Barring an unforeseen disaster of catastrophic proportions — losing their final game of the season by more than a dozen goals — Bournemouth will officially seal promotion to the Premier League for the 2015-16 season on Saturday. (Even then, Bournemouth would find themselves safely into next month’s promotion playoffs.)
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Following Monday’s 3-0 victory over Bolton at Dean Court stadium in Bournemouth (seen above, covered by fans), Eddie Howe’s men are just about as close to promotion to England’s top division as is possible, without actually being guaranteed a place in next year’s Premier League.
The Cherries currently sit three and four points ahead of third- and fourth-placed Middlesbrough and Norwich City, but by virtue of the goal differential tiebreaker, are miles and miles ahead (19 and 12 goals, respectively) in the race for the Championship’s second and final automatic promotion place.
Bournemouth rode a pair of first-half goals, scored by Marc Pugh (9th league goal of the season) and Matt Ritchie (13th league goal), and a late exclamation point from leading goalscorer Callum Wilson to victory on Monday, as Bournemouth prepare for their first season of top-flight competition in club history (Bournemouth was founded in 1890 and joined the Football League in 1923).
Howe, who made over 250 appearances for the club as a player, is in his second stint as Bournemouth manager at the tender age of 37. Howe reassumed the reins at Dean Court in October 2012 and helped the club to promotion to the Championship later that season. Fast forward through two seasons in the Championship, and Howe’s side is now Premier League-bound.
Wilson, 23, led the line for Bournemouth for much of the season, scoring 20 goals in 44 games thus far, but is just one of four players (Yann Kermorgant, Brett Pitman and Ritchie) to reach double-digit goals scored, with another pair of players — Hugh and Harry Arter — on 9 and 8 goals, respectively.
No team in the Championship has scored more goals that Bournemouth’s 95, as things stand now (Watford, who gained promotion on Saturday, have scored 90), while only Middlesbrough (37) have conceded fewer goals than Bournemouth’s 45.
As for Bournemouth fans, they’re understandably thrilled to be going up to the Premier League next season, as they voiced their joy throughout the final 15 minutes of Monday’s game.
Bournemouth fans chanting the Match of the Day theme tune.
— Rory Smith (@RorySmithTimes) April 27, 2015
Bournemouth are away to Charlton on Saturday, needing only a point — or a loss and points dropped by both Middlesbrough and Norwich — to officially officially go up.