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AFC Bournemouth: A Fairytale To Savour

 

Image Courtesy of Ahli Web, flickr.com

Image Courtesy of Ahli Web, flickr.com

In the players’ canteen at AFC Bournemouth there is a huge mural entitled “The Journey”.

It tells the remarkable story of a club that was on the brink of going out of business just eight years ago. The liquidators were waiting in a hotel around the corner from the club’s stadium, ready to pull the plug. The landlords had locked the gates. Goods had been repossessed from the club shop. Chairman Jeff Mostyn staved off bankruptcy by writing a £750,000 cheque.

Now, with Bournemouth about to become the smallest club ever to play in the Premier League, he is celebrating what he calls “the greatest fairy tale since Hans Christian Andersen wrote his last one”.

That mural at the training ground is a reminder to the players just how far their club has come since the fans passed around the collection buckets to keep it alive and the Football League slapped a 17-point deduction on Bournemouth. It’s a reminder that never in the club’s 125-year-old story have they played in the top flight; a reminder that when their 37-year-old manager Eddie Howe, a former player who’s been associated with the club since the age of 10, took over they were in the League One relegation zone; a reminder that the players who have taken them to the promised land of the Premier League include Harry Arter, signed for £4,000 from non-league Woking.

The story of Bournemouth’s resurgence under the inspirational leadership of Howe, who was the youngest coach in the league when he became player-manager, also owes much to its low-key Russian benefactor Maxim Demin, who invested in the club four years ago and has bankrolled it since. Yet, the club has spent only a fraction of the amount its Championship rivals have lavished on trying to reach the Premier League – its stadium capacity is less than 11,000 – and, in any event, the real hero remains Mostyn, who personifies the club’s refusal to lie down and die when it faced liquidation three times in six months.

At PHA Media, when we talk to our clients, we promise to help them tell their story. For any business, communicating its story effectively, both to its staff and to the outside world, is an essential component of success.

AFC Bournemouth has a great story to tell. That mural at the training ground is a way of ensuring the players never forget it.

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