The 2011/12 season is well and truly under way, with AFC Bournemouth bitterly missing out on promotion last season. But will it come to haunt the Cherries? Nerve Sport caught up with Eddie Mitchell, Chairman of AFC Bournemouth and a man with sights set on Championship football.
The Cherries have had a hit-and-miss season so far, with impressive pre-season results combined with a slightly cagey league form. However, with the Cherries scoring seven in the first two home games they have proven their fire-power is far from lacking, and Eddie believes this can provide the platform for better results long-term.
“Pre-season we’ve performed really well. The first few games of the season – we’ve won one and lost two so it’s not ideal. We’ve got to change this and we’ve got to start winning.
With promising performances in the Carling Cup and Johnstone’s Paint Trophy and the FA Cup draw imminent, seasons can often be dictated by priorities. With confidence, Eddie set the record straight. “We’d rather focus on the play-offs. Getting further up the league table is the priority; we’ve got to think of a cup run as a bonus.”
As for Championship football, Eddie firmly believes it won’t be long until AFC Bournemouth will be in the mix. “If I didn’t think it was a realistic aim and I didn’t think that we could achieve it then I would just move on. I’ve got no desire to stay just in this league and have a desire to go as far as we can.
“It’s been done once already in this club’s history and I think we’re in a very good shape now to start addressing it again.”
“The last two years have been fantastic and we’ve been very fortunate with the players we’ve had“
Optimism isn’t lacking at Dean Court, although a level-headed Eddie revealed the play-offs may well be Bournemouth’s best bet for promotion with league competition fierce. He revealed: “There’s clubs out there that have spent an awful lot of money on players and it would be difficult for us to get automatic promotion. We’ve got a lot of work to do to build our team – it’s a possibility but realistically we’ve got to aim to now look towards bringing more players through the system and build a team that can walk away with it very soon.
“We’d like to bring in more players and we’ll still be looking to do that after the transfer window shuts and sign some players on loan. It’s a merry-go-round though – we’ve signed some good players but we’ve lost some good players too, so we still need to carry on looking.”
Fans will be well aware of the departure of promising striker Danny Ings in the summer. However, with the transfer thought to be around the £1m-mark, the cash can bolster the League One outfit immensely – and Eddie already has solid financial planning in mind.
“The transfer is something which we decided was the best thing to do for the club. The money’s coming in over a period of time so as and when it comes in we’ll spend it wisely either on players or at the club in other ways.
“I’m a firm believer that the club needs to be expanded, including our training pitches at Kings Park, and I think this can add to the value of the club.”
High hopes are to be expected around the ever-atmospheric Dean Court for good reason once more this season, and if Lee Bradbury’s men can once more show the promotion-hunting form they did last season, it won’t be too long until Eddie, Lee, and AFC Bournemouth secure their second promotion in almost as many years.
By James Hartnett