Bournemouth all but promoted to Premier League
LONDON – Bournemouth’s remarkable rise from the brink of obscurity was virtually completed when they effectively sealed promotion to the Premier League for the first time in their 116-year history on Monday.
A 3-0 win over Bolton Wanderers sparked ecstatic scenes at the south-coast club who almost went out of existence in 2009 because of crippling debts but have stabilised and then flourished under the investment of Russian owner Maxim Demin.
The Cherries have a superior goal difference that makes it almost impossible — a 19-goal swing — for them to be overtaken by Middlesbrough for the second automatic promotion place, even if they lose their final match. Watford were promoted from the Championship on Saturday.
Promotion to the Premier League is expected to bring a potential cash boost of more than 120 million pounds ($182.23 million) to a club who six years ago just avoided relegation from the Football League.
That figure and the success of this season may forever change a club with a home ground which can hold just over 12-thousand.
Manager Eddie Howe, 37, the former Cherries player behind Bournemouth’s remarkable upturn in fortunes, savoured the most important win in their history.
“This club was on its knees six years, we had nothing, A group of supporters put their money in their pockets to keep the club alive and they are reaping the rewards,” he told BBC Radio 5 live as players sprayed champagne and celebrated with fans on the pitch at the Goldsands Stadium.
“It is the club I watched as kid, the club that gave me an opportunity in the game as a player and a manager. It shouldn’t be them thanking me, It should be me thanking them. It is a family club and deserves its moment in the sun.
“It is never a journey we expected to go on but through some hard work and some investment we managed to do it. The players have been magnificent and an achievement they deserved.”
Two fine goals in the last five minutes of the first half, first from Marc Pugh and then Matt Ritchie, sparked the celebrations. The victory was sealed with 12 minutes remaining when the club’s top scorer Callum Wilson got the third.
That goal came shortly after Bolton had been reduced to ten men, Dorian Dervite seeing red for a professional foul in the box.
Yann Kermorgant sent the resulting penalty high over the bar, not that it mattered, with the home fans roaring ‘We are going up!’ long before the final whistle. – Reuters