Seaside Smiles

Awayday preview : Bournemouth, Saturday 28 April

How to get there

Don’t care. Just get there….it’s the last away game of a glorious season, we’re romping up the league so it’s time for everyone to don their silly hats and comedy breasts and head for the coast by whatever means is available. Closest station is Pokesdown, which sounds a bit rude.

The Ground

Dean Court used to be a tatty old ground but somehow always an enjoyable place to visit, particularly as we used to enjoy our fair share of decent results. A couple of running battles in the car park in the mid 80s were less welcome but hey ho. They’ve since turned the pitch through 90 degrees and renamed it the Fitness First Stadium – the last game for their old standing kop was our FA Cup fixture in 2001 when we pooped their party by scoring an offside winner. It’s the subject of frenzied debate among groundhoppers over whether the new all-seater stadium represents a new ground or not. For a couple of years it was three-sided but it’s since been blessed with a little seated stand open to the elements, where we’re likely to be housed.


The Cherries. I suppose it beats The Reds. Some believe it originates in Cockney rhyming slang : Cherry hog = dog, a reference to the repulsively ugly women who populate the town. Bless’em, those politically incorrect Cockneys….

Local Attractions

Opera House – check it out in all it’s restored Victorian splendour, hosting Courtney Pine and Jo Whiley among others this summer. Better even than The Krankies or Little & Large on the pier

The Oceanarium – a great experience for all the family, home of all piscine life from the Atlantic Pork Fish to the Zebra Loach. Actually, the first is in fact an underwater pig, bred to provide soggy crackling for the local elderly population who don’t have sufficient teeth to deal with the crunchy stuff

Where to Drink

Lots of the usual crap – most end up in either the Wetherspoons in Boscombe High Street or The Queens Park Hotel, which is just 3 minutes from the ground and away fan friendly. The Portman has also been recommended, while if you’ve got a bit of time and like your beer, a stroll to The Commodore Hotel on the cliffs overlooking the bay is worth a visit – serves Ringwood plus the usual suspects.

The Supporters

They’re not known as Bournemouthy for nothing. They moan about everything. They booed Thommo in 2000 when he was substituted injured. They cheered as Hess sustained a serious leg injury in 2001, and accused Iffy of trying to kill (I kid you not) one of their young players with a robust but accidental challenge. Basically they’re bitter bitter bitter at being pipped to the play-offs in 98/99, and being stuffed live on tele in consecutive seasons. The vast majority are incontinent, senile and smell of a puddle of vomit after a cabbage-binge, but let’s not hold that against them. Bournemouth supporters have the lowest carbon footprint in the UK, a result of their reluctance to fly since the introduction of tighter airport security procedures relating to carrying liquids into the cabin, and the embarrassment this causes to those using colostomy bags…..

Bournemouth Hate Figures

Jermaine Defoe and Rio Ferdinand are both former loanees, and both have the ability to be spectacular nobs, as everyone is aware. Colin Clarke was a muppet who played for the Gills at the tail-end of the 83/84 season and was swiftly moved on – to Tranmere, Bournemouth and Southampton where he scored millions of goals and ended up playing for Northern Ireland in the 1986 World Cup.  

Don’t mention

Trevor Lee. Record signing for the Gills when he joined from Colchester in 1980, but never fully established himself and he was sold off to the Cherries on the cheap. Returned a matter of weeks later and scored twice, starring in a humiliating 5-2 romp at Priestfield.

Who Remembers?

  • David Letts. Jerk of a referee who ruined New Year 1985 by failing to give a foul on a flapping David Fry for the home side’s first goal. Then gave a soft penalty against Russell Musker. Then sent off Terry Cochrane and Dave Shearer and prompted Mehmet and Peacock to consider taking the players off. We lost 2-0. We don’t forget
  • Wrecking their 100% home record to go top of the table ourselves following a sublime 2-0 win in December 1986. A freak Howard Pritchard goal clinched it at the death on an evening otherwise notable for the home club not turning the floodlights on until a few moments before kick-off, resulting in much unnecessary fumbling in the dark
  • An oh-so-typical FA Cup defeat in 1990, where we outplayed our hosts for long periods but fell too far behind due to infantile defending before David Crown slotted home a late consolation
  • A late season 2-2 draw in 96/97 during which Pennock received frightful stick from his former supporters, scored what should have been a late winner and then deflected in an even later equaliser
  • A 4-0 bladdering on Boxing Day 1997, having lost Adrian Pennock to an early red card. The last of a long run without a win, we recovered to almost make the play-offs
  • A tempestuous 3-3 draw in 1998, which featured last minute goals for both sides and Pulis having a difference of opinion with referee Alan Wiley which cut short his time on the bench
  • A hugely satisfying cup win in our first Division 1 season – lording it over our bickering lower division brethren and nicking it 3-2 thanks to goals from Hope, Hess and a first for Baldy Shaw. Defoe equalised for Bournemouth to provoke wild excitement as it was his 100th strike in 100 games, or something similar but we soon put them in their place

BMH Prediction

2-2, conceding a late equaliser having led 2-0 thanks to goals from Ian Cox and Little Dean

The Morty Vicker

One Response to Seaside Smiles

  1. Iain McBride says:

    Thanks for some great entertainment in the course of the season.
    Have fun in the sun, and a Gills victory would be much appreciated because it gives me gloating rights over the Hampshire newsroom.

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