Jeff Mostyn’s long association with AFC Bournemouth is well documented and highly celebrated. He has been instrumental in helping steer the club from financial administration through all four football divisions to the Premier League for the first time, where the Cherries are currently enjoying their third season. Today, Bournemouth University are delighted to honour Jeff Mostyn with a Doctor of Business Administration.
Having left school at 15 with no qualifications, how does it feel today to be receiving an honorary doctorate?
“It’s an absolutely incredible feeling; I’m so honoured and privileged. I’m really humbled by the whole experience. Today is not just about me, there’s a huge team behind me. What I do is just part of a huge team so today I’m dedicating this to my family, the football club and the community.”
“It is such an honour. I have to pinch myself – very much in the same way as when we were promoted to the Premier League. If anybody had ever said back then that AFC Bournemouth was going to be in the Premier League, they would have been sectioned. If anybody had ever said to me, one day you’ll get an honorary doctorate from my adopted town, you’d also be sectioned. That’s how much it means to me. Hopefully it means a lot to a lot of people.”
Jeff bought AFC Bournemouth in 2006 only to discover the club had a mountain of hidden debt, eventually sliding into administration. Now with Jeff’s guidance and superb management from Eddie Howe, the club is playing in the Premier League, the most competitive and lucrative football league in the world. How can today’s graduates learn from his part in the club’s journey?
“What my experience taught me was never to give up. I want to try and inspire people to succeed irrespective of the odds, from the depths of despair – 15 minutes away from oblivion in division two in terms of my football career to now being the chairman of a Premier League club, something that we’re all very proud of in the town.”
Not only is the success of the Cherries a huge benefit to the town of Bournemouth, but the relationship between the club and Bournemouth University is very special.
“The value of a Premier League club to any town or city is a minimum of around £100,000,000 so that has a huge impact on the economy and on the way of life. Not only that but the relationships that develop as a Premier League club, you’re being sought after by the elite and there’s no better statement than the University. We have the most amazing partnership with the University. I can’t think of a better partnership or a bigger partnership that has a greater impact on the entire conurbation.”
With a wealth of experience to draw from – both in the world of sport and business, what advice would Jeff give to student’s graduating today?
“Fulfil all the ambitions that you have, and most importantly fulfil your potential, never ever look yourself in the mirror and say ‘I did not fulfil my potential.’ “