Written by kirsikka
Yann Kermorgant’s football career might never have happened. Aged fourteen he was diagnosed with bone marrow cancer and that took four years away from his development. After winning that battle he then defied the odds and his doctor’s predictions to finally break into the ranks of professional football.
When he signed for AFC Bournemouth on 31st January 2014, we were 14th in the Championship and still finding our feet at that level. When he left on 20th January 2016 we were 15th in the Premier League and the story of the club had been changed forever.
He scored 27 goals and made 14 assists in 69 appearances for the Cherries, notching a goal at the rate of more than one every 81 minutes. More than just the stats though, he was absolutely instrumental in our Championship winning season. A powerhouse in the air that made you want to see crosses pumped into him until you saw his genius when he had the ball at his feet. He had that certain je ne sais quoi that could get a whole stadium standing. It left you wanting the ball to be crossed to his head and passed to his feet at the same time!
Hugely popular with the fans during his stint at Dean Court, equally so almost everywhere he played, his is a name that will go down in club folklore.
I’ve said it before but it bears repeating. Older fans may still wax lyrical about Phil Boyer and what he did alongside Ted MacDougall. I no longer feel even the slightest tinge of jealousy at not having been born to have watched them in action. Forevermore I will be able to see your Phil and raise you with Yann.
If you missed this series from the start flick back to Part One, click here.
=== LEAVING ===
Did you ask to move on due to lack of playing time or did the offer from Reading come in first?
“Considering the lack of time playing and the fact I would not get more game time, I had decided to consider a move but only for a London club. So when Reading expressed an interest in me I thought that was the right place to go.
Was there any possibility that you might have stayed?
“I would have stayed if I felt I could be something else than just a sub. But the thing is they wanted to sign Lewis Grabban in the summer which almost pushed me to sign for Bristol in August 2015. The deal didn’t happen because Norwich had to buy a player before selling Lewis and I could only leave if we signed Lewis which didn’t happen… So when the deal was on again in January I knew I had to leave or I might not even be on the bench for the rest of the season and with my advanced age I was starving to play as much as I could before the end of my career.
“I want to add that it was too painful to watch the lads enjoying their dream to play in the Premier League whilst I had to be satisﬁed sittng on the bench. I felt down and I didn’t want to say I am in the Premier League if I was not playing.
“I preferred to enjoy life in the Championship which I did afterwards with Reading by reaching a play off final at Wembley rather than sitting on a Premier League bench feeling powerless to change the situation.
Yann says goodbye after signing for Reading:
Do you have any regrets about your spell at AFC Bournemouth?
“Not being here younger to get a proper chance to play in the Premier League.
“The only one is to not have started one game in the Premier League. I have not been able to convince the manager to trust me even if I was getting old or not quick enough. I think I was good enough to have a chance, especially seeing my teammates still playing in the Premier League, and so many players I played against in the Championship playing in the Premier League as well…
“The promotion season, if you look at my individual stats, I started 26 games and came on as a sub 12 times. I scored 15 goals and had 12 assists and I think it should have been enough to trust me of being capable to play a part in the Premier League. But that’s my own opinion and I don’t blame anyone. The manager and I had a great relationship and he had to take a decision.
“In football, you are not here to reward or to be loyal but you are here to try your best to stay up which they did since then so hats oﬀ to the gaﬀer and the lads! I felt just like when you win a big prize but you can’t touch it!
=== MANAGEMENT AND THE FUTURE ===
Now your playing career is officially over are you still planning to move into the property business or are you now having thoughts about a backroom role in football?
“During my time as a footballer, we have been really cautious with our lifestyle so we have enjoyed but moderately to make sure we can enjoy it even after football. I prefer to live nicely than spending a lot during 10 years living the dream and then being in trouble because I didn’t put enough in the safe for the future…
“I love investing in properties and imagine what we could do with a good renovation, that’s pretty cool and I really like it! And to be honest, even if we have spent moderately, I have not earned enough to stop doing anything to enjoy life so I have to find another way to earn money to put my family safe for the future and still enjoy things like going to restaurants or on holidays with my family or friends!
“Concerning football, I want to do something a bit different at the moment, except for coaching my son who plays football in the same club I started at when I was younger. The club needs people to drive the kids to the games or even coach them at the weekend so it’s a pleasure to help and follow my son… I am really focused on my family now after having 15 years of my life given to football.
Is there a position that could tempt you to come back to AFC Bournemouth?
“From a personal point of view, I would love to come back to watch a game and say hello to everyone or get the game underway. It would be funny to hear my song for one last time 😜 . Otherwise why not working one day as a scout for the club and look at good players in Brittany.
What one thing can you single out that you think Eddie Howe and Jason Tindall improved in your game?
“The intensity and standard of training sessions were very high, I have never felt the same elsewhere and all the details were very important. That made us better and got results higher than expected.
How would you describe their coaching style relative to the other managers you played under?
“I remember the manager was involving everybody in his passing drill and I remember everyone was under pressure to succeed doing it, even members of the staff. The high demands from the manager to every single person involved in the club has enabled it to be where it is now.
You only have to look at how revered some of the Cherries players from the 70s still are to know that our fans will still be talking about you and your time with us in forty years time. How does that thought make you feel?
“I am really proud if I have left a good impression with the fans and I will always be grateful. We made history by reaching the Premier League and that will last forever! I am sure I will remember my song until I die 😄
After you left, I said on the forum that I hoped to one day read your autobiography as it felt like your journey through football was a really interesting one. Might we one day see that?
“That’s funny because lots of people told me I should write a book. So much of my journey was incredible with lots of twists and it could be a good example of bravery and tenacity!
“If I do it one day it would be in order to give kids with illness the belief they can achieve their dream and they should never give up.
One of my favourite sentences is: “while there is life there is hope.
Have you got your Championship medal on display?
“The medal is in a cupboard in my son’s bedroom! I might dedicate a room in my next house to football memories like shirts and medals…
Having given a message for the Charlton fans earlier, do you also have one for the Cherries faithful where you are also much beloved?
“I would like to thank them so much, they are engraved forever in my memories and I am so grateful. As we say in French, when I left it was just an “au revoir” and I will come back some day!
=== AND FINALLY ===
Do you have a ‘backstage’ photo of your time at the club that you’d be happy to share with us and that we could include?
“The best picture for me is the one with my son at The Valley after winning the league! I was so proud to have him with me.
Did you ever get annoyed at the stats given to you on FIFA or Football Manager?
“I don’t really know my stats on FIFA to be honest because I don’t play that much anymore (even if I like it) but I think I have always had a bad pace stat which is a bit unfair considering I was close to the best on the speed tests in preseason! Maybe a bit slow at pulling away but then not that slow 😅
The current world situation has left football leagues with some very tricky decisions to make. If they decide to finish the season on a points per game basis, that will see AFC Bournemouth relegated despite the fact the fixture lists would have been incomplete and uneven. What do you think they should do?
“The situation is very special and it’s sad to say that but there is nothing else we can do than taking those decisions even if you will always have some clubs feeling that decision is unfair… It’s the same in France but what do you want to do in those circumstances? Every decision will have an impact at some clubs and I would be really sad to see Bournemouth go down but unfortunately, you have no other solution 😢
“Charlton is in the same situation so it’s even more disappointing for me because two of my previous clubs could be affected by the situation.
One of the regular posters on our Cherries fans forum is a former chef now retired to a life in Brittany. If he was to oﬀer to invite you over and cook you a tribute meal would you accept or politely decline? I haven’t actually asked him if he wants to but I’m guessing it’s the kind of thing he’d say. I should also warn you, I’ve never eaten his food… could be amazing, could be a bowl of scouse.
“A few weeks ago I met a Charlton fan in a shop at Vannes where I live and he came to me asking if I really was Yann Kermorgant!
It was funny to see a Charlton fan here so we had a chat together and that was cool
“It will always be a pleasure to meet fans especially in Brittany so why not if one day I am going to his town 😋
My thanks go to Yann for answering so many questions and with so much detail and honesty. I’m sure I’m not the only one who looks forward to that day when he does return to Dean Court and we get to hear the song bounce around the stadium again!
All of Yann’s AFCB goals:
5 of his best AFCB assists: