Although there are no exact dates regarding the clubs formation, it is believed that a club called Boscombe St. John's Lads’ Institute FC who were formed in 1890 became the basis of Boscombe FC when formed in 1899. The team started out playing at Castlemain Road in Pokesdown for the first couple of seasons before moving to a pitch in King's Park.
In 1910 the club President, Mr. J.E. Cooper-Dean gave the club some wasteland next to King's Park so they could build their own home. In return the club called it Dean Court. There were several cherry orchards in the adjoining fields, and it's from that the club nicknamed of 'The Cherries' is thought to have come.
After a decade at their new home, Boscombe progressed to the Southern League from the Hampshire League. In an attempt to become more representative of the area they changed their name to Bournemouth and Boscombe Athletic FC in 1923, the same year that they became members of the Football League. The following year the Main Stand was brought from the Empire Exhibition at Wembley and erected at Dean Court.
The club played in Division Three South and then the newly formed Third Division continually for tens of years. They were eventually relegated in 1970 but won immediate promotion with John Bond having a spell as manager of an attractive team including Ted MacDougall, who scored nine goals in an 11-0 FA Cup win against Margate. The team adopted the colours of red and black rather than red and white in an attempt to emulate AC Milan's stylish look. The following year the club changed its name to AFC Bournemouth.
The Cherries were relegated once more in 1975 and it took them seven years to regain their place in the third tier of the League. The following year, AFC Bournemouth's former winger Harry Redknapp took over as team manager and gradually brought success to Dean Court. In 1984 Manchester United were dumped out of the FA Cup and two years later promotion was won with a championship to the second tier for the first time in the clubs history.
On Saturday 5th May 2000, part of a Bank Holiday weekend, Leeds United visited town for a vital game for both clubs. Leeds won with a single goal to win promotion to the top flight, while the defeat relegated AFC Bournemouth. Redknapp resigned to move to West Ham United but the effects on the club were far worse. The visiting fans caused over £1M pounds in damage around the town over the weekend and generally petrified the locals. The incidents were even discussed in parliament, such was the extent. The damage was felt for the next thirteen years by the club as the local police refused any home matches to be played on Bank Holidays, which were generally a great money spinner.
Mel Machin spent several years as manager before Sean O'Driscoll took over at the turn of the millennium. The club moved out of the ageing Dean Court, which had suffered after the Bradford and Hillsborough disasters more than most to play matches at The Avenue Stadium, home of neighbours Dorchester Town. While they were away the ground was demolished with the pitch turned ninety degrees to create more space.
On their return to traditional territory, AFC Bournemouth were relegated. The board kept faith in their boss, probably owing to the clubs precarious financial situation, and were rewarded with promotion in 2003 when The Cherries beat Lincoln City 5-2 in the Millennium Stadium Play Off Final.
Over the next few seasons the team did alright while off the pitch the ownership of the club changed hands when a consortium headed by Jeff Mostyn took over. O'Driscoll and his assistant Richard O'Kelly left the club to join Doncaster Rovers. Kevin Bond took over but was forced to offload lots of players including star striker James Hayter to Doncaster to try and balance the books. Loan signings and free transfers came in including Lee Bradbury.
On 7th February 2008, AFC Bournemouth were forced into administration, suffering a 10-point deduction which put them in relegation trouble. AFC Bournemouth had debts of around £4 million and almost went out of business completely. Bond and his players did their best under extreme circumstances. The only bid for the club came in from Mostyn, but the administrators Begbies Traynor but it was deemed illegal. They warned that the club could close at the end of that season unless funding was forthcoming. The team were relegated on the final day of the season. Paul Baker became the new owner of the club.
The Football League required assurances that the club could fulfil its fixtures before it allowed them to take their place for the 2008-09 season. They gave permission but gave AFC Bournemouth to start the season, but they began with a seventeen point deduction owing to financial irregularities.
By New Year 2009 Bond had left and Jimmy Quinn his replacement had been sacked. Eddie Howe was appointed as the new manager after being elevated from his role as head of the club's Centre of Excellence. He became the League's youngest manager at the age of thirty one. A local businessman Adam Murry tried to buy 50% of the club but struggled to pay for it from Baker. Meanwhile Howe and his charges performed a near miracle by retaining their League place with a agme to spare.
In June 2009 a new consortium took over AFC Bournemouth. It included Murry, Mostyn and outspoken Dorchester Town Chairman Eddie Mitchell who eventually sold Town to become The Cherries Chairman. In Howe's first season in charge the team finished second and won promotion to League One. His abilities were admired by many in the game, so it was no surprise when he left to join Burnley the following season.
Lee Bradbury took over the reigns and like Howe he lost players for transfer fees, which upset the club's loyal fans who were tired of the continual financial saga at the club. Mitchell lost his composure at a home game against Chesterfield, while allegedly imbibed, as fans voiced their criticisms.
To watch go to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OgAYVjUlvKM
However, Russian investors became involved at the club, which steadied the finances but led to a further embarrassment after the wife of one of them was invited into the changing rooms at half time to deliver the team talk. Bradbury struggled before been replaced by Paul Groves in March 2012. Meanwhile Eddie Howe was said to be homesick while in his role at Burnley, so in a hugely popular move he returned to the Goldsands Stadium, as Dean Court had been rebranded, as manager in October 2012.
The appointment paid dividends as Howe's side won automatic promotion to the League's second tier with a fourth stand being erected to complete the Dean Court stadium.
Bournemouth's first season back in the second tier was one full of encouragement that ended in a mid table finish, before Howe carefully strengthened the squad in the summer of 2014.
The moves paid off as Howe's side swept all before them. A 3-0 win at Charlton Athletic on the final day of the 2014-15 season saw AFC Bournemouth crowned as Championship title winners and seal a first ever promotion to the top flight.
More signings such as Tyrone Mings, Glenn Murray, Sylvain Distin and Max Gradel came in for the new season to augment the talent of the likes of Matt Ritchie and Callum Wilson.
AFC Bournemouth will play in the FA Premier League in the 2015-16 season.
AFC Bournemouth 2 Hull City 3 (Saturday 5th November 1983) League Division Three
I was at college in Borehamwood just to the north of London and an avid Hull City fan as well as getting to as many Scarborough matches as I could. A trip to Bournemouth wasn't something I was going to turn down, especially with The Tigers going well at the time.
I caught the train from Waterloo and got talking to some fellow City fans. We arrived quite early and took the pleasant long walk to the ground. It was the first time I'd ever heard of fixed odds coupons as some of the lads with me went to put theirs on. I wish I'd never found out! It was a bright clear day, if a little chilly, but Bournemouth seemed quite a nice place to me.
Dean Court was a traditional ground. I'd first seen it on Match of the Day as a youngster during the John Bond years and it seemed good to me. That said, Layer Road at Colchester didn't look bad on TV! We were stood on an open terrace called The Brighton Beach End as it once consisted of pebbles. At the other end there was a large terracing with a roof over the back. To the right was a long low covered terrace and to the left the old all seated Main Stand.
City really flew out of the traps and went three nil up after half an hour, which included a long range beauty from left back Mick Hollifield. Bournemouth got one back before the break. At half time the old England mascot Ken Bailey walked round the pitch in his full regalia. He apparently lived locally. On TV he always looked impecably dressed, but close up he was a bit of a mess if truth be told.
I got back to Waterloo and made my way back to the suburbs, very happy with my day out.
I travelled to this game against Crawley Town, with AFCB embarking on a long unbeaten run and hovering around the play offs, as were Crawley since the return of Eddie Howe. I expected a good match as I jumped aboard the train at Waterloo for the two hour ride to Pokesdown station.
The older photos of the original Dean Court have been taken from the internet as I did not take my camera on my first visit