The football club which proved that fairytales can come true

Andy Martin

For a long time, covering AFC Bournemouth meant having as good a knowledge of business law as football formations, as the off-the-field problems threatened to bring about the demise of the club altogether. Fast forward 10 years, and the Bournemouth Echo finds itself reporting on a football fairytale which shows no sign of coming to an end. Editor Andy Martin reveals more:

AFC BOURNEMOUTH’S rise to the Premier League has thrown the club and the Dorset town onto the global landscape.

Reporters, satellite trucks and TV cameras from all over the world now descend on the smallest stadium in the top tier of English football, but the coverage from the Bournemouth Daily Echo continues to be a staple part of the supporters’ diets.

Eddie Howe led the Cherries to the Premier League — less than 10 years after the club going out of business seemed a more likely reality.

While development on and off the pitch for Eddie Howe’s side has grown exponentially after the journey through the divisions from the cusp of liquidation at the foot of League Two to the money spinning Premier League, the local newspaper has always been on hand to provide insightful interviews, accurate reports and above all else the facts on AFC Bournemouth from transfer speculation to financial struggles.

February this year, marked the 10th anniversary of cash-strapped Cherries entering administration. The complexities of football finances are far from child’s play, but the Daily Echo provided all the updates on the adversity the club faced before and after this event.

Current manager and club legend Howe had just been given his first coaching post by then boss Kevin Bond, when news of administration and a 10-point deduction plunged Cherries to the foot of League One broke.

An inspired late bid for survival came up short at the final hurdle and the summer that followed was packed with intrigue and suspense, which was all expressed in the Daily Echo sports pages.

A second points deduction was delivered by the Football League, this time to the tune of 17 points, as the club exited administration.

Success was sweet for Bournemouth — and led to the world’s media following the Cherries every week

Bond was sacked after the opening month of the season, but when his replacement Jimmy Quinn failed to provide the upturn required to launch a survival mission, the club turned to former player Howe to achieve the unthinkable.

When Howe took caretaker charge on New Year’s Eve, Cherries were seven points from safety. Relegation ultimately would have spelled the end of the club.

However, the now well-told story of the young novice boss and the Greatest Escape followed.

Either side of a 21-month spell as manager of Burnley, the former defender transformed Cherries for years to come.

Every step of the journey has been tracked by the sports reporters at the Daily Echo in print and online through transfer embargos and managerial changes.
Press conferences have gone from the local written and broadcast media in a small room at Cherries’ Dean Court ground to international coverage coming from the media suite at Vitality Stadium.

The Cherries’ journey up the league has been front, as well as back page, news

The Daily Echo’s continued commitment to AFC Bournemouth has strengthened the readership as the club’s local fanbase has grown, while also engaging with followers of the team from all corners of the globe, including America, Australia and Japan.

There may be an increased number of reporters interested in keeping their finger on the pulse at the Dorset club, but the Daily Echo’s unrivalled knowledge and work ethic when it comes to all things AFC Bournemouth ensure the newspaper continues to deliver exclusive content on a weekly basis.

After securing a fourth successive season in the Premier League, Cherries presence in world football shows no signs of relenting and the Daily Echo will be there through it all.

Few would have predicted the 2015 promotion would have led to three successive seasons in the Premier League



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