The moment that Marc Pugh bamboozled Cherries old boy Liam Feeney and powered home with his left foot to score the opener against Bolton, history was unfolding.
The hard work had already been done during the 2014/15 Championship campaign, but it was the moment that defined the next chapter in the Cherries long and not so illustrious history.
Five minutes later wing superstar Matt Ritchie perfectly placed the second past Bogdan and the crowd exploded as the celebrations reached a whole new level. Strangers were hugging me like long lost friends and a tear started to well up in the corner of my eye
“The reds are going up, the reds are going up, now you’re gonna believe ussssss, the reds are going up”.
We would like to say that the second 45 minutes were a cakewalk, but that would have been so far from the truth. I was literally counting down the minutes and relaying time left to my mate. Only 42minutes to go, only 41 minutes to go, only 40 minutes to go. You get the picture. It took about ten minutes before he told me to f**k off.
I couldn’t watch Yann’s penalty, I headed to the toilet to wait for the roar, ready to run out and start celebrating for a third time. The groans told me that it was still 2-0 as I nervously trudged back to my seat. Still counting down the minutes, it was with 13 to go that Callum Wilson effectively sealed promotion to the Premiership. Now I could breath a sigh of relief and get ready to run on the pitch celebrate and head to the pub to celebrate some more.
THE NIGHT AFC BOURNEMOUTH ALL BUT WON PROMOTION TO THE PREMIER LEAGUE
There were murmurs of Charlton winning 12-0 or whatever ridiculous score was needed to keep the Cherries in the Championship, but we knew it was never going to happen. Saturday came and the party had already started before the 12.15pm kick-off. But, to be mathematically sure of promotion a single point was needed. We didn’t have to wait long as Ritchie and Arter put the Cherries 2-0 in front with only 12 minutes played. And, we were top of the league again, well, for at least for 10 minutes as Watford powered in front.
“We were top of the league again, well, for at least for 10 minutes as Watford powered in front”.
A sense of calm reached over me as the clock ticked down. Premiership football next season, that’s not so bad. Wonder if we will get beaten every week. Who cares, lets enjoy the now. Then a ripple of noise went round the ground Sheff Weds had scored. I checked my phone to confirm, as the noise turned into a roar. The players knew they were going to be Champions. Let the celebrations begin.
A truly great moment in AFC Bournemouth history and one that will be savoured for the rest of my life.
AFC BOURNEMOUTH CELEBRATE BEING CHAMPIONSHIP CHAMPIONS
But, how does it compare with the Cherries other greatest moments?
Looking at scale achieving Premiership promotion is the pinnacle, but as an AFC Bournemouth fan there has undoubtedly been smaller victories, but with more importance. Champions under Harry Redknapp rates pretty highly, but if you haven’t already guessed victory against Grimsby on Saturday 25th April 2009 still rates as the greatest moment ever for us at TFTSE Towers.
GRIMSBY 2009: THE GREATEST MOMENT IN AFC BOURNEMOUTH HISTORY?
Why you might ask? The answer is simple, getting promoted is a positive. If you don’t get promoted, disappointment sets in but you are still in there ready to come back stronger the next season. Relegation battles are far more intense and relegation battles in the bottom league of English football are about as intense as they can be. Lose and your Football League status is gone. You are no longer part of the 92 and there is no doubt that had AFC Bournemouth joined the ranks of the Conference it would have been a very long road back. The possibility of liquidation and saying RIP to the club I had loved for over 30 odd years would have been like the passing of a close and much loved friend.
“Saying RIP to the club I had loved for over 30 odd years would have been like the passing of a close and much loved friend.”.
But, it was that moment when the ball fell at the feet of AFC Bournemouth legend Steve Fletcher and he volleyed home to send the Cherries 2-1 up, instigate a mini pitch invasion and finally ensure our place in the Football League that still to this day that makes the hairs on my neck stand up and bring tears to my eyes. Without that moment back in 2009 we well may have never made it this far. God bless you Supa, we will love you forever.
PREMIERSHIP PROMOTION v GRIMSBY 2009