We all know AFC Bournemouth will be punching well above their weight week in, week out in the Premier League next season, but this is a ringing endorsement from the people of Philadelphia.
Well, the head coach of the Philadelphia Union, Jim Curtin, at least.
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Ahead of Bournemouth’s preseason friendly with the Major League Soccer side at PPL Park on Tuesday, Curtin likened the incredible rags-to-riches rise of Eddie Howe’s side to that of Philadelphia’s favorite fictional son: Rocky Balboa.
Howe has masterminded an unbelievable journey by the Cherries who nearly went out of business and battled relegation from the fourth-tier of English soccer in 2009, but are now a Premier League side for the first time in club history for the 2015-16 season.
Bournemouth’s Vitality Stadium holds just 11,700 spectators and following their remarkable promotion to the PL, the story of the club from a sleepy seaside town is the stuff of legends. Just like Rocky.
Here is more from Curtin via the Bournemouth Echo:
“Rocky always comes to mind when Philadelphia gets brought up but Bournemouth’s story is a real one,” Curtin said. “They actually did it on the field and got promoted to the best league in the world so their story is special.
“They have young but good staff and a great team. Any team that gets a plus-53 goal difference in a season is doing a lot of things right. It means you’re not just scoring goals but preventing them as well and that is something we try to emulate.
“There are similarities between the clubs. Obviously, they have a much longer history and have done some special things on the field and now get to test themselves against some of the top teams in the world.
“I think they will be up to the fight.”