Bournemouth University, official higher education sponsor of AFC Bournemouth, will be hosting the BU Big Match as a celebration of the partnership between the two organisations.
The match will take place between AFC Bournemouth and Liverpool FC on Saturday 8 December, and has been designated as the BU Big Match, with a range of activities taking place before and during the game.
The partnership between the Cherries and the university is in its sixth year, and has seen the Dorset team move from the Championship to the Premier League, where they have enjoyed continued success.
The BU Big Match activity this year will focus on the subject of resilience. As a part of the pre-match activity to celebrate the partnership, AFC Bournemouth captain Simon Francis, and defender Tyrone Mings, visited BU’s Talbot Campus to give a talk on their careers and the resilience needed to perform at the highest level.
Interviewed by former AFC Bournemouth goalkeeper Jimmy Glass, the players talked about the support they receive from the club, and how they have navigated the highs and lows of their careers, from injury, to club moves, and finally playing in the top tier of English football.
The BU Big Match will also be an opportunity for the university to highlight its work in wellbeing and mental health, with the film #lifeunfiltered being shown around the ground before kick-off.
#lifeunfiltered is a video proving the opportunity to look at mental health through the eyes of a young person. Some of the young people featured in the film will be guests of the university at the match on 8th December.
Bournemouth University staff and students, and the local community, have all benefited from the partnership between the two organisations, with the BU men’s and women’s football teams being coached by AFC Bournemouth coaches. Bournemouth University is also shirt sponsor of the AFC Bournemouth girls football teams for the second year running, with BU appearing on the shirts for the under 10s to the under 16s age group, while BU is also a key supporter of the Junior Cherries.
In addition, BU and the Cherries have worked together over the last three years to provide a three month training programme for Chinese football coaches, who live and learn in Dorset each summer in a bid to improve the level of football coaching in China.
AFC Bournemouth striker Jermain Defoe has published a research paper with BU’s Dr Osman Ahmed, which aims to encourage patient involvement at all stages of the research process in sports and exercise science. Dr Ahmed and his team are regularly working with the AFC Bournemouth physio team to the benefit of both the Club and the university.
BU Chief Operating Officer, Jim Andrews, said: “We are very proud of our partnership with AFC Bournemouth and the BU Big Match will again be a chance to showcase the many benefits of two of Dorset’s leading organisations working together. This year’s BU Big Match will mark the first year that we’ve supported all of the AFC Bournemouth Girls teams, as well becoming a Junior Cherries partner, and we will be including the educational opportunities the partnership provides alongside support for the next generation of players and supporters.”
AFC Bournemouth Commercial Director and BU graduate Rob Mitchell said, “Our partnership with Bournemouth University has been running for six years now, and has been of great benefit to the club, the university, and the wider community. From the work placement opportunities, to knowledge sharing, we are working together to advance knowledge and give opportunities to students. It has also been great to have the university included in our community activity, including with our Junior Cherries and their sponsorship of the AFC Bournemouth girl’s football teams.”
At the BU Big Match, BU will be showcasing the partnership inside and outside of the ground, with a series of videos on the screens. The BU Big Band are also due to perform a selection of hits to build atmosphere before the match, while green screen technology will be available in the Junior Cherries Fanzone to highlight BU’s work in visual effects and provide some fun for the Junior Cherries ahead of kick-off. The match will also be shown live on Sky Sports, with kick-off at 12.30pm.
For more information about BU’s partnership with AFC Bournemouth, visit https://www.bournemouth.ac.uk/collaborate/afc-bournemouth