Anyway, as already mentioned its new boys AFC Bournemouth who are arriving to be our first potential victims. The Cherries have experienced a turbulent time of it of late with relegation from League One in the season before we arrived with a 10 point penalty for going into administration and then had another massive 17 points deducted the next season in League Two for failing to follow the League's insolvency rules, employ a better lawyer next time. Despite this massive handicap they survived having sacked the lawyer and got themselves a new manager, Eddie Howe, and they won promotion to League One in his first full year in charge.
So who is this Eddie Howe? Bit of a youngster still only 32, and must be one of the youngest in this Division of ours. An ex-Bournemouth favorite, he was Harry Redknapp's first signing as Portsmouth manager back in 2002 but after injury forced an end to his playing career he returned to Bournemouth as assistent manager before taking over when Jimmy Quinn was sacked at the very end of 2008.
Bournemouth have 7 new signings at the moment including ex Addick, 20 year old Harry Arter from Woking. Others are Purches, Nelson, Wiggins, Lovell, Pugh, Symes. A 3-3 draw with Derby last week where Harry Arter was "increasingly lively, sharp and inventive and giving defenders all sorts of problems" was named MOM. Ummm. Harry got the push in last summers economy drive after just one appearance in a Charlton shirt, 34 minutes in a League Cup defeat at Luton in 2007, has another little gem slipped through our fingers?
Any Form Then?
No, not really. Of their last 8 away games last season, they only won 1 and lost 5.
Who gets Their Goals Then?
Number nine for the Cherries is one Brett Pitman aged just 22 from Jersey. He got 26 league goals last season, finishing second in the Division Four (League Two) goalscoring charts and 4 behind leading top scorer Lee Hughes of Notts County. They also have a new boy, 23 year old winger cum striker, number 7 Marc Pugh who got 13 goals last season for Hereford and was also their leading goalscorer.
A first league visit since April 1975, 35 years ago, it which the Cherries were victorious 3-2, Bournemouth take over as the only club in the Division to have won more times at the Valley ( in League games ) than they have lost. Currently the home stats stand at 3 wins for the Addicks, 4 draws and 4 league defeats. OK, there's not been too many games, with only 11 seasons spend together, and even I can't remember the last time we beat them at home in the League as it was back in August 1933, 77 years ago. That too was the opening game of the season after our relegation from Division Two the previous year and the game finished in a close-fought 4-3 win. And the following year they were one of only two teams to beat us at home in our 1935 Division Three South Championship winning season. But there's usually an up side to things and the three home wins we've enjoyed have been big ones, with a 5-0, a 6-2 and a 4-3.
Nice to get ourselves a number 9 once again in Pawel Abbot and this is what I had to say last October before Oldham's 0-0 draw at the Valley, "Clearly a favorite with Oldham manager Penney, who paid Swansea 100k for him while he was manager at Darlington, is Pawel Abbott. Current top scorer, number nine Abbott is a Polish U-21 international thanks to his mum, and is on 4 goals, although it must be said, Pav, that two were from the penalty spot. Penney said after signing Abbott for the second time in June, "I'm delighted to get this deal done as we have ourselves a proven goalscorer - Pawel's goal ratio is excellent". Penney's exit and Irish international Warren Feeney's arrival after being off-loaded by Cardiff meant that Abbott was a little surplus to requirements at Dickov's Oldham. And if you believe in miracles, you'll be pleased to learn that Pawel is the same age, 28, as SuperClive when he joined us in 1997 from Grimsby.
And once again we've shown no mercy on relegated Southend after grabbing Alan McCormack and have also snatched away their 25 year old right-back Simon Francis, their last seasons Player of the Year, for what appears to be a pittance. He's spent the last three years at the Shrimpers but started his career at Bradford City when he also apparently played for England U-19's. But he hasn't played any pre-season games and didn't feature at Watford so we may see Solly start on Saturday.
The number 10 shirt, previously worn by such contrasting notables as Kevin Lisbie and Darren B, is still currently vacant, a hint perhaps of another signing, or maybe Tuna, so far unnumbered, will be awarded it.
Elliot; Solly, Dailly, Doherty, Jackson; Wagstaff, Semedo, Racon, McCormack, Reid; Abbott.
Unless the Cherries suffer a bit from stage fright, which seems unlikely with their pre-season games against Spurs, Fulham, Portsmouth and Derby, I think we may have an uncomfortable afternoon. Last season only Notts County conceded less goals than the Cherries in Division Four but then again only Rotherham in the top 8 scored scored less than their 61. They have got Pugh from Hereford to rectify the lack of goals and their passing game should be good to watch. Arter will probably be on the bench, he's still only 20, but they have been scoring plenty of goals in pre-season and have good results too with home draws against Fulham and Derby.
The history is also on their side and my optimistic verdict is a cagey 1-1 draw.