May 2nd, 2015 was the Concluding Day of the Sky Bet Championship (The Second-Tier football league in England right after the English Premier League). AFC Bournemouth, nicknamed ‘The Cherries’, beat Charlton Athletic 3-0 to clinch the Championship Title and secured their long, long awaited promotion to the EPL (after 125 years of waiting).
Now year after years, teams keep coming up from the Championship (and going down), only to come back up again, and so on and so forth. However, what makes the story of this club’s promotion so special is just the sheer amount of dark times this club and its loyal supporters have endured, only to turn it all around and emerge victorious .
In 1997, the club was so penniless that a Bucket Collection, was held by players to save the club from its inevitable doom, making it Europe’s first community-owned club with its supporter’s trust. It happened again in 2007, when the club went into administration once more and was a mere seconds away from liquidation until chairman Jeff Mostyn wrote a check for £100,000 ($153,000) to stave off the debt collectors.
While the club did survive administration, they didn’t survive relegation and began the 2008-2009 season (now in League 2, the fourth Tier of English Football), with a 17 point deduction and a transfer ban. While their future looked bleak, they looked all set to drop into Non-League football.
With the sacking of their then manager Jimmy Quinn, and the appointment of former player Eddie Howe (who was also part of the Bucket Collection), began a new era in the club’s history, and there has been no looking back since.
Under the tutelage of their enigmatic manager, Bournemouth began their extraordinary ascent in English Football by securing 3 promotions in 6 years, along with playing a brand of attacking – entertaining football. (Chelsea FC supporters are you watching this? )
Come August, this small but passionate club will now compete with the likes of Chelsea, Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal and a bunch of other Premier League Heavy-weights, bringing an extraordinary end to this extraordinary story.