Before this weekends clash with Bournemouth, we spoke with Peter Bell who runs Bournemouth blog, The Cherry Chimes.
As an opposition fan looking in, Bournemouth has built something special but what separates them from every other club?
There has been a belief among the players and the fans that this club would one day mix it with the best clubs in the land. It just needed a spark and that was provided by Eddie Howe, a homegrown footballer who has a great affection for the club and wanted to succeed as a manager.
When you add in the fans that have seen the club almost go out of existence and a rich Russian owner who wanted the best for the club, all the ingredients came together and it was kind of an unstoppable momentum that took the club up through the leagues.
Eddie Howe has been linked with other clubs in the past. He didn’t have the best experiences before when he left Bournemouth so do you think he will move on in the future and will he be a success?
One day Eddie Howe will move on but it wouldn’t surprise me if it takes something like a top-six club or the England manager’s job to convince him that it was time to try something new. At the moment he has many things still to aim at while he remains at AFC Bournemouth like a domestic cup success, getting the club to Europe and its highest-ever finish, seeing the new training complex built and perhaps a new stadium that is worthy of the Premier League. So I don’t see Eddie Howe and Jason Tindall moving away in the next three to five years unless a really big job comes up.
The Vitality Stadium is not the biggest. Does Bournemouth have plans to expand or even move?
There have been plans for a new stadium in the Kings Park area where there is currently an athletics stadium. The club decided that it had been too ambitious in saying that it would have a new stadium by the summer of 2021 and it has concentrated its efforts on building a new training complex at the former Canford Magna golf course in Poole. Once that is complete, there will be fresh efforts to get a new stadium built I assume.
There are some challenges though with road infrastructure and deciding what the capacity should be – perhaps 20,000 with options to upgrade to 25,000 seats. What Eddie Howe has said is that Bournemouth can’t expect to finish much higher in the league until they go to the next step and that includes having a new stadium.
What are your opinions on Aston Villa? As an outside fan do you see what the club is trying to achieve or do you believe we are doing another Fulham?
It’s hard to say from the outside looking in. Certainly, Villa has spent a lot of money as Fulham did. The players that you have bought through are mainly British which I think is good and survival in the Premier League is very dependent on whether your team has a goalscorer or two who can get goals at this level. John McGinn has started well, so let’s see what Villa can do.
Bournemouth has been a Premiership side for a few years now. Whenever I have spoken to Cherries fans or heard them speak in the media they seem happy to be part of the Premiership. Is there an aim to progress further and if so what’s the dream?
The dream would be European football. I don’t think there is a rush for this though. The fans and the management know that it is steady progression that is what will help the club grow. Fans want to see some homegrown players come through and more success in domestic cup competitions to perhaps make a semi-final or final.
If the club remains a Premier League club the majority will be satisfied and I can see now why fans of some teams in the Premier League get bored with mid-table security, but for the Cherries it is only our fifth year at this level in a history that spans more than 100 years, so we are going to enjoy it.
Tyrone Mings has been a model professional since signing for Villa and has been a firm fan favourite. Why didn’t it work out for him on the South coast and are there any hard feelings?
It is a shame that we did not see more of Tyrone Mings. He showed that he was capable of being a great defender at the top level but he had a cruciate ligament injury in his first season with us in the Premier League and a further back injury about 18 months ago. He never got that run of games to make the centre-back position his own and Then the club signed Nathan Ake. It was always going to be hard or him to ease out Steve Cook and Ake from the starting places.
I am glad that he is playing in the Premier League even if it isn’t with us. I don’t think he is as good as Ake but I would have played him next to Ake in our team. There are no complaints though we got a good amount of money for him and I think it was a good move for the player.
An opening day draw against Sheffield United. Should we expect many changes for the side that visits Villa Park? What team do you expect Howe to start with?
I would expect Eddie Howe to change things a little bit although he is hampered with injury problems. We need more fluency in our play and he may go back to our more usual 4-4-1-1 formation. I am hoping that he’ll find a place for Harry Wilson to start and be a bit more creative. Charlie Daniels might also come back into the team at left-back.
Smith — Cook — Ake — Daniels
H Wilson — Lerma — Billing — Fraser
Where do you think both Bournemouth and Aston Villa will finish this season?
I have predicted Bournemouth will finish 12th. I have been less favourable to Aston Villa and felt they may crash in at 19th, but on the evidence of the first week, Aston Villa look like they are going to give it a real go to try and get into the top half. It all depends on whether they can get those goals – it’s the same with about 10 other teams, including Bournemouth. I will say Aston Villa fans that think they can do a Wolves are going to be disappointed.
If you could sign any Aston Villa player, who would it be and why?
That’s a difficult one. Many of us would be happy to still have Tyrone Mings, but I suppose Jack Grealish is the young talent of the team that we know can go pat players easily so Ill say, Grealish.
Predictions for Saturday?
It ill be a right old battle and I’m going for a 2-2 scoreline that won’t probably please either set of supporters.
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