Our Champion Cherries have had a largely modest history. Despite this, a smattering of curios have come to light over the years, some of which are featured below.
Only a handful of books have ever been published about AFC Bournemouth. Those described below can all be found in Bournemouth Central Library.
In 1949, the Cherries celebrated their 50th anniversary as a football club. To mark the occasion, PH Yeats penned the Golden Jubilee Handbook, which promised to give a ‘comprehensive record’ of Bournemouth and Boscombe Athletic’s first half century. Ten years later, Tony Pullein celebrated the club’s Diamond anniversary by writing Up The Cherries, an account which includes the famous 1957 run to the FA Cup quarter final. Both books look in detail at Boscombe’s journey from their formation to becoming an established Football League club and the development of Dean Court, as well as featuring many great black and white photographs.
Some 28 years passed between the publication of Pullein’s club history and the appearance of a successor. On the back of Bournemouth’s 1987 Third Division title triumph, Leigh Edwards and John Treleven compiled the Official Club History & Championship Souvenir. This long overdue update includes the John Bond era, the bleak days of the late 1970s, and the 1980s renaissance under Dave Webb and Harry Redknapp. A forerunner to their 2003 publication, the booklet also features detailed season by season statistics.
Trevor Watkin’s key role in saving Bournemouth from liquidation in 1997 provides the rich material for Cherries In The Red, the first book about Bournemouth that is not merely a club history. Regardless of your opinion of Watkin’s tenure at Dean Court, the forensic account he provides of possibly the club’s darkest hour is essential reading.
The club’s centenary in 1999 provided the inspiration for Kevin Nash to add a fourth club history in the shape of Cherries: The First Hundred Years. Detailing the end of the Redknapp era, the near extinction of the club in 1997 and the following season’s trip to Wembley, the book includes memories from some of the key figures in Bournemouth’s history.
In 2003, John Treleven and Leigh Edwards published the indispensable The Definitive AFC Bournemouth. Packed with painstakingly compiled statistics, this superb piece of work also includes an A to Z of pen pictures of Cherries’ players.
In 2005 Robert Neesam published Champagne Cherries, a fan’s account of the triumphant 1987 Third Division Title winning season. Drawing on a diary he kept as a young man during the season in question, Neesam describes match by match how Harry Redknapp led a team devoid of stars to the second tier for the first time in the Cherries’ history.
Following the Cherries’ historic Championship winning season and promotion to the Premier League in 2015, four books about the club appeared in short succession. The Bournemouth Daily Echo published AFC Bournemouth: 1890 to the Premier League, a coffee table style compendium of photographs, newspaper reports and other paraphernalia from the newspaper’s unrivaled vault charting the club’s arduous journey to the top.
Tony Matthews’ AFC Bournemouth Miscellany is an interesting but rather casually researched anthology of Cherry flavoured facts and curiosities which provides an alternative to the more traditional club histories. Alex Crook and Pat Symes trained their Match Of My Life formula on 23 players past and present who share their memories of their favourite games in a Cherries’ shirt. Covering almost 60 years of Bournemouth history, the book provides inside accounts of some of the club’s most famous days.
Soon after the publication of Match Of My Life, I interviewed Alex Crook about his contribution to the Cherries’ library. You can hear the interview by clicking on the audio file below:
The last of the 2015 quartet was Leigh Edwards’ Life: A Bowl Of Cherries. Drawing on his player profiles in The Definitive AFC Bournemouth, Edwards provides an exhaustive A to Z of every player to have appeared on at least one occasion for Bournemouth in the Football League and Premier League. At the conclusion of the Cherries’ debut season in the top tier of English football, the Daily Echo released Premier Days, a glossy magazine style review of a dramatic but ultimately successful campaign. Drawing extensively on their photo library, the Echo’s publication also includes contributions from some of the key figures at the club,
All Departments’ theme song ‘Here Come The Cherries’ by the Foursite Saga was released as AFC Bournemouth’s club anthem for Christmas 1973. Click on the audio player below to listen.
Here is the original lyric sheet.
The Bournemouth Evening Echo reported the great event on 20.12.73
Several other AFC Bournemouth themed songs of indiscriminate quality have been released over the years, some of which can be heard below:
The Ballad of Wade Elliot – The Bewley Brothers
Lovell Tear You Apart – Alex Deutsch
Staying Alive – AFC Bournemouth Squad
We’re Here To Stay – Jennifer Bachen
Go South – 2003 Play Off Final Song
Eddie’s Army – Sounds Like Adam
The AFC Bournemouth Song – Julian Barry
Ode To Dean Court – Sounds Like Adam
Despite the endeavour of those listed above, the true musical culture at Dean Court emanates from what used to be called the terraces. Some of these songs and chants, which are many and varied, can be heard here.
Fanzines rose to prominence in the late 1980s as football supporters fought to be heard in an era when the game was going through a period of tumultuous change and the internet was little more than a crackpot gimmick used only by those we now call ‘early adopters’. Several intrepid Bournemouth fans took this DIY route into football publishing, producing the much missed fanzines pictured below. A few examples of the fanzines are available in the reference section of Bournemouth Central Library, and you can purchase some of the copies here.
One of the longest running Bournemouth fanzines was the late Mick Cunningham’s Not The 8502, named after the difference in attendance at the first and last home games of the triumphant 1987 season. You can hear Mick talk about how he put the fanzine together in this podcast interview from February 2014
With the world wide web going mainstream by the end of the 1990s, the decline of the fanzine became inevitable. Fansites and blogs were much simpler to produce and distribute, and many fanzine editors and writers transferred their skills to the new technology. There has not been an AFC Bournemouth fanzine for some years now, although the market for a 21st century version of the format surely exists.
Among the 92 clubs in the top four divisions of English football, Bournemouth are unique in donning a red and black striped home shirt. Despite being much loved by supporters and widely considered to be the traditional colours, the stripes only made their debut in the 1970-71 season when manager John Bond adopted the strip of the much admired AC Milan. Although white has been more prominent over the years than black as the second colour to the timeless cherry red, it has yet to feature in the Cherries’ kit this century.
As the five examples pictured above demonstrate, the space for creativity afforded by away and third kits has produced mixed results, with most colours on the spectrum featuring at one time or another.
In the 2013-14 season Gareth Davies’ superb Shirt Tales feature in the Matchday programme took a close look at some of the Cherries’ kits from the past and their historical significance. The example that follows is from the programme for our match with Derby County on 23rd November 2013. Click on the image for a larger view.
A detailed pictorial history of our home kit can be found here.
In 1936 Bournemouth and Boscombe Athletic sported a club badge for the first time. An adapted version of the town’s crest, it was in use for the next 30 years, all of which were spent in the third tier of the Football League. The motto ‘Pulchritudo et Salubritas’ written on the scroll beneath the shield meant ‘Beautiful and Healthy’, a phrase which occasionally summed up the events the Dean Court faithful were witnessing on the field of play.
The original badge was replaced by the lettering ‘BFC’ in 1966, an unusual and erroneous choice, as the Cherries have never been known as Bournemouth Football Club at any time in our history. This mistake was eventually spotted, and the town crest badge briefly reinstated for the the 1970-71 season. The following year saw the first incarnation of the iconic Dickie Dowsett header image, which has remained the club crest in various guises ever since, aside from a two season hiatus between 1981 and 1983 when ‘The Cherries’ badge adorned the players shirts.
The Dowsett badge has drawn a mixed response from Bournemouth fans over the years, although the reaction to the ‘evolved crest’ introduced in the summer of 2012 was mainly positive. Despite this, as the image on the bottom right of the above collage shows, some fans have continued to make their own amendments.
Striker Dowsett played for the Cherries between 1957 and 1962, scoring 84 goals in 184 games. He is pictured below scoring in Bournemouth’s 2-0 victory at Millwall on 5th April 1958.
In this podcast interview from September 2014, Dickie explains how his likeness became the most familiar image in Cherries’ history:
You can read a detailed description of the Cherries’ original town crest badge here.
Along with its cousin the fanzine, the AFC Bournemouth match programme goes some way to making up for the lack of books published about the Cherries over the years. Unlike the fanzine, the programme has survived in the digital age and remains an integral part of the experience of going to a match Dean Court. In keeping with the fortunes of the Cherries, the programme has had its ups and downs over the years and has been published under various titles. Some of the more appealing editions are pictured below, and you can delve further by clicking here.
In 2013/14 and 2014/15 Bournemouth’s Matchday programme won several awards, including being named SkyBet Championship Programme Of The Year in consecutive seasons. You can read examples of the programme online by following these links:
Last season I wrote The Analyst statistics page in the Matchday programme. The column sought to examine football data and its relevance for our beloved Cherries. Click on the image of each page for a larger view.
Bournemouth v Birmingham
6th April 2015 Football League Championship
Bournemouth v Middlesbrough
21st March 2015 Football League Championship
Bournemouth v Blackpool
14th March 2015 Football League Championship
Bournemouth v Huddersfield
14th February 2015 Football League Championship
Bournemouth v Derby
11th February 2015 Football League Championship
Bournemouth v Watford
31st January 2015 Football League Championship
Bournemouth v Liverpool
18th December 2014 Football League Cup Quarter Final
Bournemouth v Brentford
16th August 2014 Football League Championship
Last season I collated the View From The Stands fans’ page in the award winning Matchday programme. Many thanks to everyone who contributed in what turned out to be a superb first year back in the Championship for our wonderful club. You can read them all below.
Click on the image of each page for a larger view.
Duncan Graham Bournemouth v Nottingham Forest
26th April 2014 Football League Championship
Michael Dunne Bournemouth v Liverpool
26th January 2014 FA Cup Fourth Round
Steve Wright Bournemouth v Watford
18th January 2014 Football League Championship
Keith Ames Bournemouth v Ipswich
29th December 2013 Football League Championship
Craig Murray Bournemouth v Yeovil
26th December 2013 Football League Championship
Simon Mowels Bournemouth v Birmingham
14th December 2013 Football League Championship
Steve Jenkins Bournemouth v Brighton
30th November 2013 Football League Championship
Damien Hill Bournemouth v Bolton
2nd November 2013 Football League Championship
Oli Lurie Bournemouth v Millwall
5th October 2013 Football League Championship
Peter Bell Bournemouth v Blackburn
28th September 2013 Football League Championship
Gareth Davies Bournemouth v Wigan
17th August 2013 Football League Championship
Michael Dunne Bournemouth v Charlton
3rd August 2013 Football League Championship