The Ballad of Matthew Tubbs

There has been an almost love affair between AFC Bournemouth and Matt Tubbs.

This is the third time he has been at the club, with him starting at the club as an apprentice before being pouched by Bolton. After being released, he then dropped into non-league with hometown club Salisburywhere he scored…and scored…aaaaannnnndddd score.

After years of speculation, he rejoined the Cherries on loan in December 2008 with an option to buy in January. Unfortunately for Tubbs, the Bournemouth manager during his loan spell, Jimmy Quinn was sacked the day before the window opened. New manager, Eddie Howe then decided not to make the deal permanent. Tubbs left after playing nine games and scoring one goal. He then rejoined Salisbury until he moved to Crawley Town in the Conference Premier in 2010. He scored 49 goals in only 65 games, making him one of the most lethal marksmen in the lower leagues. He then got his move back to the Bournemouth for the third time, with one difference, he was the main man.

After an impressive debut, scored and set up the other in a 2-0 win overExeter, he then struggled to score in the next 6 fixtures before his season was cut short by injury. This season, he only has one start, in the League Cup against Oxford and hasn’t featured since his cameo against Pompey on the first day of the season. So, where has it gone wrong for Mr Tubbs? Why can he not make it anywhere near the first time? Does he have the quality to succeed in a higher division?

In a word, yes. His current predicament is a funny one. I think one of the main reasons he hasn’t been able to break the first team is also the reason he joined in the first place. This summer,Bournemouth have been busy. Very busy. Among the ten summer signings, five of them are Centre forwards. Added to the four already at the club, that’s a lot of competition.

I’ve seen Matt play at a number of different levels. At Salisbury, Bournemouth (on loan), Crawley and back at Bournemouth last season. At every level, he has looked decent. More than decent to be fair. He’s a natural finisher who likes to play on the centre backs shoulder. Give him chances and he will score. Although his times at Bournemouthhave never truly been fruitful, you can’t really blame him.

When on loan during the 2008/09 season,Bournemouth were playing the worse football I (and most fans will say) have ever seen. Shots on goal were rare back then, let alone actual goals. Plus he was farmed out on the wing, so one goal from seven isn’t actually a bad return. Last season before his injury, he looked dangerous but couldn’t quite finish his chances. But once again, the squad never looked like scoring.

This week, fans and the local press have been discussing Matt Tubbs and asking why he hasn’t been playing. Claims he has issued an ultimatum against the club, demanding to play or he wants out came out in the paper. Can you blame him? As the clubs marquee signing, he deserves at least a chance in the squad. Especially since he’s behind a centre forward who hasn’t scored in about 24 games. And in a squad which creates chances but doesn’t take them. You feel a natural finisher may flourish…

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