AFC Bournemouth’s rise from administration and the depths of the Football League pyramid all the way to the Premier League under the guidance of Eddie Howe, with three promotions in the span of just six years from 2009 to 2015, is certainly the stuff of football legend. However, after getting as far as finishing in the top half of the table in 2017, the Cherries’ fortunes took a turn for the worse, suffering relegation in 2020.
But now they’re back, after just a couple years’ absence, confirming a second place finish in the Championship and automatic promotion back to the Premier League with last night’s 1-0 win over third place Nottingham Forest! Scott Parker’s men join record-breaking Fulham FC in bouncing back — The Cottagers running riot on the league with over 100 goals scored, including a record 43 (and still counting) for Aleksandar Mitrović.
Bournemouth’s leading goalscorer is also a familiar name. In fact, it’s a Chelsea name, with former Academy standout Dom Solanke netting a career-high 29 times in the league (and 30 in all competitions). The question for both strikers will now be whether they can produce at similar levels in the Premier League, having proven unable to do so before.
Solanke’s not the only former Chelsea man earning promotion either, with England’s Brave Gary Cahill part of the Bournemouth squad — not a key player, especially after the turn of the year, but certainly a veteran leader at 36 — though whether he will still be with the team next year is far from certain. Meanwhile, over at Fulham we have former Academy prospect Nathaniel Chalobah and former Loan Army warrior Michael Hector punching their tickets back to the big time.
In addition to the two automatically promoted teams, a third will join through the playoffs. Forest and Huddersfield Town (featuing Levi Colwill and Tino Anjorin) have already secured their playoff spots, while two of Sheffield United, Luton Town, or Middlesbrough will join them there.