Last Sunday marked the second anniversary of Bournemouth University’s and AFC Bournemouth’s partnership on the day of the #BUbigmatch when Cherries played Spurs.
The occasion brought the stadium to life with the Bournemouth Student Big Band playing the Rocky theme tune and more inspirational music under the loud murmuring of the excited crowd. Representatives from both the university and the club attended to embody the relationship including captains of both the men’s and women’s university football teams, Head of Community at the club and the Vice Chancellor of Bournemouth University.
The Chairman of AFC Bournemouth, Jeff Mostyn, was also among the festivities with adoring fans approaching him for pictures and an intimidating man in a suit following him around which could only be his personal security.
He said, “The University is the centre of learning and we like to believe that, as a football club, we are the hub of the community. I think the two organisations together literally represent everything that is the finest thing within the community.”
A series of events took place throughout the week leading up to the anniversary, including an inaugural sport science lecture at the university by Professor Alison McConnell and a FIFA16 Competition.
Also fans had a chance to win an Xbox One and a FIFA16 game or a #BUbigmatch goody bag holding merchandise from the university and the club by sharing a picture using the BUbigmatch hashtag.
Additionally student volunteers accompanied three residents from Fairlawn Care Home to the match which is the first time the team have ever met competitively.
At half time the captains of the universities football team, Joss Knowles and Chloe Tape, were invited onto the pitch for the cross bar challenge and neither managed to achieve it but they were grateful they were at least close in front of such a large crowd.
As part of the partnership both the football teams at the university receive coaching from the club which Captain Chloe Tape, who is in her third year at the university studying Sport Development and Coaching Sciences, says has had a clear benefit for the teams.
“You can tell from last year we won the league, got promoted and got to the cup final which shows how much the Community Trust Coaches help,” she said.
Vice Chancellor of Bournemouth University, John Vinney, has been a happy man satisfied with the benefits of the partnership, corresponding with his excitement that Bournemouth University has rapidly advanced up university league tables.
“Being in the Premiere League coincides really nicely with Bournemouth University getting into the top 500 of the Time Educations University rankings.” He added, “We were delighted to be partners when Bournemouth were promoted but we were partners before that so through thick and thin we’ll be together.”
While Bournemouth suffered a 5-1 loss on Sunday, fans remain optimistic for the rest of the season and the partnership will continue to thrive and grow.