In 1910, the stadium opened its gates for the first time. In the proceeding 107 years, the history of Dean Court has proven to be a rocky one, with constant reconfigurations and issues with building work being completed on time.
In spite of this, the club have made it to the top flight of English football and are commanding respect for such an achievement.
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AFC Bournemouth started out life as Boscombe FC in 1910 and immediately moved into the grounds where they still play today. It was around this time that the team earned their nickname of ‘The Cherries’.
There are two plausible reasons for this; 1) the team wore cherry-and-black striped shirts, and 2) Dean Court was built next to the Cooper-Dean estate which had many cherry orchards.
The team were moderately successful in the Southern League until 1922, before promotion to the National Football League Third Division in 1923. However, they would have to wait until after the Second World War to win their first trophy.
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Something else also happened in 1923; the team changed its name for a second time to Bournemouth & Boscombe Athletic.
This was done to make the club seem more representative of the district. It would stay that way for almost fifty years, when in 1972 the team would change its name for the final time to AFC.
In terms of honours, AFC have been moderately successful. They have won the Football League Championship, the League One Championship, the Football League Trophy and the Football League Third Division South Cup.
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Although they are officially known as either ‘The Cherries’ or AFC, the club are also unofficially known as Bournemouth FC.
The prefix of AFC is fairly unusual in modern day football, with the suffix FC being much more popular. Therefore, many football fans prefer to call them Bournemouth FC.
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Dean Court started out life as a gift. In 1910, a piece of land was gifted to Boscombe FC by the Cooper-Dean family (whom the site is named after).
The team were due to move into the stadium at the start of the 1910-11 season but, in an ironic omen of what was to come in the future, the ground wasn’t ready. Boscombe FC played their first few games on the adjacent King’s Park instead.
They finally moved in in December 1910, but the players had to get changed at a nearby hotel as the changing rooms were still incomplete!
In 1923 the club joined the Third Division of the Football League and promptly changed their name. The ground was improved by purchasing fixtures and fittings from the British Empire Exhibition, which would later go on to become Wembley Stadium. A covered terrace was also added in 1936.
The club purchased extra land behind the north end of the ground with the intention of expanding the stand and building a leisure centre, but they ran out of money and the concept was abandoned in 1984. As a result, the stand was never finished and housing was put on the land instead.
The ground was completely rebuilt in 2001, with the pitch rotated ninety degrees from its old position. In a call back to the past, however, it was not complete in time for the 2001-02 season, forcing Bournemouth to play at the Avenue Stadium in Dorchester for the first eight games.
The ground now had three developed sides and the remaining fourth side would see many different configurations over the coming years, including a temporary stand that was dismantled after attendance fell.
In 2005, the stadium was sold to a London property company on a sale-and-leaseback deal.
The undeveloped side of the ground was finally constructed in 2013, but this still only gave the grounds a capacity of 11,464. This is nowhere near as big as Old Trafford Stadium capacity, as Old Trafford is one of the biggest grounds in the UK.
After numerous battles trying to buy back the land they sold in 2005, and rather than develop further, the decision was made to find a location in the same part of King’s Park for a brand new stadium.
Due to corporate sponsorship, Dean Court is officially known as the Vitality Stadium. The naming rights to the stadium were bought in 2015 and the stadium will remain under that name until 2020.
To see what the Vitality Stadium looks like in its current iteration, click here: http://www.footballgroundguide.com/leagues/dean-court-vitality-stadium-bournemouth.html
With the club taking financial advantage of selling the stadium’s name to corporate sponsors, Dean Court has had quite a few name changes over the years.
As well as Dean Court it has been known as the Fitness First Stadium, the Seward Stadium, the Goldsands Stadium, and, most recently, the Vitality Stadium.
Most football fans, including some Cherries fans, refer to it simply as ‘The Bournemouth Stadium’.
Bournemouth AFC Fixtures
Bournemouth AFC fixtures are easily found online, but follow this link for a comprehensive list as well as scores, match reports and the latest Bournemouth AFC footballing headlines:http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/teams/afc-bournemouth/scores-fixtures
Bournemouth AFC Tickets
If you need Bournemouth AFC tickets then the best place to get them from is the club themselves. This way, you know you are getting an official product and don’t have to pay extortionate after-market prices.
Follow the link below to find out the AFC ticket office opening hours, how to buy Bournemouth AFC tickets online, ticket news and much, much more: https://www.afcb.co.uk/tickets
Bournemouth FC Forum
With Bournemouth’s impressive rise to the top of English football, they have attracted a great deal of attention.
The amount of forums that have sprang up online since this happened is equally as impressive. The Bournemouth FC Forum that we recommend, though, is Vital Football.
AFC Bournemouth News
For any and all AFC Bournemouth news including who has made the team this week, injury concerns, transfer rumours and quotes from the players and the manager, visit http://www.newsnow.co.uk/h/Sport/Football/Premier+League/Bournemouth