I switched my allegiance to Yeovil some eight years ago , disgusted by the goings on at the club. My brother Greg persisted but on Saturday as we watched Yeovil lose to Hartlepool 0-1, he finally cracked, citing the antics of the not lamented Bradbury and the Russian hoodlums who run his club.
But Bradbury was a symptom not the cause of Bournemouth’s dilemma. At the heart of Bournmouth’s problems is that this club is run by money not by its community .So long as it allows itself to be controlled by power mad crooks, it will continue to flounder. It had a go at being a community club and should try again. Slow and steady growth the Yeovil way- is what AFC Bournemouth need right now.
Instead they are making the headlines for all the wrong reasons making the club the laughing stock of the league.
Cherries: Echo banned by football club
SO, unfortunately, it has come to this.
The Echo was yesterday informed, just four hours before kick-off against Brentford, that our reporters and photographers were no longer welcome at Seward Stadium.
The communication from Cherries media executive Max Fitzgerald brought to a head weeks of needless and childish screw-tightening by the football club that had initially started with Echo reporters being banned from asking questions in Lee Bradbury’s post-match press conferences.
Then, ahead of Saturday’s match against Carlisle, we were told we would not be permitted to stand in on any of Bradbury’s interviews and had to remain in the press box.
Yesterday, more than 100 years of Echo coverage of AFC Bournemouth was brought to a halt by a board, management team and press office hell bent on forcing this newspaper away from our local football club.
Since Eddie Mitchell took charge as chairman in June 2009, helping save the club from almost certain extinction following the ill-fated reign of Sport-6, AFC Bournemouth had received more than 700 back page lead stories from this newspaper.
That coverage, had Mitchell paid Echo advertising prices, would have set back the club in excess of £840,000.
During his tenure, the Echo sports team has run several campaigns aimed at assisting the club through the hard times.
Soon after that, we launched our ‘Bums on Seats’ campaign to help arrest worrying crowd figures, despite the club being on the verge of something really special. They were promoted in a blaze of glory that season.Bradbury, a player at the time, would have seen all this, but it clearly did little to impress him.
Since becoming manager, Bradbury has taken it upon himself to make life increasingly difficult for our reporters.
Just last week, Bradbury phoned one of our reporters because he was upset at our back page headline ‘IMMATURE’.
Bradbury, for the record, described his players as “immature” during his post-match interview at Sheffield Wednesday in front of the written press.
Following that edition of the paper, Bradbury and the Cherries press office stopped our men attending post-match press conferences.
That phone call was just one of many made to our reporters by Bradbury in recent months, with the Cherries boss, for example, keen to express his displeasure at our story with former scout Des Taylor in January.
Taylor simply wanted to point out what a great signing Scott Malone had been.
Mitchell, meanwhile, a man who approaches his own customers aggressively on the pitch, interferes in the home dressing room and swears on national radio, felt our coverage of his much-publicised misdemeanours had been unfair and “negative”.
Mitchell has, in the recent past, tried to tell us which headlines to write and which stories to cover.
Earlier this month, Mitchell invited us to write a story on how Russian Maxim Demin was “investing in him” and urged us to plaster this piece all over the back page. Incidentally, Mitchell’s request came in the aftermath of his radio rant and Irena Demin’s half-time visit to the home dressing room.
However, after being told in no uncertain terms that he did not edit the newspaper, the conversation ended abruptly. No chairman of any football club has the right to dictate to a newspaper.
So, our message to Mitchell, Bradbury and the Cherries media team is this: Give our advertising representatives a call, because the days of editorial backing for your football club are over until such time as you come to terms with what ‘free press’ means.
With a vibrant non-league football scene, a rugby club on the verge the National League proper, a speedway club dubbed the Manchester United of its sport and, lest we forget, the Olympic Games on the horizon, it’s fair to say the Echo will be just fine without AFC Bournemouth.
That, however, doesn’t excuse the fact the club is letting down its supporters, its customers, many of whom travel miles to watch the team week in, week out and it truly is a crying shame that it has come to this.
The Echo, though, would like to wish the players and fans, both innocent parties in this pointless spat, all the very best for the rest of the season and beyond.
As a sad postcript to this article, here’s Bradbury’s lament to Sky Sports following his sacking.
Lee Bradbury is disappoint(ed) at being sacked after 14 months at the helm with six defeats in his last eight games in charge.
The 36-year-old former Cherries striker led the club to the play-off semi-finals last season and despite a disappointing current campaign which sees them lying 13th, he was confident they could push for promotion again next term.
Bradbury has also confirmed he was axed by chairman Eddie Mitchell, rather than leaving by mutual consent.
“I am naturally very disappointed that I have not been give time to see the fruition of all the hard work that has gone in to developing the current squad of players,” he told the League Managers Association.
“I felt that we would be in a position to make a positive challenge for promotion next season, but it was not to be.
“I am never one to duck a challenge, so I would like to take this opportunity to clarify the fact that I did not resign or leave by mutual consent, the chairman decided that he wanted a change and I was dismissed.”
If you run with the hounds….
- Boss Bradbury leaves Bournemouth (bbc.co.uk)
- Bradbury sacked by Bournemouth after bad run (guardian.co.uk)
- National Sport: Bradbury sacked by Bournemouth (coventrytelegraph.net)
- Bradbury axed by Bournemouth (setanta.com)
- Bournemouth ban local paper for critical coverage (independent.co.uk)
- Bournemouth 0-1 Charlton Athletic | League One match report (guardian.co.uk)
- Demin funds redesign to make lowly Bournemouth fashionable (independent.co.uk)
- Will Tubbs continue goalscoring form in League One? (shoutsfromthestands.wordpress.com)
- Bournemouth sign Crawley’s Tubbs (news.bbc.co.uk)
- Wife of Bournemouth’s Russian co-owner gives half-time team talk (guardian.co.uk)
- Chairman: Bournemouth season not dependent on promotion (tribalfootball.com)
- Administrators seek buyer for Seward (Wessex) Ltd (business-sale.com)
- Bournemouth Legal Walk – 21st May 2012 (badilex.wordpress.com)