I came to Bournemouth in September 2013 to study Business with Marketing at BU. At the time, I didn’t know anything about the local culture, places and people. When I started learning about it, the first story that impressed and inspired me was the story of AFC Bournemouth (AFCB) – the local football club that our fans call the Cherries.
Changes, improvements and innovations that happened in the club over the last six years not only helped the Cherries to survive in the professional football environment, but also gave it the opportunity to grow. So, when AFCB got promoted to the Championship in 2013, everyone in Bournemouth was supporting them and BU students were no exception.
Our university, our club, our Bournemouth.
In October 2013 Bournemouth University and AFC Bournemouth signed a new partnership contract that created exciting opportunities for students, graduates and the local community. I was one of the lucky students who were recruited to work at AFC Bournemouth and represent BU on the Cherries’ home games.
Working at the Goldsands Stadium is wonderful. I have been with Cherries for two seasons and during this time I was involved in many different projects. Whether it’s conducting a research project, facilitating our special guests, helping in the ticket office, promoting a new slogan or even entertaining our junior supporters – these are only a few examples of what you can do at AFC Bournemouth.
The diversity really makes a difference, by being involved in so many different projects you can feel how important your job is for the success of the club on and off the pitch. For example, one of the most heart-warming moments for me was during the last home game of this season. One of our supporters came to me and said that without my help he, "would not be able to sing any of our songs... would not be able to support the Cherries". In moments like that you feel very special.
Moreover, you will never be asked to do something that you do not like. Colleagues, managers and directors of the club, especially Liz Finney, give you all the necessary support and, even though you are not a full-time employee at AFC Bournemouth, you still feel like a core member of the team.
Last but not least, everything you do is rewarded. First, you get a free ticket for every home game. Second, the range of activities helps you to improve many of your skills. Communication, teamwork, leadership and problem-solving skills – I use these skills during every home game and I can definitely say that during these two seasons I managed to take these skills to a new level.
No matter what you do – fans will always support you because they are your family.
Cherries are famous for the family atmosphere and this is shared by everyone; players, fans and employees. Everyone is so friendly and respectful to each other and I have never seen so many people who live like a big family and who share in all the emotion together.
Every game you meet new friends or useful contacts and have fun with people around you. I think that the AFCB slogan, “Together Anything is Possible” shows why this atmosphere of the club is so important for us.
You only need to attend one game and you will love this club forever.
Finally, the atmosphere in the club was incredible this season. From the very beginning of the season everyone was supporting the team in order to make the dream come true and, even though we realised that it is more a dream than reality, we still believed.
I was on the final game of the season and I saw those faces, I heard those voices that were supporting Cherries from the very beginning of this season till the very end of it. All of them were so excited, but also scared and worried.
When Bournemouth scored the first goal, we just did not know what to do with our energy and excitement. We were singing, dancing and even crying.
I think you all know how the game finished and how we made history.
Now the new story begins and I know that there will be even more opportunities for our students to be involved in AFC Bournemouth, to help us with achieving new goals and to be the part of our family. So, don’t miss your chance to get involved because when BU and AFCB are working together, anything is possible.
Glebs Kiselovs is a second year BA (Hons) Business with Marketing student and one of AFC Bournemouth's team of student volunteers.