The South Coast is very much enjoying a revival in the Premier League after tough times in recent years for Portsmouth and Southampton. Whilst those clubs were heading on a downward spiral, passing them along the way were Bournemouth, a club themselves who were close to dropping out of the Football League, but have since re-built themselves and now sit proudly in mid-table.
Two points from their remaining eight games will see The Cherries secure another season of Premier League football – no small feat when you consider the size and wealth that surrounds them in the table.
In Eddie Howe they have one of the brightest young managers in the game. He has long time been considered an eventual England manager, and one who appears to get the best out of his players. Whilst they are very aware they can’t compete with clubs in the top six, they do have the ability to surprise those clubs on a one-off basis, none more so than when they comprehensively thrashed Chelsea at the end of January.
Their inconsistency is the reason why they’re still a long way from challenging higher up the table, however, picking up just a single point from February’s fixtures where they probably would have expected at least to have gained a few more.
Howe has some stand out performers in Callum Wilson, Josh King and Charlie Daniels, and shrewd signings alongside these players have kept them away from the relegation zone and on course to achieve a Premier League high position having finished 12th last season.
To be able to achieve any further success, the Cherries will have to move away from the Vitality Stadium. The stadium’s capacity of just over 11,000 is by far the smallest in the top division and although gate receipts for any club these days are dwarfed by television money an increased fan base will stand the club in good stead for the future. A new stadium has been mooted around but there are no concrete plans in place as of yet, meaning that Howe will need to keep producing against the odds for Bournemouth to keep their place amongst the elite.