The 2015-16 season will be remembered by Bournemouth fans forever. After all, it’s the first time the Cherries have ever played in England’s top division.
This is an amazing turnaround in fortunes in itself, as back in 2008, AFC Bournemouth entered administration for the second time in 10 years.
With their finances buoyant and their players performing, the club have risen from the ashes, moving up from League Two in just five years.
Now in the Premier League, could Bournemouth extend their stay for at least another season?
At the start of the 2015-16 season, we offered betting odds that reflected the fact that the Dean Court outfit were a club on the rise. We gave odds of 5/1 on Bournemouth finishing within the top 10, which at the time of writing (March 2016) is still within reach.
If you fancied a real punt at the start of the season, we were also offering odds of 750/1 on Eddie Howe leading his side to a top four finish, and 7500/1 to amaze us all and win the league!
History in the Premier League
This is AFC Bournemouth’s first ever season in the Premier League and also their first in the top flight. With a stadium capacity of 11,464, Bournemouth are real minnows. Before gaining promotion to the Premier League, Bournemouth’s record signing was reported to be £3 million!
Compare this to Manchester United, whose stadium holds more than 75,000 and who paid a record fee of £59.7 million for Ángel Di María in 2014 and you will see just how huge an achievement Bournemouth’s promotion is.
In May 2015, we named Bournemouth manager, Eddie Howe, as the Ladbrokes #Masteratwork.
With honours including the Football League Manager of the Decade Award to his name, Howe may have to invest in a bigger trophy cabinet should the Cherries continue to perform above expectations.
Having been a manager for seven years, Howe has already done enough to be named Football League “Manager of the Decade” at the tender age of 38.
After injury forced his early retirement from professional football, he became the youngest manager in the Football League when he took the job as boss of the Cherries in January 2009, at the age of 31.
In his two spells at Bournemouth, Howe has continued to show a close attention to detail. Unlike many clubs with a history in the lower leagues, Howe has led his side through the divisions with a strict philosophy of free-flowing, passing football.
Bournemouth signed Benik Afobe in January 2016, for a reported club record fee of £10 million. Afobe scored three goals in his first four matches.
Howe signed Afobe with a view to keeping Bournemouth afloat over the second half of the season. Since the side were four points above the bottom three at the point they signed the ex-Wolves striker, it seems to be doing the trick.
The London-born hitman’s ability to score goals could well be what makes or breaks Bournemouth’s future status as a Premier League club.
Bournemouth are a relatively small club, who at first glance seem out of place in a top flight which is now more dominated by money than it ever was.
However, the brilliant Eddie Howe is used to achieving great things on a shoestring budget. With this in mind, we wouldn’t bet against them staying up – would you?