|Matches of Yesteryear - Bournemouth v U's 3/2/01|
Written by wessex_exile on Friday, 9th Aug 2019 12:37
AFC Bournemouth v Colchester United
Saturday 3rd February 2001
Division 2 (3rd tier)
This is going to be one of those where my memory of the match is somewhat thin on the ground. In terms of context, this was our third season in the then named Division 2, managed by Steve Whitton, and with a squad containing such household names as Simon Brown, Joe Dunne, Aaron Skelton, David Gregory, Micky Stockwell, Alan White, Barry Conlon, Scott McGleish, Steve McGavin, Thomas Pinault, Karl Duguid and Joe Keith. It did also contain the mercurial diamond Lua Lua, but after his one-man demolition of QPR in the Worthington Cup earlier in the season, he had already earned a £2.25m move to Newcastle United in September 2000.
With building work already underway, this was my last trip to the old stadium layout at Dean Court, before they rotated the pitch 90⁰. AFC Bournemouth had been fund-raising for a new ground, and at the time of our match they had raised nearly £4m, whilst at the same time significantly reducing the prodigious £5m debt the previous owner had burdened the club with, and which very nearly wiped the club out. The new ground wasn’t quite ready for the start of the following season, so they played their first eight home games of that season at nearby Dorchester Town.
Living in Salisbury at the time, and with a rubbish train connection (via Southampton) as an option, I travelled to this one on the local bus service. Pre-match libations were taken at the nearby Queens Park Hotel, a great football pub back in the day when they still allowed away supporters in, and which on this day contained a decent amount of U’s fans in good voice (and thirsty).
I really don’t have too many recollections of the actual game to be honest – I know Scotty too hotty put us 1-0 up, and Mick Stockwell quickly made it 2-0, a lead we held until half-time. Certainly what I remember most was that despite the scoreline, we were being torn apart by a very young and very gifted Jermain Defoe, on loan from West Ham United at the time.
I don’t recall who was responsible, but halfway through the second half Hughes pulled one back for the Cherries from the penalty spot, and shortly after McGavin came on for Conlon. About ten minutes later, Duguid came on for Stockwell, and as the minutes ticked by, it really looked like the U’s might just hold on for all three points. However, Carl Fletcher had other plans, and with four minutes to go equalised for AFC Bournemouth, and that’s how the match ended.
I am fairly certain that it was this match that on the way back to Salisbury on the bus I had the pleasure to meet a couple of U’s supporters who I now meet regularly on travels (and I’m sure many of you here will also know). Without naming names, they both worked for British Rail and were on their way to a retirement party for a colleague at the Salisbury Railwaymen’s Club, and I was glad to be able to both give them directions, share their company on the bus ride home, and remain good friends since.
AFC Bournemouth 2 (Hughes 63’ pen; Fletcher 86’) v Colchester United 2 (McGleish 22’; Stockwell 28’)
Other matters of note – this was Scott McGleish’s debut goal for his second spell back at Colchester United (following his loan period in 1996). Jermain Defoe’s loan at AFC Bournemouth continued through to the end of the season, and included him scoring ten goals in ten consecutive games – an impressive feat by any measure. Carl Fletcher went on to enjoy a career that included playing in the Premier League, and after managing our next opponent Plymouth Argyle for a year or so, is now Youth Team Manager back at Bournemouth. AFC Bournemouth also lined up on the day with a relatively youthful Eddie Howe in defence. Steve Tomlin refereed the match, and it was one of those rare events when no cards were issued during the game. This only happened a handful of times during his career, but remarkably on four occasions (including this one) it was matches involving Colchester United.
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Although not an avid collector, I recently catalogued my collection of football memorabilia and I have 175 items, mostly programmes, some fanzines, and a few ticket stubs which aren’t accompanied by anything else. I have no idea how many more may have been misplaced during house moves, clear-outs etc., but the collection spans nearly 30 years (the earliest is the programme from our 1990 Boxing Day game against Barnet at Layer Rd), and is almost universally Colchester United related (though not quite all of it). I have decided to try and put this to some use, by choosing one at random prior to each match and writing a short article about the match, maybe the programme, and even any personal recollections I have of the game (notwithstanding enforced enfeeblement due to excessive libation). I will try and do this ahead of each game this season, but my apologies in advance if I don’t quite achieve that.