Q&A With Bournemouth

  • April 27, 2015 | By Chris Mann
  • URL Short URL: http://b-ac.es/aec10

Steve Spangler, editor of Tales from the South End, answers our questions ahead of the 24th meeting between Bournemouth and Bolton at the Goldsands Stadium.

Wanderers go into the game on the back of a 2-2 draw at Brentford last time out, while the Cherries were held to the same scoreline by Sheffield Wednesday on their last outing.

In our latest edition of Q&A, Steve (@TFTSE) shares his views on Bournemouth's dream of winning promotion to the Premier League, why Liam Feeney will receive a warm welcome on his return to the south coast, as well as the controversial decision to have the game rescheduled for live television coverage.

Q: Aside from a brief blip in form throughout February, Bournemouth have spent much of the season challenging for automatic promotion and haven't dropped out of the top four since November. With goal difference highly in your favour, a win on Monday would all but seal your place in the top-flight next season. Describe the journey you've been on since August and do you think the job is done?

A: At the start of the season, a top six finish would have been the best that most would have hoped for, me included.

The season started well, but a few losses kept us around mid-table. Even when we hit top spot around November I never thought it would last. There are a lot of good teams in the Championship, but we found a rhythm and started beating teams that I thought we would struggle to beat and, as we all know, winning breeds confidence, which meant that the team kept winning.

It was all going swimmingly. Then there was a sudden drop in form in February, when we only managed one win in six games. That was it, there was the true AFC Bournemouth - back to being play-off hopefuls. But the same happened last season and we came back stronger. I always believed we would would start winning again, but a top two finish and the possibility of being champions never seemed like a realistic scenario. We were good, but not that good.

And here we are, one win... one win from being in the Premier League. I still can't believe it's that close. It has been unreal and I am not going to get ahead of myself until (hopefully) Monday night, when the needed win will take us there.

I will still be thinking that Middlesbrough will win 16-0 to get the runners-up spot, but I can start dreaming of playing Manchester United, Arsenal, Liverpool, being introduced by Gary Lineker on Match of the Day, endless scrutiny on Sky Sports and still being teased for having a small ground.

Q: Matt Mills and Liam Feeney are two names familiar to Cherries fans. How are they remembered for their respective spells at the Goldsands Stadium?

A: Of the two, it will be Liam Feeney that is more fondly remembered. Matt Mills was a Southampton loanee (I think) who did OK, but Feeney was part of the first team that Eddie Howe built and was an integral, and talented, member of the squad.

His most memorable contribution, for me, was his goal against Brighton & Hove Albion in 2011, who were top of the league at the time. I can still see him driving in from the right and unleashing a shot into the far corner.

The place went mental. So he will be welcomed back with open arms, unless he scores of course.

Q: Wanderers took a sold-out allocation of 995 supporters to last season's corresponding fixture and would likely have matched that this time around, until the game was selected for live coverage by Sky Sports. With many having to take two days off work to attend, what is your feeling on the power television companies have on the sport in general?

A: The last home game of any season simply needs to be on a Saturday. This works for everyone, except Sky.

The moment I heard it was going to be televised, you knew that a Saturday afternoon was out of the window. For AFC Bournemouth fans it's an inconvenience, but for Bolton fans it must have been a right pain in the backside. I read on Twitter a good few were preparing to make a weekend of it, sorted travel, booked hotels and then Sky changed it, leaving them out of pocket. I know how annoyed I would have been.

Unfortunately, if we do make it to the Premier League, we can only expect more of the same. The power of Sky irks a little, but it's all about the money. They pay vast sums for the rights to televise games, so they will get to control viewing times. But on the flip side, they give a lot of money back, especially if you're in the Premier League.

But even in the Championship, televised games give teams much needed revenue. Plus, it allows me to watch Bournemouth games that I cannot make, so it has it's good and bad points. But, as we all know, the fans are the last thing that Sky really cares about. They are just looking to recoup their outlay, so if that means a change of date, changed it will be.

Q: Callum Wilson, Yann Kermorgant, Brett Pitman and Matt Ritchie have all struck double figures in the Championship this season. Who is likely to be your biggest threat when Neil Lennon's side arrive in town?

A: Of those four, I'm pretty sure only three will start - Wilson, Kermorgant and Ritchie.

Callum Wilson, Yann Kermorgant and Matt Ritchie have all scored recently and any of them will be a threat.

Ritchie scores with long shots and free-kicks, Kermorgant has clever touches, neat flicks and is strong in the air, while Wilson has speed, power, strength and an eye for goal. Trying to snuff out one threat simply means that an opportunity opens up for another.

Q: On the flip side, do you think any Bolton players could make it into the Bournemouth side if they are to make it into the Premier League?

A: I'm not so sure that some of the current AFCB team will be up to the task in the Premier League, so there might be a few spare places in the team for any talented Bolton Wanderers'.

I can't pretend that I know much abut the Bolton team, but I know Eidur Gudjohnsen and Emile Heskey.

Maybe we could take Heskey with us for one last hurrah in the top flight, perhaps scoring the winner against Liverpool.

Q: Finally, what is your score prediction for Monday's game?

A: A win at home has to be the only result possible. We won't want to give away an early goal, so it won't be a high-scoring game.

I reckon we will do just enough to get the right result - 2-1.

Burnden Aces would like to thank Steve for taking the time to answer our questions. You can read more from him on Twitter - @TFTSE - or by visiting thesouthend.co.uk.

Sky Bet League One Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
7 Plymouth Argyle 46 80
8 Oxford United 46 76
9 Bolton Wanderers 46 73
10 Portsmouth 46 73
11 Ipswich Town 46 70
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