Bournemouth Fans - Time They Got Real
Ever since Bournemouth gained promotion to league 1 there has been plenty of talk about the south coasts 'second rate` derby, and plenty of discussion ahead of what is to be some exciting derby matches over the season.
Bournemouth fans are perhaps more excited than us about such a matchup, and who can blame them for wanting to get one over on us. However, it seems to me that they have got so hyped up about an upset that they are 'looking forward to stuffing us`.
It seems to me that they have got a little ahead of themselves and forgot just who they are and who they are facing, and yes they are in for a shock but not the one they are hoping for. Time this lot got a reality check - Southampton style.
There are teams in league 1 who have the pedigree to beat us most definitely, the likes of Wednesday and Plymouth are certainly equals and will push us all the way this year. Bournemouth however? They may have determination and pedigree but what else do they have?
Squads - the difference in ability between both teams is quite startling. We narrowly missed out on the playoffs last year and have last years top goal scorer in the country heading a strong attack.
What do they have? The best they have to answering Lamberts impressive form is Brett Pitman, a youth team prospect who finished as one of the top goal scorers in league 2. He has also attracted the interest of many clubs and could leave before the start of the season.
But can he be a competent striker in this league? Playing against sides that have been relegated from the championship and possess championship class players is a little different to 'Lincoln` away.
Just a thought before they get their hopes up too much.
I guess they can place their hopes of not only beating us but staying up as well on Steve Fletcher, a 37 year old league 1 journeyman who has only scored 15 goals in the last 4 years, or maybe on new signing Steve Lovell who signed from the mighty Partick Thistle and has managed 11 goals over the last 2 years.
Looking at those attacking options I can`t see them even surviving in this league, and beating us? It would be one hell of an upset.
I wonder then what our midfield of Hammond, Schneiderlin, Lallana and Puncheon will be facing when Bournemouth come to SMS, well there`s not much class in this part of the field either with a mix of inexperienced lower league youngsters and youth team rejects.
The likes of Danny Hollands who was released by Chelsea before being snapped up by Bournemouth in 06 has been impressive in league 2, but has not shown any real snippets of league 1 quality.
Liam Feeney joined Bournemouth from non-league Salisbury in February and severely lacks in league 1 experience, with a total of one loan appearance for Southend as his only playing time at this level.
Inexperienced players who are not proven league 1 performers will be up against the Saint`s finest, Dean Hammond has years of experience in this league and has the ability to break up the game in the middle of the park, Morgan Schneiderlin has been linked with Newcastle in recent seasons as well as the ever skilful Adam Lallana.
Again you have to ask yourself how they expect a team of youngsters and has beens to avoid the inevitable relegation dogfight that will face them this year, with little experience of playing at this level I`m afraid their optimism will be dashed.
Defensively there is no contest, again the Bournemouth line up in this part of the field consists of former youth teamers at Premiership clubs who never made the grade anywhere else, the likes of Ryan Garry have failed to go beyond the bottom of the lower leagues since being released from Arsenal.
Even the clubs match captain, who is supposed to be a leader on the field is vastly inexperienced at the age of 22, a loan to Woking followed by a move to league 1, and once again has failed to show any promise of going up the leagues.
When you put that against our own defence? We have the likes of Jose Fonte who is a proven championship centre half, a player who could have moved to any club in the championship chose to join us on the sunny south coast, other experienced defenders like Radhi Jaidhi and Danny Butterfield complete a defence that could easily hold its own in the championship.
Perhaps they are buoyed by Brightons achievements rather than the quality of the teams? Though they would be foolish to forget that Brighton have a squad of vastly seasoned players who have been together for some time, they would also be foolish to forget that Brighton have a decent manager at the helm.
What about Eddie Howe you ask? He`s supposed to be a decent up and coming manager, or another word for someone who has failed to prove himself at any level higher than league 2, sure he won the club promotion from league 2 but that doesn`t make him a great manager at any level.
His recent success is countered by his lack of management experience and time in this game, when you compare him to our very own Alan Pardew? It`s obvious that Pards has the advantage in terms of managing successful clubs and players.
AP is an FA cup finalist manager and player who has managed in the Premier League, championship, and league 1.
Eddie Howe on the other hand? He has had a somewhat unfortunate playing career with injuries leading to his eventual retirement and early move into management, he has achieved success within his 2 years at Bournemouth but does that make him a top lower league manager? Certainly not.
And with that in mind you have to ask yourself, who has the upper hand on dealing with pressure, Pardew has been in charge and faced the pressures of the South Coast derby and the pressures of leading a Premiership underdog to a cup final, as a player he has faced pressure also as an FA cup finalist.
Howe`s greatest pressure was being a journeyman between clubs in a short and unsuccessful career, and managing in the lowest division in the football league - hardly the same.
And to end this article there is a message to Bournemouth fans -
If any of you are reading this and I`m sure you are, this is not fuelled by any personal hatred of your club or your fans, in fact I understand exactly why you want to beat us and your club has gone through a lot. But to say that you will beat us? And to say that you will 'stuff` us as some of your fans have been saying?
It`s time you lot got real, we are a side who will be right at the top and we have the pedigree and ability to go all the way, your side may have done well in league 2 but that means nothing now, and the best you can hope for is a very lucky upset and a tough fight in this division.
All the best for the season - just don`t get your hopes up too much for this match...
because the Saint's are coming for you.