After a positive start to life in the big time, Bournemouth find themselves in position to head right back down to the division they topped last season.
If they lose this weekend, and other results don’t go their way, they could find themselves bottom of the table for the first time all season.
From right at the bottom, life will be tough for the Cherries. When you’re down there, things rarely go your way. Leicester made the most of it last season, but their form at the end of last season was Champions League form. And that’s been proven by their current league position after they were able to carry last season’s good run into the current season.
Bournemouth don’t really have the luxuries that Leicester had, however. The set up at the King Power stadium really is Premier League, from the stadium right through. Bournemouth are undoubtedly a club on the up, but not everything in place at the club right now makes them look like a Premier League club.
But with new investment coming from the USA, Bournemouth might be able to join the ranks of the bigger clubs.
It’s all about investment and money in the Premier League. If you asked club chairmen 20 years ago what their biggest ambition was, they’d have said winning a trophy. Ask them again now and they might tell you that staying in the Premier League is more important. Getting into the Champions League is probably a pipe dream.
If you asked the fans even 10 years ago they’d have said winning a trophy was their aim. If you asked them now, a higher proportion than you might expect will have accepted this new reality.
Staying in the league is the main aim, but building a club that can do it year after year doesn’t specifically mean that you have to stay in the league this year.
Burnley are looking on course for promotion from the Championship this season, they kept faith in their manager and looked to build for the future, bringing in players like Andre Gray who will star for the club in the future. They’re looking to build a club that can compete in the Premier League year after year. Last season was just a step along the way.
But the other side of the coin is the money. The TV rights package increases next season, and that’s why we’ve seen so many Premier League clubs have broken their record transfer fees this season, including Bournemouth.
Yet all of that could be in vain if Bournemouth don’t manage to stay in the league. And this is the real question – do they absolutely go for broke by signing a raft of new players in January to help cover for the injuries that have plagued their season? Or do they accept that this season might not go to plan thanks to the depletion of their squad and just hope to survive, knowing that if they do go down, they’ll still have the players, the manager and the evolving set-up to come straight back up again and have an even better shot at staying there next time.
Modern football is so very different to what football used to be. Success is measured to a different yardstick. Bournemouth have long-term goals of being a Premier League club for years to come, but if they want to stay in the league next season they may need to spend in January. If they spend in January and don’t stay in the league, the financial loss may stifle their future growth.
It’s a balancing act for Bournemouth this season. But one thing’s for sure, Bournemouth are beginning to look like they’re in deep trouble this season.