Primer on Bournemouth and Watford


It’s always wonderful to see new names in the Premier League and next season we are poised to welcome two more.

Bournemouth will be the latest side to join the top flight of English football, as they snatched the Championship title from Watford—who were also automatically promoted—on the final day of the regular season.

They are names that won’t be too familiar for those who are relatively new to the Premier League; here’s all the critical information you need on each side and an examination of how they’re likely to fare up against the country’s elite outfits.



AFC Bournemouth v Bolton Wanderers - Sky Bet Championship

Back in the 2008/09 season, Bournemouth were on the cusp of non-league football. The club had been crippled by financial mismanagement, been deducted 17 points and as a 31-year-old, Eddie Howe was entrusted with steering the Cherries away from oblivion.

But under Howe’s astute tutelage, they survived in a season the club dubbed as the “Great Escape.” That was as low as things got for Bournemouth in recent years, as Howe was able to push them to promotion from the fourth tier in 2010 and just three seasons later, they were in the Championship.

Now they’re in the Premier League, with Howe preserving a core of players that have enabled the Cherries to surge through the tiers. They play an enthralling brand of football too, as was was evident by the whopping 98 goals they notched during their 46 Championship games.

Granted, there have been expediting factors which have contributed to what is a fairytale ascension. As noted by Matt Lawton of the Daily Mail, the club’s Russian owner Maxim Demin—who initially bought 50 per cent of the club in 2011—has injected £25 million into the club over the last couple of seasons in loan payments.

As a Premier League team, the minutiae of their financial activities will now be examined in much more scrupulous detail in keeping with Financial Fair Play regulations and with a loss of £10 million reported last year, per Lawton’s piece, that’s something that will need to be addressed.

Nonetheless, it’s tough not to feel delighted for the South coast club. The 37-year-old Howe is an extremely likable manager and his amicable nature coupled with the fluid style of football this team play has enamored them to plenty.

Given how well this team have progressed as a unit, it’d be a big surprise to see a major upheaval in terms of personnel. But with a few shrewd additions to this team’s longstanding nexus, that will stand them in fine stead and just as he’s done with other challenges throughout his distinguished tenure, you can back the Bournemouth boss to tackle this latest one with merit.


SEE MOREChampionship playoff preview and TV schedule for Norwich, Ipswich, Middlesbrough and Brentford




Losing top spot to Bournemouth on the final day shouldn’t detract from what was an exceptional campaign for Watford, as they will make their return to the top flight after an eight-year hiatus.

The club deserve major credit for putting together a classy campaign too. The Hornets went through three managers early on in the season, but since Slavisa Jokanovic got his feet under the desk at Vicarage Road, this team have played an engrossing style of attacking football.

The thrilling triumvirate of striking options—Troy Deeney. Odion Ighalo and Matej Vydra—have grabbed most of the headlines this campaign, plundering a whopping 57 goals between them in the Championship. But the indomitable Adlene Guedioura in midfield, the imposing displays of Craig Cathcart at the back and the much improved Heurelho Gomes between the sticks have added an underpinning fortitude to this side’s attacking flair.

Not too dissimilar to the Cherries, the fluidity this team play with has brought them many admirers, but goings on at board level has prompted plenty of criticism too.

Watford are owned by the Pozzo family, who also have ties with Udinese and Granada. As such, the team have been able to tap into a wealth of quality players. Indeed, men key to their success this season have moved to the club from those teams, with Vydra and Ighalo coming in on loan from the Italians, while Miguel Layun and Juan Parades have joined from the La Liga side.

But this a team that has slowly been laying astute foundations which should see them fare well in the Premier League. Their new top flight status will surely see the club’s owners make the Hornets much more of a priority and as such, they should be privy to even more top-class options.

Coming up short in their quest to achieve promotion in the past two seasons will also be a blessing in disguise for this group. While coaches have come and gone, the club have remained grounded and built a spine of Gomes, Deeney and Cathcart. As Burnley have proven this season, sometimes promotion can come too quickly for second tier sides.

Nonetheless, there is a sense of mystery surrounding the Vicarage Road club, as the squad on the first day of the league season could look completely different to the one that secured promotion. But there’s little doubt that after promotions in 1999 and 2006 that were followed immediately by relegation, this club is much better prepared for a longer stay at English football’s top table.

Follow Matt on Twitter @MattJFootball


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