Former AFC Bournemouth captain and new Aston Villa signing Tommy Elphick has thanked Eddie Howe for the ‘remarkable journey’ he enjoyed on the south coast for the last four years.
Elphick made the move along the south coast from Brighton & Hove Albion to the Cherries in August 2012.
The transfer was officially undisclosed, but was reportedly around £175,000.
He was signed by former manager Paul Groves and Elphick played 8 League One games under Groves before he was sacked.
During that spell, the Cherries had won just 7 points, scoring 10 goals and conceding 17.
Eddie Howe and assistant Jason Tindall both made a sensational return to the Cherries on 12th October 2012.
With the team in the relegation zone after just one victory in eleven games, the impact was instant, a fifteen game unbeaten run in the league saw the Cherries climb the table.
The run eventually ended, but the Cherries heads didn’t drop, with five consecutive wins completing a turnaround that saw the side close down a 21 point deficit to former leaders Tranmere, to league leaders in just four months.
The Cherries incredibly then lost the next five consecutive matches and the team slipped from the top of the table to seventh and out of the play-off places.
The chance for automatic promotion looked to have gone with only nine games to go, but eight consecutive wins which set an all time club record of consecutive victories for the Cherries, won promotion to the Championship with one game of the season to go.
Elphick was made captain and made 39 appearances during the Cherries amazing turn around.
The following season, still as captain, the Cherries went on to finish 10th, a club record finish in the second tier of English football with Elphick making 42 appearances.
The 2014/15 season however proved that the best was yet to come.
Elphick made 50 appearances in all competitions as AFC Bournemouth went on to win the Championship title, earning promotion to the Premier League.
As captain, Elphick lifted the famous Football League Championship trophy, celebrating AFC Bournemouth’s first promotion to the top flight of English football.
The Cherries won the league with 90 points, dramatically beating Watford to the title after their 91st minute slip up against Sheffield Wednesday.
Unfortunately for the Cherries captain, he went on to miss the majority of that following campaign due to injury.
Elphick didn’t feature at all for side in the Premier League between 12th September 2015 and 2nd April 2016 due to an ankle injury.
Elphick required an operation after it was later revealed that he had chipped a bone in his ankle in the 4-3 win at West Ham in August.
Elphick slowly worked his way towards full match fitness with a number of appearances for the Cherries development squad and two appearances for the first team in the FA Cup in January 2016, but he could not break back into the Cherries back four whilst Adam Smith, Simon Francis, Steve Cook and Charlie Daniels remained fit.
Following Smith’s injury and Francis reverting back to full back, Elphick returned to the squad and played the final 7 games of the season.
Elphick told the Daily Echo…
“It has been a remarkable journey, The club has enjoyed a meteoric rise and it is showing no signs of stopping…”
‘…Someone once described us as a bunch of misfits and we are! We were brought together in different circumstances and have achieved great success and had some truly wonderful times. I will forever be indebted to Paul Groves for signing me and to Maxim Demin (AFC Bournemouth majority shareholder) for the contracts he has given me. That was my platform to represent this amazing football club, something I have been proud and honoured to have done.
“The first 12 games under Paul were tough but I think that made us in some respects. We had to dig ourselves out and the gaffer (Howe) was the one who gave us the guidance.
“He was a breath of fresh air from the moment he walked through the door. He gave everyone a lift and didn`t have to do too much for our first game. We were lacking confidence and he gave us belief. For me, his arrival showed what the next four years were going to hold…’
Silent AFCB said…
Thanks for everything Tommy and wish you the very best in the future. – Join the conversation here.
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