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Can AFC Bournemouth survive in the Premier League and do they need a bigger ground to do so?

AFC Bournemouth are currently enjoying their 3rd season in the Premier League having been promoted as Championship champions in 2015.

Since their promotion Bournemouth have fared well, finishing 5 points clear of relegation in their inaugural season following up with a very impressive 9th place finish in their second season.

AFC Bournemouth

These recent seasons in the Premier League have seen an uptick in the Club's exposure through national and international TV deals and has also seen multi-year, multi-million pound sponsorship deal with MansionBet.

The history of AFC Bournemouth

Bournemouth joined the Football League in 1923 as Bournemouth & Boscombe Athletic, playing in the Third Division South and Third Division for 39 consecutive seasons before relegation to the Fourth Division in 1970.

The Cherries renamed themselves to AFC Bournemouth and spent the next 17 years bouncing between the bottom two tiers before being promoted to Division Two in 1987. This was the first time they'd ever played in the second tier.

Relegation back down the third tier followed 3 years later where the club stayed for 17 of the next 18 seasons before financial trouble saw them deducted 27 points in 2 seasons and a return to the bottom rung of the English football ladder as recently as 2008.

With Eddie Howe appointed as Manager, the club then enjoyed a fairytale decade winning 2 promotions including their first ever to the top flight in their 120 year history. As of 2019, the club have spent as many years in the top division as they have in the second division (3 each).

With the club's relative lack of historical success, it's easy to see why AFCB's Dean Court home isn't very big. With a capacity of just 11,360 the ground is by far the smallest in the Premier League but is sold out most weeks. However, it's one that Bournemouth have found difficult to fill in the past with the club having never achieved a season average attendance of more than 13,000 in their history. In fact the club's record attendance is a rather small 28,799 set against Manchester United in 1957.

It's a strange one to work out why though. The town of Bournemouth has a population of 187,000 which puts in on par with the likes of Preston, Norwich and Middlesbrough - all much better supported teams than the Cherries.

Dean Court

And it's stranger still when you look at Bournemouth's geography. The closest major teams are Southampton and Portsmouth - both historically more successful, but at 25 and 36 miles away from Dean Court, neither should have a big impact on their attendance. Indeed there's only one other league club within 50 miles and that's Yeovil... maybe they just don't like football in Bournemouth!!

But, if the club manage to maintain their Premier League status, the fans will stay and the season ticket waiting list will grow which means the Cherries will have to look at either expanding their current stadium or building a brand new one. Only time will tell what the club decides to do.

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