Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 14th 2015 Contents A43
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LONDON---There s an aspect to
Bournemouth s Premier League debut that
provides a perfect snap shot of this unpre-
No pundit predicted Bournemouth would
beat title-holder Chelsea and record 20-time
champion Manchester United in succession---
let alone be sitting above Jose Mourinho s side
approaching the midway point of the season.
Had anyone forecast that back in August,
Bournemouth might have expected to be where
Leicester is now as a shock title contender.
Though the Cherries are still in the lower
reaches of the league---ahead of a startling-
ly-struggling Chelsea---sitting three points
above the relegation zone is exceeding expec-
And shockwaves have been sent through
the Premier League and beyond when the
south coast side edged Chelsea 1-0 and
stunned United 2-1 on Saturday.
"Just checking the results again to make
certain the last week has actually happened,"
chairman Jeff Mostyn tweeted yesterday.
It was no illusion.
From its tiny home in a southern English
seaside town, Bournemouth is providing inspi-
ration and hope to other teams across the
However inadequate a team might now
seem. Whatever financial hardships they might
be encountering. However far from the elite
they are. Anything is possible.
Even if it takes 125 years---as was the case
in Bournemouth s case.
With its rise to the world s richest soccer
league for the first time, Bournemouth has
epitomised the fighting spirit required in a
country that hosts 92 professional clubs across
Seven years ago, while Man United was still
basking in the glory of its third European title,
Bournemouth was in the fourth tier contending
with a 17-point deduction. And victory over
United came six years to the day since
Bournemouth lost 5-0 to Morecambe in the
lowest professional league.
This group of United players had never
played in such a small Premier League stadium,
with Bournemouth playing in front of 11,500
fans whereas the visitors are based in 76,000
"We really did nullify their threat and prob-
ably could have won by more," Bournemouth
manager Eddie Howe said. "We remained a
real threat throughout."
In a story impossible to reproduce in the
closed American sporting structure without
promotion-relegation, there are two sides to
Bournemouth s recovery and rise through the
A gritty never-say-die attitude was required
just to keep the club alive, which saw play-
ers---including current manager Howe---pound-
ing the streets with buckets collecting cash
in the late 1990s.
Further anguish came with renewed fights
against closure in the last decade as
Bournemouth twice entered bankruptcy pro-
Then came the saviours from 2009, with
the injection of cash that set Bournemouth
on the path to the Premier League.
Bournemouth does not claim to be a fairytale
story and the importance of Russian cash to
the team s ascent is not disguised.
Maxim Demin, the secretive Russian
investor, started providing funding in 2011 to
not only keep Bournemouth in existence but
to lift it into the Premier League for the first
time. Demin last month sold a quarter of the
club to Chicago-based PEAK6 Investments.
The last published accounts showed that
in the 2013-14 season---Bournemouth s penul-
timate season in the second tier---the club was
spending £17.3 million ($26 million) on staff
costs on the turnover of £10 million ($15 mil-
There may have been investment in the
summer transfer window ahead of
Bournemouth s topflight debut, but it wasn t
lavish. Breaking the transfer record meant
buying Tyrone Mings from Ipswich for £8
million ($12 million) but the defender was
injured eight minutes into his first league game
and ruled out for the season. The injury curse
continued, with winger Max Gradel out since
September and striker Callum Wilson ruled
out for six months in October.
So though United manager Louis van Gaal
had spent the week lamenting his lengthy
injury list---full backs Cameron Borthwick-
Jackson and Guillermo Varela both made their
full league debuts on the south coast---
Bournemouth s nine injury absentees seems
far more debilitating.
"The focus for me has always been the play-
ers we do have available to us and we still
believe that we are strong enough," Howe said.
"Hopefully the last two games are further
proof if we needed it that these players can
Victory over United was no plucky tale of
fortune over aptitude.
Unlike at Chelsea, where Bournemouth
valiantly thwarted a dominating home attack-
ing display, Howe s side seemed superior to
United at times on Saturday.
The match-winner was delivered by former
United striker Josh King, completing a pre-
planned corner move that befuddled the vis-
It was Bournemouth s biggest home result
since also conquering United in 1984. That
came in the FA Cup in a vastly-different era
in English soccer.
The December double came against some
of the world s wealthiest teams. Now the Cher-
ries will be hoping beating the most successful
teams in English football in the 21st century
helps to ensure this season in the topflight is
not a one-off.
"I don t think we ll have many better weeks
than this," Howe said.
Historic victories for Bournemouth
World Cup-winning goal-
keeper Gordon Banks is
undergoing treatment for
The 77-year-old Banks
told the Sunday Mirror
newspaper that he is fight-
ing the disease for the sec-
ond time after losing a kid-
ney to cancer ten years ago.
Banks is only now dis-
closing he received the di-
agnosis last year and there
are hopes a kidney could be
donated by one of his
daughters, should it be a
He has been taking
in a bid to shrink the tu-
mour, in case it could be re-
moved without the need for
In the 1970 World Cup,
Banks made one of the
game s most memorable
saves to keep Pele from
scoring in a group stage
Four years earlier, he was
part of the England team
that beat West Germany 4-
2 in the final.
England's Banks undergoes cancer treatment
Bournemouth's Junior Stanislas, centre, celebrates after scoring a goal during the English
Premier League soccer match between Bournemouth and Manchester United at the Vitality
Stadium in Bournemouth, England, Saturday. AP PHOTO
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