FOREST AWAY: Bournemouth, Sunday 4th February – Fan Guide
Another transfer deadline passes and as has become the expectation, we had a busy day. Far more restrained than previously but, as ever, judgement will come down the line on our business.
The loss of Mangala, however financially advantageous to our accounts, is troubling given he has regularly looked like a very good Premier League player. We have an abundance of central players but arguably we have let the best one leave ahead of what could be a really hard relegation fight. The focus on Sangare now increases and that could end up a very good thing or a very bad thing.
As for the goalkeepers, at least we can be sure we won’t run out of them like we nearly did last season! It’s an absurd situation, and smacks of aimless, befuddled recruitment, but they have at least identified that the existing choices have shown little to suggest they can be relied upon in the games to come.
Still, there is talent in this squad for sure and it is now down to Nuno to bring something out of these players. We can but pray he succeeds.
TRAINS: A brief look at Trainline.com suggests that train travel on the day isn’t feasible, the first train from Nottingham arrives into Bournemouth (via London) 23 minutes after kick-off. A 7:22 from Derby does arrive at 13:27 but still not practical given the ground is a couple of miles away.
ROAD: The most direct route from Nottingham appears to be M1 / A43 at Northampton / M3 / M27 / A31 / A338.
The below is a direct extract from the Dorset Police briefing which gives more detail on the final leg of the journey to the Vitality Stadium (this info was provided a couple of seasons back, but we will assume much of this still stands albeit price info is likely outdated):
From the A31, take the A338 to Bournemouth at the Ashley Heath roundabout
Carry on straight over the flyover
Take the next slip road off to the left (signposted ‘Football Ground’) to Kings Park
At the mini roundabout go straight across into Kings Park itself
And for the less adventurous of you, whack BH7 7AF into your sat nav.
There is also parking available on match days in the multistorey Sovereign Centre Car Park (BH1 4SX) on Christchurch Road. This car park is available all day and every day but be advised that this is the main car park for the high street so can get busy with everyday local cars. Parking fees are £2 or £2.50 depending on how long you stay. This car park is a 10-minute walk from the stadium via Ashley Road and across Kings Park.
Most of the residential roads around the stadium have parking restrictions, which supporters are advised to adhere to as local traffic wardens do actively patrol on match days.
The briefing also notes Harewood College as a usually reliable parking spot for £2 per car but does suggest this may only be available on Saturday’s.
The main venues for away fans are a 15-minute walk away in Boscombe. Mello Mello and Baxter’s Bar across the road are the main places for away fans, with a Wetherspoons close by. You can also head a little further into Boscombe and find some decent places to drink if time and Sunday opening allows – for the last couple of visits, we have drank at Chaplins, a really smart pub which did not seem to mind a large group of away fans. These pubs are shown on the enclosed map.
There are also many decent bars in Bournemouth and those of you who may be staying down on Saturday evening won’t go far wrong for places to go. For the infamous postponed game a couple of seasons back, The Brass Haus and the Hopp Inn were the main bars to congregate in.
Do try and allow enough time to get to the ground. The last two games at Bournemouth have seen heavy queues form due to onerous search processes. It’s taken a considerable time to get through on both occasions so please arrive early.
As a final tip – we played at Bournemouth at a similar time of year last season and the sun was a real pain early on in the game. Consider packing some sunglasses and / or wearing a cap. If the sun is out, which of course isn’t guaranteed, you’ll be grateful you did.
Q&A with Cherries fan Jon (@jonsparkafcb)
After a really suspect start, Bournemouth have really picked up and sit relatively comfortably. Given the potential for points deductions for certain other clubs just above the relegation zone, are you confident that Premier League survival can once again be secured?
Absolutely. Survival would have been a genuine concern for me if we had failed to beat Burnley at home, but after that result things picked up as I hoped they would. Given the whiplash that the squad probably experienced going from O’Neil to Iraola, it was expected it would take some time but we feel like lower mid table finish is probably the target now.
The current bottom 3 are last season’s promoted teams with the promoted teams of 2022 (ourselves both included) sit not too much higher up the table? Is it getting harder and harder to survive and establish in the Premier League?
I think that’s probably the case. While some will point to the fact that all promoted teams stayed up last season, statistically Forest and Bournemouth were the worst two teams last year and somehow we both stayed up by some miracle.
Having said that Luton are massively punching to even be here, and the Blades don’t look financially capable of competing either. The only caveat is that at least PSR is starting to show some bite so spending by the league is being brought slightly more under control.
Over the last twenty years, our two clubs have crossed swords in three different divisions. Where can the coming years take Bournemouth? Do you look at clubs like Brighton and consider it feasible you could emulate their success at some point soon?
Feasible is a good choice of word. The Bourn owners are definitely looking at Brighton’s model, but given any smaller club is now competing with the “Big 6” plus Villa, Newcastle, Brighton & West Ham, the reality is it is incredibly difficult to do anything more than aim for a 10th place finish nowadays.
It’s possible but will take a few years of stable building of staff and facilities first. Obviously staying in the division too.
As I understand it, this game is being played on a Sunday due to your game against West Ham being televised on Thursday. Is it reasonable, do you think, that a follow on game can be shunted in this way?
Not at all, but the television companies haven’t cared much about fans for years. We have had too many games against the likes of Middlesbrough and Newcastle moved to expect anything different.
A consequence of it now being a Sunday game is that many more will likely now be looking to come down in the car. What do you recommend for parking around the ground?
Parking near the ground isn’t advised because of how difficult it will be to get out at the end of the match. The road network near the ground could do with developing really but that a conversation for another time.
I would look to find some parking in the Boscombe area. It’s a reasonable walking distance and you should be able to find enough spaces. If you try Bournemouth town centre it might take a while to get back to your car, as you really need to take a bus to get between the centre and the stadium.
Where can away fans get a drink before the game?
There are a few in Boscombe on Christchurch Road. I’m not too familiar with which ones are away friendly but I believe Mello Mello is, and the Sir Percy Florence Shelley next door.
Where will Bournemouth finish this season?
Where will Forest finish?
What will the score be on Sunday?
We’re probably set for 12th now, I think. For Forest I’ll say 16th if you get a points deduction, 14th if you don’t.
For the score I’ll go with an entertaining 3-2 win to the cherries.
Not another 3-2!
Thanks to Jon for his insight.
See everyone travelling down there.