So the last day of the Championship season was upon us and I travelled to Victoria Station to meet up with my nephew, designer Steve Ames.
With an early kick off for all the teams in the division of 12.15pm, I was intrigued to arrive in town to find the concourse swarming with Cherries’ fans! An unusual sight in London to say the least. A quick train journey to Charlton and we arrived at the stadium, ticketless but optimistic.
Football clubs now have the slightly bizarre policy of not selling tickets to the general public, even when the ground is clearly not sold out. So we were relying on finding tickets from a generous fan, or being able to meet up with a contact Steve knows through his printing work, who had hinted that a couple might be going for face value. Happily, not long before kick-off we were able to meet up with him and soon after found ourselves amongst a set of relaxed and good-spirited Charlton fans.
The significance of the match was clearly reflected by the turnout of thousands of Bournemouth supporters, not only to celebrate the inevitable promotion to the Premiership, but also hoping that – assuming we won – Watford would not prevail against Sheffield Wednesday, and that we would win the Championship. Two quick goals settled the match, with a cracking team goal finished off by a superb shot by Matt Ritchie opening the scoring. We saw that Watford had taken the lead and it appeared we would have to settle for second place in the league.
A third Bournemouth goal in the 85 minute completed the score at the Valley, but wait, excitement amongst the Cherries’ fans down the other end. Sheffield had scored an equaliser in the 91st minute at Watford! Shortly after this the Watford-Wednesday match finished, and we were champions! The celebrations carried on for half an hour at the end of the game. A special moment to be there – so many congratulations to manager Eddie Howe, his staff and the players. Premiership, here we come.