders Manchester United in the FA Cup in January 1984, while they were managed by Harry Redknapp. The club won its second piece of silverware by winning the Associate Members' Cup in its inaugural season, beating Hull City 2–1 at Boothferry Park on 24 May 1984 in the final.
Redknapp took Bournemouth into the second tier of the English league for the first time in their history as Third Division champions in 1987. After comfortably surviving in their first season in the Second Division, Bournemouth made a serious challenge for promotion to the top flight in the 1988–89 season; they ultimately fell away after a poor run late in the season, but their eventual finish of 12th place remained their highest-ever in the Football League until the 2013–14 season.
On 5 May 1990, the final day of the 1989–90 season, Leeds United had the chance to win the Second Division and gain promotion into the First Division by beating Bournemouth at Dean Court. Some United fans had already caused trouble in the town during the morning and the atmosphere was tense as Leeds won the match by a single goal. Combined with the results of other matches, this meant that Leeds were promoted while Bournemouth were relegated. The violence and destruction by visitors to Bournemouth continued over the holiday weekend, causing more than £1 million worth of damage and injury to opposing fans and police officers. The town's Daily Echo newspaper reported that "spectators, including many young children, had to run to safety as missiles were hurled and riot police waded in to control the crowds." The matter was raised in Parliament by one of the town's MPs. Financially, the Leeds trouble affected the club for more than a decade, as Bournemouth were prevented by local police from staging home games on Bank Holidays (traditionally a popular day for football) until a game against Shrewsbury Town on 21 April 2003.
Redknapp remained at the club for two more seasons, both of which ended with the club falling three points short of the play-offs. However, mounting financial pressures caused him to resign his position at the end of the 1991–92 season, and he subsequently rejoined former club West Ham United as a coach. He was replaced by Tony Pulis, who built a much cheaper squad that could only manage two consecutive 17th-place finishes before Pulis walked out of the club, blaming financial pressures.
Bournemouth went the first few months of the 1994–95 season without a permanent manager in place, and a dreadful start saw them bottom of the table for much of the first half of the season. Despite a minor upturn in form when Mel Machin was appointed as manager, they looked highly unlikely to survive, given that there were five relegation spots in Division Two for that season due to league reconstruction. However, a late run of form combined with collapses by relegation rivals Cambridge United and Plymouth Argyle saw them survive on the last day of the season by two points.
Machin ultimately remained in charge for six years, most of which were marked by unremarkable mid-table finishes. The 1998–99 season proved to be arguably the highlight of his tenure, with the club making a serious playoff challenge for most of the season, but ultimately falling short and finishing seventh. However, a drop to 16th place in the 1999–2000 season followed by a poor start to the following season saw Machin removed from his position and given the role of director of football.
Early 21st century
Sean O'Driscoll was promoted from the coaching staff in place of Mel Machin at the start of the 2000–01 season. In O'Driscoll's first season as manager, Bournemouth narrowly missed out on the Division Two playoffs but were relegated a year later in the new stadium (in the early part of the 2001–02 season, they played their home matches at Dorchester Town's ground while their own stadium was being redeveloped). The board kept faith in O'Driscoll and they were rewarded with promotion via the Division Three playoffs in 2002–03. The club became the first to score five goals at the Millennium Stadium when they beat Lincoln City 5–2 in the 2002–03 Division Three play-off final with goals from Steve Fletcher, Carl Fletcher (2), Stephen Purches and Garreth O'Connor. Under O'Driscoll, Bournemouth narrowly missed out on the play-offs for the 2003–04 and 2004–05 seasons, and just avoided relegation in the 2005–06 season.
Long-serving player James Hayter scored the fastest league hat-trick in English Football League history during the 2003–04 season. The Cherries were leading 3–0 against Wrexham thanks to goals from Stephen Purches, Warren Cummings and Warren Feeney when Hayter was brought onto the field as a substitute. With 86 minutes gone, Hayter managed to net three goals in the space of two minutes and 17 seconds, making the final score 6–0 to Bournemouth.
In September 2006, with the team in eighth in the League, Sean O'Driscoll left to become manager of Doncaster Rovers. He was replaced by Kevin Bond.
Decline and administration (2008–2009)
In February 2008, Bournemouth were forced into administration, suffering a ten-point deduction which put them in relegation trouble. Bournemouth had debts of around £4 million and almost went out of business completely. The off-field uncertainty continued throughout the season, with only one, ultimately unsuccessful, bid for the club accepted, and the club ended the season being relegated to League Two.
Ahead of the 2008–09 season, the team's future in the Football League was put into doubt when the league threatened to block Bournemouth's participation in League Two, due to problems with the club's continuing administration and change in ownership. The league ordered both Bournemouth and Rotherham United to demonstrate that they could fulfil all of their fixtures and find a way out of administration, eventually allowing the club to compete with a 17-point penalty for failing to follow the Football League insolvency rules. The new company was also ordered to pay unsecured creditors the amount offered at the time of the original CVA (around ten pence in the pound) within two years.
Early into the season, manager Bond was sacked and was replaced by former player Jimmy Quinn, who would himself leave the club only a few months later. Former player Eddie Howe took over as manager with the club still ten points adrift at the bottom of the league and initially on a caretaker basis, becoming the youngest manager in the Football League at the age of 31.
At the end of 2008, it was announced that local businessman Adam Murry had completed the purchase of 50% of the club's shares from previous chairman, Paul Baker. However, in January 2009, Murry missed the deadline to buy Baker's shares.
In the final home game of the 2008–09 season, the Cherries guaranteed their Football League status by beating Grimsby Town 2–1 with a winning goal ten minutes from time by Bournemouth's Steve Fletcher, sparking wild celebrations after a fairytale ending to "The Great Escape." They finished their troubled season with their best away win in 30 years with a 4–0 victory at Morecambe.
In June 2009, a consortium including Adam Murry finally took over Bournemouth. The consortium included Jeff Mostyn, former vice-chairman Steve Sly, Neill Blake and former Dorchester Town chairman Eddie Mitchell.
Rise to the Premier League (2009–2015)
Howe's first full season in charge brought success as Bournemouth finished second in League Two to earn promotion with two games to spare. Howe subsequently left the club for Burnley during the following season; his successor, another former Bournemouth player, Lee Bradbury, led Bournemouth to the League One play-offs. The two-legged semi-final against Huddersfield Town finished 3–3 after extra time, and Huddersfield went through the final by winning the penalty shoot-out 4–2. Bradbury was unable to lead Bournemouth to another promotion challenge in the 2011–12 Football League One, placing 11th after a season of indifferent results, and was replaced by youth team coach Paul Groves for the final games of the season.
Groves remained in charge at the start of the 2012–13 season, only to be sacked in October 2012 following a start which left the club near the bottom of the table. Eddie Howe returned as manager, and not only did he pull the club away from their early-season relegation battle, they achieved promotion to the Championship, returning to the second-tier of English football for the first time since 1990. The club also revealed a new club crest. After a promising start to life in the Championship, the club was handed a fourth Round FA Cup tie with Premier League club Liverpool which ended in a 2–0 loss. Bournemouth finished their first season back in the Championship in tenth place, their highest ever position in the Football League.
On 25 October 2014, Bournemouth won 8–0 away at St. Andrew's against Birmingham City. It was the first time that the Cherries had ever scored eight goals in a league game and their largest winning margin in the league (not counting a 10–0 win over Northampton Town in September 1939, which was discounted after the league was abandoned due to the Second World War). The club followed up this success with a 2–1 victory over Premier League side West Bromwich Albion in the League Cup, reaching the quarter-finals of the competition for the first time. Bournemouth were again drawn against Liverpool but lost 3–1. The club spent most of the 2014–15 season near the top of the table, and a 3–0 win away at Charlton Athletic on the final day of the season was enough to clinch the Championship title and a first-ever promotion to the top flight of English football.
Premier League era (2015–2020)
In Bournemouth's first season in the Premier League, the team was beset by a number of crippling injuries, including to Callum Wilson, star striker from the previous season. The team struggled for most of the first half of the season but an upturn in form during the second half of the season saw a reversal of fortunes. Bournemouth eventually finished 16th in the league, avoiding relegation.
The club was widely tipped to suffer second season syndrome, but the 2016–17 season was largely successful. Despite a weak start, which saw them in the relegation zone for the first three weeks, the team quickly recovered and went on to finish 9th. Star loan player Nathan Aké was signed permanently from Chelsea for a club-record fee in June 2017, reportedly in the region of £20 million. Despite another slow start in 2017–18, a run of good form through late December and January saw them steer clear of the relegation zone, and earn Howe his second Premier League Manager of the Month award. Bournemouth went on to gain 19 points from losing positions in the second half of the season – a Premier League record – helping the team finish in 12th place.
The 2018–19 season saw the club break their transfer record again on Jefferson Lerma during the summer, and contrasting with the previous season, the club had a strong start, sitting in 6th place after the first 12 games. However, their form regressed for the remainder of the season due to many injury problems. In the end, Bournemouth finished in 14th place, securing a 5th season in the Premier League.
A bright start to the 2019–20 season saw the team sitting in 7th place at the beginning of November. However, continuing injury problems and a poor run of results followed, and the club dropped into the relegation zone in January. Poor performances continued after the COVID-19 pandemic had interrupted the season, with key losses to Manchester City and Southampton putting the club on the brink. Despite a 3–1 victory over Everton on the final day, the club's relegation was confirmed due to results elsewhere. On 1 August 2020, Howe left the club by mutual consent, ending his 8-year second spell as manager.
Financial Fair Play violation and punishment
In 2016, Bournemouth were found guilty of violating the Football League's Financial Fair Play regulations during 2014–15, the season it secured promotion to the Premier League. The club's over-spend broke the 'maximum deviation', with a £38.3 million financial loss in 2014–15. This followed a loss of £10.3 million in 2013–2014. The club was originally fined £7.6 million by the Football League, but subsequently negotiated a settlement with a fine of £4.75 million for breaching Financial Fair Play rules. The decision followed months of speculation and investigation about the club breaking Football League regulations.
Return to the Championship (2020–)
On 8 August, Jason Tindall, a former Bournemouth player and Howe's longtime assistant, was appointed as manager. Nathan Aké also left the club, signing for Manchester City for a reported club-record £41 million fee. Despite sitting second in mid-December, Tindall was sacked on 3 February 2021 after a run of only 1 win in 8 games, which saw the team fall to 6th in the table. He was replaced by first team coach Jonathan Woodgate, initially as caretaker. The club finished the season in 6th and entered the playoffs, but lost 3–2 to Brentford on aggregate in the semi-final.
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
- Vincent Kitcher
- Harry Kinghorn (twice)
- Leslie Knighton
- Frank Richards
- Billy Birrell
- Bob Crompton
- Charlie Bell
- Harry Lowe
- Jack Bruton
- Freddie Cox (twice)
- Bill McGarry
- Reg Flewin
- John Bond
- Trevor Hartley
- Tony Nelson
- John Benson
- Alec Stock
- David Webb
- Don Megson
- Harry Redknapp
- Tony Pulis
- Mel Machin
- Sean O'Driscoll
- Kevin Bond
- Jimmy Quinn
- Eddie Howe (twice)
- Lee Bradbury
- Paul Groves
- Jason Tindall
The team's colours have varied slightly throughout the club's history. Starting off playing in red and white stripes, Bournemouth have also played in all-red shirts, red with white sleeves, and mostly, since 1990, in red and black stripes. A predominantly red shirt was chosen for the 2004–05 and 2005–06 seasons before a return to the stripes for the 2006–07 season due to fan demand.
Since 2017 Bournemouth's kit has been manufactured by Umbro. Previously it has been made by Umbro (1974–78, 1983–86), Adidas (1978–81), Osca (1982–83), Henson (1986–87), Scoreline (1987–90), Ellgren (1990–92), Matchwinner (1993–95), Le Coq Sportif (1995–96), Patrick (1996–2000), Super League (200-01), TFG Sportswear (2001–03), Bourne Red (2003–08), Carbrini Sportswear (2008–11, 2014–15), Fila (2011–14) and JD Sports (2015–17).
Their shirts are currently sponsored by MSP Capital. From the 2017–2018 season up until the 2019-20 season, the Mansion logo appeared on the left shirt sleeve of Bournemouth's shirts. Before this, sponsors have been Reg Heynes Toyota (1980–82, 1983–85), Coopers Beers (1985–87), Canberra Homes (1987–88), Nolan (1988–89), A1 Windscreens (1990–92), Exchange & Mart (1992–93), Frizzell (1993–97), Seward (1997–2006), Focal Point (2006–08, 2011–12), Carbrini Sportswear (2008–11), and Energy Consulting (2012–15).
According to a recent poll named 'The League of Love and Hate' in August 2019, Bournemouth supporters named near neighbours Southampton to be their biggest rivals, with Portsmouth, Brighton & Hove Albion and Reading following.
Statistics and records
Steve Fletcher holds the record for Bournemouth appearances, having played 726 first-team matches between 1992 and 2013. He also holds the record for most League appearances, making 628. Ron Eyre holds the record for the most goals 229 in a Bournemouth shirt having played 337 first-team matches between 1924 and 1933. Ted MacDougall holds the record for the most goals scored in a single season, 42 in the 1970–71 season in the Fourth Division.
The highest transfer fee received for a Bournemouth player is £41 million, from Manchester City for Nathan Aké in August 2020, while the highest transfer fee paid by the club to date was for Jefferson Lerma from Levante in August 2018, for £25 million.
The club's highest ever league finish so far is ninth place in the Premier League, achieved in the 2016–17 season.
- Competitive, professional matches only, as of April 2021
Record transfer fees paid
|1||CM||Jefferson Lerma||Levante||£25,000,000||August 2018|
|2||CB||Nathan Aké||Chelsea||£20,000,000||June 2017|
|3||ST||Dominic Solanke||Liverpool||£19,000,000||January 2019|
|4||CM||Philip Billing||Huddersfield Town||£15,000,000||July 2019|
|5||LW||Jordon Ibe||Liverpool||£15,000,000||July 2016|
|6||LW||Arnaut Danjuma||Club Brugge||£13,700,000||August 2019|
|7||LB||Lloyd Kelly||Bristol City||£13,000,000||May 2019|
Record transfer fees received
|1||CB||Nathan Aké||Manchester City||£41,000,000||August 2020|
|2||CB||Tyrone Mings||Aston Villa||£20,000,000||July 2019|
|3||ST||Callum Wilson||Newcastle United||£20,000,000||September 2020|
|4||GK||Aaron Ramsdale||Sheffield United||£18,500,000||August 2020|
|5||RM||Matt Ritchie||Newcastle United||£12,000,000||July 2016|
|6||ST||Lys Mousset||Sheffield United||£10,000,000||July 2019|
|7||ST||Benik Afobe||Wolverhampton Wanderers||£10,000,000||June 2018|
- Football League Championship (level two)
- Champions: 2014–15
- Football League Third Division South/Football League Third Division/Football League One (level three)
- Champions: 1986–87
- Runners-up: 1947–48, 2012–13
- Football League Fourth Division/Football League Third Division/Football League Two (level four)
- Runners-up: 1970–71, 2009–10
- Play-off winners: 2003
- Promoted: 1981–82
- Southern Football League
- Runners-up: 1922–23
- Associate Members' Cup/Football League Trophy
- Winners: 1983–84
- Runners-up: 1997–98
- Football League Third Division South Cup
- It is sometimes reported that the club's full name is Athletic Football Club Bournemouth.
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