Date: 1st September 2008 at 7:55pm
Written by:

Sources close to UpTheCherries have suggested that Kevin Bond has been sacked as manager of AFC Bournemouth.

It may have come almost 9 months after fans held their first organised protests regarding the continued employment of Kevin Bond, but after almost 2 years as manager, Kevin Bond has apparently now been relieved of his duties.

Kevin Bond took over as Cherries manager in October 2006, beating the likes of Phil Brown to the position (who has since steered Hull City to the Premier League for the first time in their history).

The “winds of change” were blowing through Dean Court, with talk of the club being taken over playing their part in Sean O`Driscoll`s decision to leave AFC Bournemouth for Doncaster Rovers (who he has since steered into the Championship for the first time in their history).

When O`Driscoll left the Cherries were in eighth, after 3 consecutive wins at home. Admittedly it was the early days of the season. But for a side in transition after a number of players leaving over the summer, there was no talk of relegation around Dean Court, just mid-table meritocracy.

The combination of Joe Roach and Stuart Murdoch were in charge for 6 games, while new Chairman Abdul Jaffer took six weeks to name his replacement. The side failing to win, but also only losing once, picking up five draws and a fair bit of criticism along the way for the lack of results and entertainment.

But things took a severe turn for the worst once Kevin Bond took over, the Cherries then lost 6 league games in a row, plummeting the side into the relegation places.

Some of the worst performances by a Bournemouth side in recent memory were served up at Dean Court and while the club, eventually pulled themselves clear of the relegation places, some supporters had already begun to lose patience with the manager.

Kevin Bond`s record at the end of the season 2006/07 read?

33 games 10 wins 6 draws 17 losses (Scoring 36 goals and conceding 48)

Averaging 1.09 points per game (goals scored 1.09/goals conceded 1.45 per game)

That patience was further tested during the summer and the beginning of the following season.

Fan favourite Steve Fletcher was released from the club after 15 years with the club and Neil Young another fan favourite and custodian of the club, appeared to be being treated with contempt by Kevin Bond, who farmed him off on loan to non league Weymouth, only to recall him when an injury crisis struck.

Kevin Bond`s mass clear out, confused and upset a few supporters, while others agreed with the players that were released. It was a bold move by Bond in his first summer of building a squad. But the players he brought in to replace those that had departed failed to improve the side and actually just weakened it.

On the pitch and the side had made their worst start of the season at home in almost 110 years of Boscombe history.

Talk from new signings of reaching the play-offs (Russ Perrett and Paul Telfer) and Chairman Jeff Mostyn was soon forgotten as come December, the club was rock bottom of League One in twenty fourth place.

Nine home matches had only brought five goals, while conceding nineteen and failing to win a game.

The natives were getting restless, with anti Kevin Bond chants being sung all around Dean Court and banners displaying “Bond Out” slogans, some fans turning against each other, with supporters showing their passion for the club in different ways, it was a desperate time to be a Cherries fan.

A sit down protest outside the ground after one home match was reported by the Daily Echo, it was clear that after over a year in charge, there was no way back for Bond in the mind of some supporters.

Come January and the financial crisis at the club took centre stage, giving Bond breathing space as fans attentions were fixed more on the survival of the club, rather than survival in League One.

February began with the Cherries still in the relegation places; the gap had been brought down to a single point, however other clubs had two games in hand, while Bristol Rovers had four.

Even a win against title favourites Nottingham Forest at home, was not enough for many fans to believe that the club had even a remote chance of staying up and when the decision was announced that the club would go into administration and have ten points deducted, most wrote the season off there and then.

After all, the deduction left the side eleven points from safety (on 19 points) with just sixteen games remaining and considering over the previous sixteen months under Kevin Bond the squad had averaged 0.98 points per game in the league (66 games played, 18 wins, 11 draws, 34 losses, scoring 73 goals – 1.11 goals/games ratio, while conceding 102 – 1.55 goals/games ratio), with the moving safety target of 50 points safety looked impossible.

This unfortunately is how it proved, despite the team putting in automatic promotion style form over the following 16 games.

The side under Kevin Bond won 9 of their matches towards the end of the season, picking up 2 draws, while losing 5 times. A run that scored 1.81 points per game, averaging 1.56 goals per game, while only conceding 1.13 per game.

The Greatest Escape was still on at the end of the season, leading to over a thousand Cherries fans to make the 720 mile round trip to Carlisle United.

A draw at the promotion hopeful under any other circumstance would probably have been seen as a good result, but on this occasion, it left the Cherries two points shy of the magical fifty points and so despite the run AFC Bournemouth were relegated to League Two.

The run, which included six consecutive wins was in vein, however it did save Kevin Bond`s job and gave some supporters hope that Bond had learned from his past mistakes.

Bond himself even admitted to the press at Carlisle that?

…Sometimes, I think I might have been a slow learner and not so quick on the uptake. Maybe it’s taken a little while to find my feet as a player, a coach and a manager. But I feel like I’m getting there slowly?’

So Bond entered his second close season as Cherries manager on the crest of a wave, while some supporters obviously remained doubtful of his abilities to build a squad and motivate them to achieve, the almost greatest escape and the obvious off the field difficulties with the club remaining in administration left Bond in charge and some sections of support remaining positive for the future.

However that short period of optimism was soon crushed once life in League Two had started.

With the club exiting administration (via a new company receiving the football league share and the old company being set to go through the liquidation process), the club started the season on -17 points.

But rather than the side coming out all guns blazing, hitting the ground running in a bid to get back to positive points as soon as possible, Kevin Bond opted to try and stifle the opposition with one man up front.

A tactic which left the Cherries winless after the opening four games of the season, with two draws and two defeats.

His hands had been tied over the summer and was unable to really compete in the transfer market, however the squad had only lost Josh Gowling to Carlisle and Sam Vokes to Wolves, while the majority of the squad remained at the club.

The ability of the players at the club (while being weak in numbers) should be enough to compete in League One, let alone League Two and whilst panic talk of dropping out of the Football League into the Conference, seems a pessimistic view?

The clubs board of new owners Paul Baker and Alastair Saverimutto and non-executive directors Jeff Mostyn and Steve Sly were concerned enough to make public that they had called an emergency board meeting to discuss the sides start to life in League Two on 1st September 2008.

The conclusion of the meeting was that manager Kevin Bond was apparently sacked.

Kevin Bond`s overall League Record (14th October 2006 – 30th August 2008)

Games Played – 86 games, 27 wins, 18 draws, 41 losses, Goals scored 101, Goals conceded 126.

Points Per Game ratio : 1.15

Goals Scored Per Game ratio: 1.17

Goals Conceded Per Game ratio: 1.47

Breaking News Confirmed – Howe and Newman also go