Let’s just forget about big clubs for now. The top four in the Premier League is almost decided, with Chelsea extremely close to clinching the title with a few games to spare and Liverpool too mediocre and toothless to challenge for Champions League qualification. Unlike last season, the top of the Premier League is getting a little dull as the end nears.
But the other end of the ladder is a different story – not to mention the Championship where something extraordinary is happening. Bournemouth, a place basically known for its seaside location and as a home for pensioners, is almost certain to play in the Premier League next season for the very first time. After defeating Bolton 3-0 at home, the Cherries celebrated their promotion with gusto although a very bizarre combination of results could theoretically still deny them automatic promotion.
That’s not even the best part of the story. Harry Redknapp, the player-turned-manager, once played for this club and he the most notable player in the club’s history. When the club almost went dust in 1998 because of financial problems, the players went onto the city squares to attend the various fund-raising activities – a bucket with “Save the Cherries” on it was passed around to raise enough money to avoid liquidation. Twice in the last two decades they found themselves in financial disasters with only minutes to save the club. Think about Portsmouth, or Leeds United – clubs that went through serious financial troubles and never returned to their glory days – and you can understand the scale of miracle Bournemouth has created.
Next season, big guns like Chelsea and Manchester United will visit Goldsands Stadium, a small venue with only 11,700 seats. Those superstars would be fascinated the hard work done by the club given the annual turnover of the tiny seaside club in 2012/13 was just £5.1million compared with the £271 million of Manchester City in the same period. And don’t be surprised by their dynamic and brave football next season. They have nothing to lose!