Harry Redknapp kicks-off huge season for Cherries

Footballing legend Harry Redknapp was joined by hundreds of Cherries fans on Saturday at the opening of AFC Bournemouth’s £600,000 training facilities.

A 2-2 draw with Premier League opposition Reading was the icing on the cake for an afternoon that kicked off with the formal welcome of new stadium sponsors Goldsands Management.

Accompanied by the Mayor of Bournemouth, Cherries chairman Eddie Mitchell, manager Paul Groves and AFC Bournemouth striker Steve Fletcher, Redknapp cut the ribbon in front of an excited crowd, and scored the first goal on the new pitches.

Acknowledging the investment in the training ground, Redknapp said: “All the infrastructure is now in place here, the club has everything and I’m sure the players are grateful to have somewhere to train onsite with such good facilities.”

Ahead of the ribbon-cutting ceremony, a reception was held to welcome the latest major sponsors at the club, – stadium sponsors Goldsands Management and shirt sponsors Energy Consulting Group.

Managing director of Goldsands Management John O’Neill said: “There is an air of positivity flowing through the corridors here at the Goldsands Stadium. It is exciting to see the club expanding and growing.”

The newly formed concierge company is the latest in a long list of businesses that have invested in the ambitious League 1 club, and AFC Bournemouth commercial director Rob Mitchell is pleased with the increasing national interest in the Cherries.

“I am delighted to welcome two companies of such scale on board at the club,” he said. “The level of media interest we receive is much higher than it once was and the scale of investment we are now receiving is testament to the ambition of everyone at AFC Bournemouth.”

Spring is in the air…

Spring is in the air…

Oriental otters to find a new home at the Bournemouth Oceanarium

As we see glimpses of spring appearing, we can appreciate with fresh eyes how lucky we are to live in this stunning area, and from what we’re hearing, it seems there’ll be some exciting new things to experience and enjoy for the summer season ahead. Watch this space, we’ll keep you in the loop!

In the meantime, make the most of a deal being offered for the whole of March to anyone living in a BH postcode. When fuel prices are getting ever higher and other increases are pinching our pockets, it’s nice to hear of someone looking after their locals. Oceanarium Bournemouth is once again offering half price entry to BH residents this month; it’s the perfect excuse to take the family or indulge in some tranquil time out. The Oceanarium is one example of a business creating something new for the 2011 season – they’ve got some new friends arriving. Otters! Their very first mammal arrives this spring and we’re looking forward to helping them celebrate with launch events and special activities. A whole new enclosure is in construction to welcome the pair of naughty Oriental small clawed otters, who are known to be funny to watch and extremely playful and mischievous.

Talking of playful and mischievous, I was recently treated to hang out with some very well-dressed footballers, courtesy of AFC Bournemouth. Not being particularly into football, I wasn’t sure what to expect when I accepted an invitation to lunch and a match one Saturday to watch the Cherries v Huddersfield with my kids, our events manager, Chloe and her lovely partner, Jason. I thought it was important that we got to experience a live football match – something I had never done before (yes I got ribbed for that). Well, I admit it; I totally get it now. Watching anything live is always a buzz and we really enjoyed ourselves. Having a sociable lunch first in the restaurant was a great way to start the afternoon and I’d recommend it to anyone. You even get tea and cake in half time! The children thought they were in heaven.

As we finished lunch and wandered out to find our seats in the stadium, I was very excited to see we were surrounded by other AFCB players. Suited, booted and Barbour’d up to the nines, Chloe quietly thought she’d gone to heaven too!

The atmosphere and the energy in the packed stadium was magical. Watching the match play end to end, and seeing the stadium explode as the Cherries scored, made our day. Sadly, Huddersfield equalled it right on the wire and the result was a draw, but we’d had a fantastic time and would like to shout a big thank you to the Club for inviting us. We’ll be back for sure.

From my blatant plug of the month to a tip from us about ‘blatant plugs’! Like us, many of you will be regular users of social media, and from now on you have to be much more careful about how you talk about the company you work for online. And not just for fear of getting the sack! The advertising standards people are cracking down on anyone trying to influence others through blogs, status updates or other online communications. You need to ask for guidance from your boss as to how you promote the company you work for online, and if you are a boss, please show your staff how to play it or you might be penalised for your employees saying nice things about you! It’s nice to plug something you believe in, but if anyone is paying you in any way to have that opinion, make sure you make that clear. There’s always something new which makes us busy in our world……and that’s just how we like it!

I hope your month is as mad as a March Hare, until next time……