Over the past couple of games AFC Bournemouth players, management and supporters have been dealt a blow that has made it feel like those in charge of officiating Premier League matches have been rather unjust in their performances in AFC Bournemouth fixtures.
AFC Bournemouth midfielder Dan Gosling spoke to the media following the game with Sheffield United and alleged that referee Jon Moss had made some rather ill-advised comments regarding AFC Bournemouth’s performance in that game and their position in the relegation zone.
The usual stance of any referee criticism from player or manager is a fine and a ticking off, but no repercussions were made for Gosling and the Cherries.
— Bryan Swanson (@skysports_bryan) February 12, 2020
Ahead of the match with Burnley, AFC Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe made some comments in regards to future use of VAR.
Somewhat ironically after some criticism that potentially the worst performance of a Video Assistant Referee would follow in the game against Burnley, which would see AFC Bournemouth have two goals disallowed for incorrect handball decisions, the second compounded further with not only a goal disallowed, but a penalty to Burnley awarded instead, changing the game from 1-1 to 2-0.
For a team in the midst of a relegation battle, it was a crushing blow and has left everyone feeling like its AFC Bournemouth against everyone else.
Really feel for the travelling fans today. Thanks for the support. We’ve got to stick together as we are up against everyone it seems. It hit his shoulder so it’s handball. Makes sense 🙄 11 cup finals to prove everybody wrong. 🍒
— Steve Cook (@SteveCook28) February 22, 2020
"It's almost a three-goal swing against us today. It's very very harsh on the team."
Eddie Howe believes key decisions went against Bournemouth as they were beaten 3-0 by Burnley at Turf Moor. pic.twitter.com/x8ZDrfK0AU
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) February 22, 2020
It, of course, is not the first time that AFC Bournemouth have felt that the powers that be were conspiring against them. Over the course of six months, the Football League deducted 27 points from AFC Bournemouth in 2008, resulting in the clubs relegation from League One and near relegation from League Two and out of the Football League altogether.
If that wasn’t enough they also gave the Cherries a transfer embargo which lasted nearly a year and a half, forcing players to play through niggles and injuries, potentially shortening their careers, whilst also seeing previously retired assistant manager Jason Tindall forced to make an unwanted comeback.
AFC Bournemouth regularly fielded just three substitutes in those days and that included a schoolboy.
It created a mentality that the footballing authorities were against the Cherries, AFC Bournemouth were the club that the Football League wanted to see the back of, or at least that’s how it felt to fans and staff alike, this was personal.
Ironically the Football League got their wish in the end and got rid of AFC Bournemouth from their club of 72 just six years later, however not in the way that they had envisioned as three promotions later AFC Bournemouth joined the elite in the Premier League and left the Football League through the glass ceiling rather than the basement trapdoor.
The top flight of English football embraced AFC Bournemouth, a fairytale story, showing every club up and down the land that the dream of reaching the pinnacle of English football is still alive and well, despite it being awash with billions in television revenue.
The story was flogged to foreign markets, alien to the concept of promotion and relegation, like in United States of America and Canada, television networks filmed documentaries about the phenomenal rise of the seaside town club. It was great for the brand and Premier League plc and AFC Bournemouth proved popular in North American markets which was a benefit to the Premier League.
Fast-forward five years and the novelty value has worn off. What’s left is a tiny club, that still doesn’t even own its football stadium, built for lower league football, with attendances often just a third of that of the next lowest attendance in the division.
The Championship is awash with clubs with bigger stadiums, bigger fanbases, top-flight history and pedigree with tales of European exploits to boast of. AFC Bournemouth is now the club holding on to one of those spots that so-called more deserving clubs want and the Premier League media want us gone.
This is what happens when you say you wouldn't care if Bournemouth were relegated…
— BBC 5 Live Sport (@5liveSport) March 30, 2019
Is it a conspiracy? Of course not.
Did Dan Gosling’s complaints regarding referee Jon Moss really sway the decisions of VAR in the following match to punish AFC Bournemouth? Of course not.
But is this something that AFC Bournemouth should tap into in a bid to avoid relegation out of the Premier League? Of course.
The legends of the Greatest Escape and promotion just a year later had an inbuilt siege mentality. They had a personal axe to grind against the establishment and in doing so a team spirit like no other was forged and formed and flourished.
This squad, includes many younger players, products from elite academies that have never had to face adversity before. They don’t have the experience of getting themselves out of a hole. Can some unjust decisions galvanise them into a team a group, with a fighting mentality and team spirit and make themselves club legends in the process?
Recent home games against Aston Villa and Brighton & Hove Albion have shown the quality and commitment is there. But with backs against the wall, AFC Bournemouth against “everyone else”, let’s come out metaphorically swinging.
The establishment doesn’t want us. Let’s prove them wrong again.
Tinpot Club Wrote…
There needs to be some meeting between the club and whoever runs the refs where we can air our grievances in private. What has happened in the last 3 games isn’t normal.
Ironically, as far as performance went, Moss wasn’t actually too bad. The decisions by Taylor and Kavanagh defy logic. Obviously mistakes can happen, but Taylor was clearly influenced by some confirmation bias to send Lerma off. Yesterday we are owed an explanation as to how Kavanagh doesn’t even understand the laws of the game. – Join the conversation, click here.