Date: 10th June 2017 at 8:59am
Written by:

Former AFC Bournemouth striker and now AFC Bournemouth academy coach Alan Connell is not surprised by the success of Cherries manager Eddie Howe.

Connell, who played 54 games for the Cherries burst onto the scene in 2002 following his capture by Sean O’Driscoll after being spotted in the Premier League exit trials at the end of the 2001/2002 season.

Connell scored his first senior goal for AFCB in his 3rd game for the club in a 1-0 victory at home against Macclesfield. Following on from that Connell scored a further 5 goals including a fantastic chipped effort from the edge of the penalty area in the 3-1 away win at Exeter before cruelly injuring his cruciate ligament at Leyton Orient ending his season.

Following his return for AFCB, Connell scored a further 2 goals. However, it seemed as though he wasn’t the same player prior to his injury and he was released at the end of the 2005 season.

Following spells at Torquay and Hereford, Connell signed for Brentford in July 2007, scoring 12 goals in 43 games for the London outfit, however, most of his appearances for the Bee’s came from the bench.

Connell re-signed for Bournemouth on the 28th August 2008 and was part of the side that avoided relegation from the fourth tier of English football despite a seventeen point deduction and then won promotion from League Two despite a transfer embargo in 2010, scoring one of the goals to clinch promotion at Burton.

He made 60 appearances during his second spell before going on to play for Grimsby, Swindon, Bradford and Northampton.

He also had spells in non league with Havant & Waterloovile and Poole Town before re-joining AFC Bournemouth in August 2015 as an Under 12’s academy coach.

Discussing the season when AFC Bournemouth avoided relegation to non league football and potential extinction following a seventeen point deduction, Connell told Bradford supporters website ‘The Width of a Post’

“Eddie took over – I think it was New Year`s Eve, so halfway through the season. We were adrift. We were sort of – we weren`t going anywhere, really. We were struggling. I can`t remember how many points we were off safety, it was a lot, and straight away, he had us organised – he just had that aura and presence about him, and people wanted to play for him.

“It probably helped that he was Bournemouth through and through, and he knew us and we knew him. You just never wanted to let him down. You knew how much work he put into it. It galvanised not just the playing squad, but the whole club rallied round. He really brought the [playing] group together, used the siege mentality of, everything`s against us, all the old clich├ęs. Everything about him – it`s no surprise to me he`s gone on to be the success that he is today.

“…Now I`m back working at the club, I`m fortunate people often remind me of it. The one big thing that stands out with that squad is the team spirit – difficult circumstances can bring groups together and that certainly did that for us during that spell…”

Connell concluded…

‘…I`ve been fortunate enough to watch him coach this season, and he sees things that probably no one else does. He puts so much effort into his work that he demands the same off the whole club and all the players. He wants the best from people. Everyone buys into it because of who he is and the success he`s brought. You can`t help but want to improve, being in the environment he`s created.”

Your Say…

Ken Baileys Ghost wrote…

A sound bloke.

Great that he’s back at DC.

If he hadn’t got injured early on he could have gone all the way and played in the EPL.
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