Hardly a Bowl of Cherries!
Posted by chris_saxon on January 15 2009 15:50:12

I suppose that many of us have developed something of a bond with the fans of this weekend’s opponents AFC Bournemouth.

Like us, they suffered the indignation of a 17-point deduction at the beginning of the current campaign and like us their supporters felt a real sense of injustice of having to spend the entire season in a probable relegation battle.

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Life is definitely not a bowl of Cherries for fans of the Cherries at present!

Having said that, spare a thought for poor old Luton Town whose fans must have been positively envious of our predicament given their massive 30-point handicap meted out at the same time. 

Indeed, a sense of relief appeared to prevail in the boardrooms of the likes of Accrington, Macclesfield and Morecambe all of whom expected to be embroiled in a dogfight to escape a return to non-league oblivion. Now we had a situation whereby three clubs all began the new season with a seemingly insurmountable points obstacle and all but the most diehard of fans believed that it would be a case of any two from three with Luton the obvious favourites to finish bottom.

Six months on and Luton remain firmly anchored to the foot of the league. Despite their best efforts and shaving off all of those points, a nil points total in late January hardly bodes well for a great escape. 

Thankfully, we’ve become accustomed to a points deduction and that early siege mentality which resulted in a speedy wiping away of those 17 points has returned in recent weeks after a blip in November. We’ve started climbing the table and are on course to avoid the drop. Last week’s never say die attitude, which denied Dagenham & Redbridge all three points is testimony to that.

Unfortunately, for the fans of Bournemouth, there is still much to be done. Of the three, they’ve struggled the most and have gathered the least points to date. Relegation is a real possibility and even poor old Luton are closing in. Although having said that, without the point’s deduction they’d be well clear of the bottom two places. 

Despite their somewhat precarious position, all is definitely not lost, not by a long way. If they can put a run of results together, other clubs currently teetering on the brink might well become involved in this relegation scrap.

Grimsby, Barnet, Accrington and Chester will be nervously looking over their respective shoulders and even clubs currently sitting in mid table such as Notts County and Port Vale might yet become involved. A case of the more the merrier for Luton, Rotherham and Bournemouth!

Earlier in the season, we battled our way to a goalless draw down on the South Coast with most pundits believing that we were somewhat fortunate to avoid defeat. That day, they looked a decent side and their performance augured well for the future.

Since then, that expected upturn has failed to materialise and manager Jimmy Quinn has departed along with talisman Darren Anderton, who has retired.
Fans favourite Eddie Howe has taken charge and quite rightly believes that safety may still be achieved.
 There is the best part of half a season’s points to play for and after Saturday, I for one, wish them luck.  

This encounter may well be considered significant. If we win there will be 16 points between us and we can continue to look up rather than down. Defeat would reduce the gap to just 10 points, so the outcome could be crucial in the long term for both the Millers and Bournemouth.

On a lighter note whatever happened to the rather fanciful title of Bournemouth and Boscombe Athletic? Just the name alone was enough to conjure up an image of something quite grand. AFC Bournemouth hardly has the same effect!

Enjoy the game and give the team some vocal support, they’ve certainly earned it.

Chris Saxon
Supporters Trust.