Seven years after being on the verge of collapse, Bournemouth have all but sealed their promotion to the Premier League.
AFC Bournemouth have as good as secured their place in next season’s Premier League after a 3-0 win over Bolton last night.
Eddie Howe’s side have been in the hunt for promotion all season, and last night’s result means that dream is all but confirmed. They are three points ahead of Middlesbrough with one game left, but their goal difference is 19 goals better than that of Middlesbrough, so Bournemouth will have to lose their final game by at least 10 goals and Middlesbrough will have to win their final game by at least another 10 goals in order for Bournemouth to fail to achieve their dream of promotion.
Not surprisingly then, the celebrations began in earnest last night as the final whistle blew at the Goldsands stadium on a result that saw the Dorset side finally reach the big time, and this chapter completes a remarkable rise for the club.
Back in 2008, Bournemouth were on the brink of financial collapse, and were forced to start the 2008/09 season in the fourth tier of English football with -17 points due to their financial and administrative issues. Against the odds though, they managed to avoid folding as a club (they were reportedly just five minutes away from being liquidated), and avoided relegation to the fifth tier conference.
Since then it has been onwards and upwards for the south-coast side, winning promotion from League Two in 2010 before winning promotion from League One to the Championship in 2013, and now, just seven years after being on the brink of collapse, on and off the pitch, they have now virtually been promoted to the richest football league in the world.
If promotion to the Premier League was hard work though, staying there next season is likely to be even tougher. A few basic stats show the scale of the task that sits before them. In the 2012-13 financial year, their turnover was just a little over £5 million. Manchester United’s turnover was £363 million. In fact the lowest turnover of any Premier League side that season (Wigan, who have since been relegated), was £56 million, still ten times more than that of Bournemouth.
Statistically, clubs promoted to the Premier League have a 56% chance of staying up, but few clubs have been promoted to the top division with finances as small as that of Bournemouth. The club also have a rather small stadium, which holds barely 12,000 seats. The average Premier League stadium holds around 37,000 seats.
Nevertheless, the club chairman Jeff Mostyn is confident that the Cherries will stay up. They have certainly been impressive in the promotion pursuit, scoring 95 goals in 45 games this season, and their finances are sure to get a significant boost in the Premier League, which could be worth around £100 million to the club. They are also backed by a Russian billionaire (which always helps) who could dig into his pocket during the transfer window. Staying up will still be a massive challenge, but after all the club has been through, few will begrudge them their spot in the limelight.