Vital Football

Latest AFC Bournemouth News

Fletch: My heart sank

Fletch: My heart sank

AFC Bournemouth scout Steve Fletcher has admitted that his heart sank last week when the realisation that his playing career was over hit him.

Former AFC Bournemouth striker Steve Fletcher will go down in the history books as a club legend having made 835 Career Appearances, including 728 AFCB Appearances.

The 40 year old decided to retire after making his final appearance for the club away at Tranmere on the final day of the 2012/13 season, just one week after the Cherries clinched promotion to the second tier of English football for only the second time in the clubs history.

Fletch initially joined the Cherries in July 1992 from hometown club Hartlepool United. That first stint lasted 15 years, where Fletch first broke the all time record for the most appearances for Bournemouth.

He is one of only two players who have played for the Cherries at both Wembley and the Millennium Stadium, scoring at the latter on route to the Cherries lifting the 2003 Division Three Play-Off Trophy.

When he was released by then AFC Bournemouth manager Kevin Bond at the end of the 2006/07 season he went on to sign a deal with Chesterfield who had just been relegated to League Two. Chesterfield went on to narrowly miss out on the play-offs, with Fletch being involved in the majority of games. However he left after one season due to wanting to play closer to home and joined Crawley in the Conference. However just 5 months later, he left and returned to his natural home of Dean Court, thanks to new Cherries manager Eddie Howe.

His arrival proved to be the catalyst to a remarkable 16 months which first saw the Cherries avoid relegation out of the Football League despite a 17 point deduction and with all well written scripts, Fletch was the man to score the goal to secure the Cherries survival.

The following season, despite being 37, Fletch went on to miss just one game all season as the Cherries clinched promotion to League One.

In April 2010, Fletch had the honour of having the North Stand named after him and in January 2011, Fletch was named as assistant to new caretaker manager Lee Bradbury following the departure of Eddie Howe to Burnley, he later stepped down from the position in November 2011 to concentrate on his playing career.

A short loan move to Plymouth in March 2012, saw Fletch make six appearances helping them avoid the drop out of the Football League.

But there was to be one more career highlight for Fletch, the 2012/2013 season.

Despite sitting in the relegation zone in October, Eddie Howe's return to the club turned the side around and won promotion to the Championship.

Fletch made 12 appearances along the way, securing his third promotion as an AFC Bournemouth player, record appearance maker and legend.

But the realisation had alluded him until the rest of the squad returned to pre season training last week and with his own future at that point not resolved at that stage, Fletch admitted that he found it hard.

Fletch told the Daily Echo...

'...Nothing had been finalised regarding my role on Saturday when the boys came in for a test day. Although the manager invited me in, I had to decline and it was the first time I had ever not wanted to come to the ground.

"I would have found it difficult to watch the boys and it would have broken my heart. I knew I had to face up to it eventually but, for the first day, my heart sank because I wasn`t going to be part of it for the first time in 24 years.

"I knew I had to face up to it eventually and the manager asked me to come in on Monday. I watched the boys train and helped out but, all the time, I was wishing it was me. People had told me what to expect and said it wouldn`t be easy. As much as everybody tells you how hard it is to overcome, nothing prepares you for when it actually happens...'


RednBlack Shack

Don't forget to keep checking the RednBlack Shack for great online deals and help to raise money for the AFC Bournemouth Youth Team.

It's easy to join AFCB Vital

With Vital Bournemouth you can win prizes just by having your say on the articles, polls and forums, click the link to register.

Join The Vital Debate






Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

Writer:DJ
Date:Thursday June 27 2013
Time: 7:27AM

Login to post a comment

Recent AFC Bournemouth Articles

Arter: If we go down we will only have ourselves to blame

AFC Bournemouth midfielder Harry Arter and defender Steve Cook are both confident that the Cherries can maintain their top flight status for next season.

Howe: Pugh has proved a great signing

AFC Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe has praised Cherries winger Marc Pugh after he made his 250th appearance for the club.

Afobe: I've always had a good relationship with the fans

AFC Bournemouth striker Benik Afobe received a good reaction from both sets of supports as the Cherries hosted Arsenal on Sunday.

Cook: I will take the blame

AFC Bournemouth defender Steve Cook has held his hands up and taken the blame for an individual error in the build up to Arsenal's second goal.

Archived AFCB Vital Articles

AFCB Vital articles from

Site Journalists

DJ
Profile

Current Poll (see more polls)

Who has been AFCB's best 2016 winter signing?
Suggested By:
Juan Manuel Iturbe (loan)5%
Benik Afobe86%
Lewis Grabban4%
Marius Adamonis (loan)3%
Rhoys Wiggins2%
ScoopDragon Premier League Network Sites

League Table

# Team P W D L Pts. GD
1 Leicester City 25 15 8 2 53 20
2 Spurs 25 13 9 3 48 26
3 Arsenal 25 14 6 5 48 17
4 Man City 25 14 5 6 47 21
5 Man Utd 25 11 8 6 41 10
6 West Ham 25 10 9 6 39 9
7 Southampton 25 10 7 8 37 9
8 Everton 25 8 11 6 35 12
9 Liverpool 25 9 8 8 35 -4
10 Watford 25 9 6 10 33 0
11 Stoke 25 9 6 10 33 -7
12 Crystal Palace 25 9 5 11 32 -4
13 Chelsea 25 7 9 9 30 -2
14 WBA 25 7 8 10 29 -9
15 AFC Bournemouth 25 7 7 11 28 -12
16 Swansea 25 6 9 10 27 -9
17 Newcastle 25 6 6 13 24 -18
18 Norwich 25 6 5 14 23 -20
19 Sunderland 25 5 5 15 20 -19
20 Aston Villa 25 3 7 15 16 -20
Latest F1 News
Latest Vital Boxing News

AFC Bournemouth Fixtures (view all)

Feb 13 2016 3:00PM : Stoke City (H)
Barclays Premier League
Feb 20 2016 3:00PM : Everton (H)
FA Cup
Feb 27 2016 3:00PM : Watford (a)
Barclays Premier League
Mar 1 2016 7:45PM : Southampton (H)
Barclays Premier League
Mar 5 2016 3:00PM : Newcastle United (a)
Barclays Premier League
Mar 12 2016 3:00PM : Swansea City (H)
Barclays Premier League

Vital Members League Table

RankNamePoints
1.The Alchemist108
2.billythekid98
3.Garbo88
4.kirsikka78
5.AFCBade64
6.Druss_the_Legend64
7.fritter61
8.AFCB Lost in Brum60
9.northstandmark58
10.USCherry53