AFC Bournemouth’s Premier League memories

PUBLISHED: 14:07 20 October 2020 | UPDATED: 14:17 20 October 2020

Joshua King celebrates making it 2-1 during Bournemouth v Manchester United (12 December 2015) Photo: Sophie Cook/AFC Bournemouth/Digital South

Joshua King celebrates making it 2-1 during Bournemouth v Manchester United (12 December 2015) Photo: Sophie Cook/AFC Bournemouth/Digital South

AFC Bournemouth/Digital South

With AFC Bournemouth’s season in the Championship League off to a flying start, Steve ‘Fletch’ Fletcher reflects on the Cherries’ glory days at football’s top table

When you’re caught up in the ‘rat race’ of professional football, it’s rare to get the opportunity to think about the past. One match is quickly followed by another, your thoughts are always on ‘what’s next’. It’s only when you pause to reflect that you can truly appreciate the journey you’ve been on and what you’ve achieved along the way.

We, as a football club, never underestimated what a feat it was getting promoted to the Premier League, let alone staying there for five seasons. But from the moment our first top-flight fixture against Aston Villa kicked-off back in August 2015, our sole focus was on winning as many matches as we could. We enjoyed the victories and the great goals as they happened, but those celebrations get put to the back of your mind as you turn your attention to the next challenge.

As the rawness of our Premier League relegation has started to subside (it still hurts!), I’ve reflected on what an incredible five years we had. From the players and staff at AFC Bournemouth to the supporters, everyone will have their own special memories of our period dining at English football’s top table.

Many will recall our incredible 3-3 draw at home to Everton (28 November, 2015), in our first season in the Premier League. Ross Barkley scored in the fifth minute of stoppage time to give Everton a 3-2 lead. But the roar of the crowd as Junior Stanislas headed us level, in the eighth minute of stoppage time no less, is unforgettable.

Nathan Ake celebrates after he scores a goal to make it 1-0 during the Premier League match between AFC Bournemouth and Tottenham Hotspur at Vitality Stadium on May 04, 2019 Photo: Robin Jones/AFC Bournemouth via Getty ImagesNathan Ake celebrates after he scores a goal to make it 1-0 during the Premier League match between AFC Bournemouth and Tottenham Hotspur at Vitality Stadium on May 04, 2019 Photo: Robin Jones/AFC Bournemouth via Getty Images

Fond memories from our time in the Premier League also include our first league triumph over Tottenham (May 4, 2019); while Steve Cook’s header, as we won 1-0 at Newcastle United (7 November 2017), seemed like a seminal moment during the 2017/18 season. Meanwhile our 1-0 triumph at Chelsea (5 December 2015) was our first win over one of the division’s ‘big boys’.

Beating Manchester United for the first time in the league (12 December 2015) also stands out. The raw emotion we all felt going into that game, after hearing the tragic news that Harry Arter and his partner had lost their baby, will always stay with me. As will Harry’s heroic performance on the day and the 2-1 victory.

On a personal level, winning 1-0 at Chelsea (14 December 2019) last season, at the end of a very difficult week for my family after we’d lost our dog Bella just after her fourth birthday, felt like a huge release for me at a time of great personal sadness.

In terms of pure happiness, our 4-3 win over Liverpool (4 December 2016) would tick that box. I grew up as a Liverpool fanatic, so matches against the Reds always meant a lot to me. That afternoon, we showed immense character to come back from 3-1 down to win. I’ll never forget the celebrations after Nathan Ake’s stoppage time winner! Maybe, just maybe that is my favourite Premier League memory of all.

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