Friday, 25 May 2018

Baily - a product of AFCB goes his separate way

I was disappointed to hear that Ryan Allsop and Baily Cargill were among six players released by the Cherries. It may be a difficult task in itself to develop players to a good league standard, but bringing them through to the first team is starting to look an extremely problematic hurdle for AFCB, despite all the efforts to establish the club's youth players into Premier League players.
Baily Cargill is off to pastures new along with some of his AFCB colleagues.
Baily and Ryan were joined by Ollie Harfield, Sam Matthews, Patrick O'Flaherty and Joe Quigley. No doubt AFCB will say these players will have every chance of finding new employment in the lower leagues, and that AFCB had taken them as far as it could. But how good do you need to be at 21 or 22 to be kept on by a Premier League team? You have to be exceptional I'd say and while Jack Simpson has seen his career flourish at Dean Court, it must make him worry that he has very little time to try and break into the first team before he will also be moved on.

In the last decade it has become more difficult for players that have been trained from the youth teams to find their way into the first team. AFCB thus becomes a feeder club for lower league teams that want to pick up players that have been taught in the AFCB style of football, but releasing them for free may not seem a great business, but it does give these players a real education in the game with a good name behind them to move on. If the Cherries can use the vacancies to bring in even better talent then fans might not see it as such a waste, but we are yet to see enough players being developed to play in the first team.
Whether the new training facilities being built at Poole will change this we will have to wait and see. It surely has to be an aim for AFCB to keep players that have potential to reach the top and not simply release them. It is a business though that is becoming more ruthless I fear. I hope the released players do soon find good contracts and a future in the game.

Thursday, 24 May 2018

Is it goodbye to Gradel?

Max Gradel has had a season long loan at Toulouse in Ligue 1 and has been relatively successful with his goal haul of nine from 28 games. But the players time at AFCB could well be over now with Eddie Howe wanting to freshen up the squad with new players, and with Gradel not having been part of Howe's playing team for some time there can be little hope of AFCB fans seeing Max in red and black again.
Will Max continue playing in France?
Toulouse wanted to take Gradel on loan with an option to buy him at the end of the loan spell and at first the Cherries argued against this, but a deal is thought to be in place for him. Bournemouth won't expect to raise much money for the 30 year old, but he has been a player that was a big favourite for many at Dean Court.

Gradel was one of Eddie Howe's first signings in the Premier League in 2015 and I expected Max to be one of the stars for AFCB as they took on the best teams in the land. But in that first August, he damaged his cruciate ligament and missed most of the season. I will remember his goal against Swansea City at home though, after his comeback, when he ran half the length of the pitch to hug Eddie Howe on the touchline. 

Max had a difficult time at AFCB and while he faded from the line ups in Bournemouth's second Premier League season, he was no doubt pleased to get the opportunity to return to France last summer. While it was not Saint-Etienne, he went back to Toulouse who were pleased enough to give him another go in Ligue 1.


AFCB have been regularly updating fans on the performances of Max overseas and he has been playing fairly well again. There will be no surprise if he plays out the rest of his career in France if AFCB as expected draw a line under his second spell at the Cherries.

Max plays the last play-off game of the season for Toulouse against AC Ajaccio on Sunday 27 May to try and keep Toulouse in Ligue 1. Toulouse won the first leg 0-3 and Max scored in the first play-off match. He is currently Toulouse's top scorer on eight goals.

Premier League Football Fan Survey

Jack Stansfield is studying a master’s degree in sport and exercise psychology at Northumbria University and he has created a thesis project that looks at Premier League fans’ team identification, i.e. how well they support and identify with their team. He needs fans of all Premier League football clubs fill out a relatively short questionnaire of 37 questions looking at team identification and satisfaction with life; it should take no longer than 10 minutes. If you can participate please do by clicking this link

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Is Howe battling to keep AFCB's identity?

In the post-match comments with Eddie Howe following the Burnley match, he said it would be a difficult transfer window this summer as the club needs to do business, but by doing that "it's also easy to make changes and lose our identity."
Howe knows the transfer window will determine
ultimately how successful AFCB can be. 
The style of play Bournemouth have is something that Howe has close to his heart and he does not want to loose the determination of his players that propelled them up the leagues. He knows that to replace some of the stars that have got the Cherries to the Premier League will be the next challenge, and he needs those older players to teach the newcomers the interactions that AFCB have developed, and to carry them through, in turn, when they play games.

Partnerships like Daniels and Pugh, and Arter and Surman, have taken many seasons to get to the understandings that these players have when they are on the pitch. To make changes could upset the flow of the team. But players like Tyrone Mings and Nathan AkΓ© have been around the club for a while now, and Lewis Cook and Ryan Fraser have broken through. The headache for Howe has been that it hasn't worked for everyone he had high hopes for. Lewis Grabban and Benik Afobe are the latest strikers that have fallen out of favour. We don't yet know if Lys Mousset, Emerson Hyndman or Brad Smith will make the grade.
At the same time Eddie is going to add more fresh faces, and will only have so much time he can dedicate to new additions and players that have not yet grasped the full identity of how he wants the team to play. It will mean that some who have not picked up the ideas will surely go out on loan or get left behind. Howe has to equate how many new signings he can bring in without upsetting the balance.

I don't think Howe has any doubt about how he wants the team to play, he is just worried about bringing in more players that don't fit the system straight away. Seeing how long it has taken Ibe to find his feet at AFCB, Howe wants to make sure his recruiting is perfect to not waste any time on getting the next batch of AFCB players fully on his wavelength.

Just A Fan's Analysis
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In other news, AFCB look to be interested in Leeds Utd left back Tom Pearce who is in Toulon for England's U21 team this summer, reports Inside Football.

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Has Arter got a future at Bournemouth?

The news that Lewis Cook has signed a new deal at AFCB may mean that Eddie Howe is agreeable to letting one of his long-serving midfielders go. Harry Arter may well have decided that his career will not be continued at the Cherries having seen his place in the team taken by Lewis Cook.
Will Arter be at Dean Court next season?
The signs that Harry has not been happy this season are all too easy to read. He has been suffering with an Achilles heel problem all season and he has not been able to play with his characteristic intensity that sees him press the opposition into mistakes. More recently we have seen him hand over his football academy to Simon Francis which may be the first sign of him severing links with the local area and when he was forced out of the team he did say he would have to speak with Eddie if he did not play before the end of the season in the closing games.

Things might have been made more urgent if West Ham United had not sacked their manager this month. Having expressed an interest in Harry, West Ham have been seen as the most likely destination for the player.

Harry has still managed to get a cal up for the Irish squad despite his problems, but it is at AFCB where he will need to decide this summer if he wants to fight for his place.

Harry was seen coming on the pitch at Dean Court after the final whistle of the Swansea City match. He acknowledged the chant from the North stand singing "Number 8, Number 8, Harry Arter", but I felt that it was almost a goodbye chant from the fans who sang it with a slightly sad feel to it. The emotional attachment to Harry runs deep with the fans knowing his personal tragedy that he and his partner have gone through and Harry's fight to get back from non-league to the football league. His desire to play in the higher divisions was achieved at Bournemouth and he and Eddie Howe go back a long way.

So, if Harry does decide to move on it will be a huge personality lost from the club. There won't be another Harry Arter.

Premier League Football Fan Survey
Jack Stansfield is studying a master’s degree in sport and exercise psychology at Northumbria University and he has created a thesis project that looks at Premier League fans’ team identification, i.e. how well they support and identify with their team. He needs fans of all Premier League football clubs fill out a relatively short questionnaire of 37 questions looking at team identification and satisfaction with life; it should take no longer than 10 minutes. If you can participate please do by clicking this link

Monday, 21 May 2018

Do AFCB have to think big to be big?

Eddie Howe has said that the club needs to grow and not just on the field, but also with its infrastructure as the viability of playing Premier League games at Dean Court cannot have a long term future. The new stadium may not be on the scale of Spurs' or what Chelsea have in mind, but the squeeze to get 12,500 fans into Dean Court has to be addressed and sooner rather than later.
Eddie Howe wants a bigger stadium but how long will he have to wait for it?
The revenues that could be earned will be beneficial for the club in the long term and while season tickets have been frozen for next season, the gates should be something that contribute to the club's wealth and should not be holding it back when more fans want to come and see Bournemouth play. It is disappointing that having had three years in the top flight that AFCB still haven't enlarged the capacity of the ground, and more people than ever are being deprived of a chance to see Premier League football in the locality.

It's been home this millennium but Dean Court has already been out grown by the club.
Bournemouth do have to think big now as they are in the top 30 clubs in the world in terms of turnover. A 20,000 seat stadium will at least put more weight behind the club's standing, and while it could mean that AFCB have to go a year or two when they don't bring in as many players as they would like to, I don't see that as a major hindrance to AFCB if Howe does not want to make many changes anyway.

The new stadium has been talked of for a couple of season now though, and the fans need to see something in plan and on the ground. We know it will be in Kings Park if the planning goes through without trouble, but there are issues that need to be solved like traffic and access for fans on foot and by public transport. Eddie Howe and the fans know what we want and what we need, but getting it in place seems to take far longer than any of really want. While the club is in the Premier League, surely this is the time to sort the infrastructure out.

And for those who suggest AFCB could be relegated next season while they are in the middle of building a 20,000 seat stadium, wouldn't you rather see the club trying to progress rather than staying at 12,500 and relegated with a lack of ambition? No one wants the club to spend silly money on a new stadium that makes it financially unstable, but AFCB don't need to break the bank to get what they need. 

I do wonder with Eddie Howe speaking out about the need for the new stadium if there is some who are blocking the move, either at the club or at the local council level. It looks like pressure might have to be applied to get to the day when we see the fist shovel go into the ground on the New Dean Court.

In other news, Baily Cargil was on the losing side as Partick Thistle Lost 0-1 (Agg 1-3) to Livingston in the Scottish Premiership play-off.

Sunday, 20 May 2018

Top southern team should only be the start of AFCB's ambitions

The fans at Bournemouth certainly recognise that the Cherries have out done all the other south coast clubs this season. They may not have beaten Southampton in matches or got a double over Brighton, but they have finished higher in the table and where are Pompey?
Top of the lot!
Banter aside, it is progress that AFCB have managed to climb above the other south coast clubs as it has been too many years where they have been seen as the little side and now they are not the poor relation, but the ones setting the standard for others to come after. The difficulty will be in trying to make it a regular outcome to finish top in the south, and if Eddie Howe can do that AFCB will become a much more respected club. Then, maybe, some of the local games will develop more into derby games, which I think we all want.

Bournemouth have to be successful to become a team that are seen as a big club on the south coast. Being in the Premier League is a big step in itself, but repeating the feat of beating Southampton and Brighton has to be the minimum every season at this level. It is not going to be easy with Brighton having had a great season and now knowing exactly what they need to survive, while Southampton have had a scare, and as long as they make some right choices in the summer, they are going to be a stronger side next time around.


It all comes down to recruitment for me. Eddie Howe asked for funds to get AFCB to the next level, and if he needs that to get the club into the top 10, I expect he will be given it. AFCB only played 21 players this season in the Premier League which is the fewest of any club and he needs to broaden the base of the quality at the club, as injuries have often left him having to play people out of position.

If Howe can get to the stage where he has two players that are as good as one another in the same position, they will become stronger and they'll need to be to beat the other south coast clubs in 2018/19.

Saturday, 19 May 2018

Liverpool target signs new Cherries' deal

It was in July 2016 that Lewis Cook first signed for the Cherries and Leeds Utd were loathed to let him go. The lure of the Premier League was too much though and a chance to work with Eddie Howe was something that Lewis clearly looked forward to, but with his strong playing performance in 2017/18 and England call ups, AFCB needed to act fast to give him an improved contract to prevent any interest building in him over the summer.
Lewis delights Eddie Howe and will become a centre-piece of AFCB's team
having signed a new four-year deal.
This is a big four-year deal for Lewis Cook and AFCB. The club has tied-up a player who is likely to become an England regular in the next few years and by sealing the deal of such a quality player it will help other players looking to get to that standard believe that they can do so at AFCB.

Eddie Howe has a fondness for young English players who he can develop and improve and Lewis fits the bill. Building a team around him and Nathan AkΓ© will surely be the mainstay of the Bournemouth team going forward. Finding a central midfielder of equal promise and attracting them to the club will be something that we may see solved this summer. Cook has played well mainly with Dan Gosling, but has also played several games with Andrew Surman and has not really been out of the side for any length of time since December such has been Cook's consistency.


To do that while all the excitement of England call ups was going around shows what a great talent Lewis Cook is and how dedicated he is to AFCB and the game. Of all the signatures this summer there might not be a important signing, but Lewis will also know there are areas of his game that he needs to improve on for next season and if he does not go away with England, as seems to be the case, it will enable Eddie Howe to spend even more time with the midfielder to get him just right during pre-season. But Lewis Cook has already been picked to play for the England U21s in Toulon, as well as AFCB keeper Aaron Ramsdale this summer.

The new contract will be a blow to Liverpool who were said to be watching Lewis Cook, but there likelihood of signing him now has been blown out of the water, knowing that the player has already agreed terms on a better contract at AFCB.

Premier League Football Fan Survey
Jack Stansfield is studying a master’s degree in sport and exercise psychology at Northumbria University and he has created a thesis project that looks at Premier League fans’ team identification, i.e. how well they support and identify with their team. He needs fans of all Premier League football clubs fill out a relatively short questionnaire of 37 questions looking at team identification and satisfaction with life; it should take no longer than 10 minutes. If you can participate please do by clicking this link.