Legendary Cherries striker, and man who’s monicker graces the South Stand, recently spoke to The Scotsman newspaper reliving his time on the South Coast and revealing how pleased he is that the club he loves has hit the big time.
From Grant Street Park, home of Inverness Clachnacuddin, football took the nomadic Ted McDougall right round the world. An epic sojourn in search of goals involved 20 stop-offs but Bournemouth must have been special, the only club to get a return visit, and he can’t quite believe that this afternoon they will officially join England’s elite.
“This is funny,” says McDougall. “I’m talking to you from Palm Coast in Florida, which is kind of where old people go to die, and that was what I thought of Bournemouth before I went there. But it was beautiful and sunny from the first time we trained on the beach and I just fell in love with the place. I’m really proud and so excited about what they’ve achieved. It’s marvellous.”
“It was beautiful and sunny from the first time we trained on the beach and I just fell in love with the place”
What’s also ironic is that McDougall, now 68, is once again talking about football in the same week as the prime minister with whom he shared a nickname in the 1970s – Edward Heath – has himself returned to the spotlight, albeit in a wholly unwanted way. But for Cherries fans there has only ever been one Super Ted.
“I never thought Bournemouth would get to the Premier League, not after all the hard times,” he continues. It was very nearly curtains for the club which McDougall, years before, had only joined on condition they throw in a set of new drapes. “When the old ground was broken up to raise money, I was the auctioneer. I was flogging turnstiles, toilet seats, turf – you name it. I even turned out for them when I was 50. It was a friendly against Southampton when the club were about two minutes away from shutting the doors for good. I came on near the end of the match but didn’t score. Goals were my trade and right from kids’ football in Inverness I was always annoyed when I didn’t get any. That was a nice day, Matt Le Tissier came down, and we collected a few more bob. But I had to have a word with my lads afterwards. The service up to me was deplorable!”
McDougall is a bit of a joker, as you might expect of a footballer who was in his pomp in the 1970s, such a rich era for comedy material. For a reminder of his feats – 256 goals in 535 games – check out YouTube footage of Bournemouth playing Aston Villa, who just happen to be today’s opponents. I’d never seen a player score with a diving header until McDougall hurled himself across a gluepot pitch in front of an astonishing Third Division crowd of 48,110. He says the most astonishing thing about it was him starting the move from inside the centre-circle: “I’ve no idea what I was doing there. I was a poacher. I never fetched the ball.”