Cherries: Take a bow Mr Bond

12 March 2011 07:00
EXETER City and AC Milan. There is a common denominator. On the eve of Tottenham's huge Champions' League showdown with the Italians, Spurs assistant boss Kevin Bond was keen to get the low-down on Cherries.[LNB] Eulogising about the club's recent fortunes, Bond felt sure Cherries would continue their impressive run by avoiding defeat at St James's Park.[LNB] A win or draw, he thought, would set up Cherries perfectly for their much-anticipated clash with Southampton, Bond having captained both clubs during his playing career.[LNB] As a former Cherries boss, his interest was to be commended, especially considering his rather shabby treatment towards the end of his reign.[LNB] Sacked by then new owners Sport-6 just four games into the 2008-09 season, only the most optimistic prophet could have predicted Bond's legacy.[LNB] When the bullets were fired, Bond was accompanied to the job centre by a certain Eddie Howe, one of his trusty lieutenants during his tenure.[LNB] Suitably impressed and confident in his ability, it took Bond little time to spot Howe's coaching credentials and soon promoted him to his backroom staff.[LNB] Unceremoniously shown the door in September 2008, Howe was quickly welcomed back as the club's centre of excellence manager.[LNB] And, following Jimmy's Quinn's disastrous stewardship, Sport-6, coerced by director Adam Murry, took a huge gamble by appointing Howe as his successor.[LNB] At the time, Bond, now reunited with Harry Redknapp at White Hart Lane, was one of the first to predict Howe would be a roaring success.[LNB] With Cherries cast adrift in League Two, it was a bold statement but one that eventually rang true as Howe plotted the Great Escape and then masterminded promotion.[LNB] Cherries' success during Howe's stay in the hot-seat was achieved, it must not be forgotten, with more than a little help from a number of Bond's signings.[LNB] And while the players concerned blossomed under Howe's tutelage, without Bond's keen eye and contacts, it could have been very different.[LNB] Shwan Jalal, a relative unknown when he arrived on a free transfer from Peterborough, has developed into one of the finest goalkeepers in the club's history.[LNB] In front of him, Jason Pearce, plucked by Bond from Portsmouth reserves, has this season established himself as one of the most accomplished defenders in League One.[LNB] While injury has restricted Ryan Garry to a watching brief recently, the former Arsenal defender, another of Bond's acquisitions, has been pivotal to Cherries' revival.[LNB] And while the circumstances of Marvin Bartley's exit to Burnley may have left a bad taste in the mouths of some Cherries supporters, lest they forget who was responsible for unearthing the one-time window fitter in non-league.[LNB] The £350,000 transfer fee also came in handy.[LNB] Bond also made mistakes, his decision to release Dean Court legend Steve Fletcher a case in point.[LNB] However, while Fletcher proved to be a catalyst to Cherries' dramatic turnaround under Howe, his replacement in the summer of 2007 has also evinced his worth to the club.[LNB] Step forward Lee Bradbury and take a bow the man who signed him.[LNB]

Source: Bournemouth_Echo