I’m so glad that’s all over at last


Well, thank goodness that’s all over.

It was a nail-biter all the way, possibly the closest contest in living memory.

And it left me on tenterhooks for no little time as the result was in doubt until the very last moment.

But in the end the people’s choice prevailed and our victor will now be taking a seat at the big table.

For, despite the best efforts of Cameron, Miliband and Farage to get in the way, little AFC Bournemouth have won the Championship and secured promotion to the cash-flooded Holy Grail that is the Premier League.

And now things will never be quite the same at Dean Court, sorry, the Goldsands Stadium.

Now, we will be welcoming the likes of Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal to our newly-established footballing hotbed.

Why, there’s even a Cherries megastore and people everywhere wearing replica black and red shirts.

It’s all a far cry from the days when I would take my regular position near the tea bar on the New Stand terrace on a Saturday to endure another afternoon of ritual humiliation.

A 1-0 home defeat to a last-minute goal from the likes of Gillingham or Shrewsbury on an awful pitch in front of a meagre, semi-frozen (it was always cold in my memory) ‘crowd’ was a regular occurrence.

And, while it was not exactly a ‘rattles, scarves and pass the young boys over flat-capped heads to the front so they could see the match’ situation, it was a different era.

This was way prior to Hillsborough, Heysel and Bradford, a time when football ground facilities were to be endured rather than enjoyed (just don’t actually touch anything in the toilets and you might be OK).

The unfinished Brighton Beach end had girders sticking out of concrete pillars and the ball would often be lost into the pot-holed Kings Park car park beyond where small, rival groups of opposing fans would sometimes attempt to emulate their bigger league rivals at hooliganism…and fail miserably.

The wooden structure of a main stand was on its last legs, the back of the South End boarded up for safety reasons and everything had the feel of a seaside resort out of season. Which it was.

Now it’s all a little bit different, but in many ways just the same as ever.

Admittedly, a fair bit of owner Maxim Demin’s cash has been sloshing about and the transfer fees being bandied about for star players would have been unthinkable not that long ago.

But Dean Court (let’s call it that) still has a homely feel about it. There is nothing particularly flash about the rebuilt ground and chairman Jeff Mostyn has said capacity would not be increased at the expense of money going on the team.

Who knows how long the Cherries can survive in the Premier League, how long they can hold on to boss Eddie Howe, FEM (future England manager) and which players might be lured away by bigger clubs (step forward Matt Ritchie and Simon Francis)?

Whatever happens, the club and its fans have been living the dream in a way so far removed from when the club nearly went out of existence less than a decade ago – so much so that a season ticket holding pal of mine still actually pinches himself at each game to prove it is all real.

It is, and it will take some getting used to. But it just goes to show that even in the hard-nosed world of football business there is room for a rags-to-riches story.

So, the example of the Cherries can be held up as an inspiration to any small business struggling to stay afloat – proof that success can be achieved with a little luck and a lot of hard work.

Indeed, as the old golfer Gary Player once said, “The harder I practise, the luckier I get.” It’s something that remains true today and might be remembered by anyone on their uppers.

Trouble is, next season I won’t be able to get a ticket for love nor money.