Vitality Stadium – AFC Bournemouth
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.71
Vitality Stadium King’s Park Dr Bournemouth BH7 7AF, UK
Year Opened: 1910
Cherry Picking at Dean Court
Originally featured 1/20/2018
Dean Court, or for sponsorship purposes, Vitality Stadium is the home of AFC Bournemouth of the Premier League. It has been home to the club since 1910 when the land was given to Boscombe FC by the Copper-Dean family in which the grounds bears its name. The ground was the first home to 300 seats but has grown steadily in its century of use.
The stands were demolished and the ground was completely rebuilt in 2001, with the pitch rotated ninety degrees from its original position and moved away from adjacent housing that bordered the facility. It reopened as a 9,600 seat ground. Further development continued at the stadium that saw temporary stands and sections of the grounds renamed. It has gone through a plethora of sponsorship names from the Fitness First Stadium, The Seawards Stadium, The Goldsands Stadium
In 2015 the stadium was renamed Vitality Stadium but with a capacity of only 11,464–smallest in the Premier League– there has been a discussion on moving the club to a new stadium somewhere in the area. There is also the demand for tickets that outweighs the current seating capacity and improving the size is needed for its viability towards its next 100 years.
Food & Beverage 3
Pre-match food kiosks or available midway on the outside of the Steven Fletcher North Stan and opens 3 hours before kick-off offering homemade pies, original-recipe hamburgers, cheeseburgers, and hot dogs. The homemade pies consist of beef & ale, chicken and mushrooms, and three-bean curry. You can buy soft drinks for £2 and beers are also on sale in the concourses under the stands. There are Junior Cherry lunch boxes that are also well priced with chocolate, crisps etc available as well.
With under 12,000 seats at the stadium, the atmosphere is quite different in comparison with other grounds in the league. However, the facility does have its own ambiance anesthetics that makes it a curiosity for visitors and fans alike. The Main stand (West stand) houses the hospitality suites and has sections of family seating areas on both flanks. The bulk of the home supporters are located in the Steve Fletcher stand, which is at the north end of the ground and holds some 3000 supporters.
The East stand is mainly for home fans but it also houses up to 1,600 visiting fans. It’s a tight space for the away fans and is always heavily stewarded. It is open to the sun and on hot summer afternoons, fans should bring with them sunglass, suntan lotion, or a cap for added protection.
The Ted MacDougall Stand is a temporary structure that was erected when the team were promoted to the Championship in 2013 and holds 2,200 fans. his stand is usually only for home supporters, but there have been a few FA Cup and League Cup games when visiting fans of large clubs have been seated there. It is not that often that you’ll find Champagne bars at a football ground, but the Bubbles Bar in the Main stand is exactly that and is used for corporate functions.
Most fans are more likely to end up having a drink in the 1910 Club which is also situated at one end of the Main stand building on the first floor. At the opposite left end of the Main stand you’ll also find the Club Shop which is a one-story facility that includes some novel features like a working electronic manikin of Steve Fletcher, complete with goal posts. You’ll also get a good feel for the club and its history by making your way round behind the North stand to the East stand, where the Wall of Fame charts the story of iconic AFC Bournemouth players and teams over the club’s existence.
The stadium is well equipped for disabled supporters and has a dedicated Junior fan zone for fun before games. The stadium has seen many upgrades with Promotion to the Premier league. There is now a Pavilion building that houses the media centre and press conference facility and new floodlighting and underground heating has been added to the ground as well as 100 press seats.
Even though the corners of the ground are not filled in, fans feel very close to the players and the sound remains inside the ground so you can make your voice heard. It is a much improved atmosphere since the Temporary Ted MacDougall stand has been built. On windy days you will feel the breeze blowing through the corners of the ground though.
The Superstore is located on the northwest corner of the main stand and is open until kickoff and then for 20 minutes after the match. This is where you’ll also find the team’s trophy cabinet. match day programs are also sold here for £3.50. The Cherries Community Draw tickets aid the Cherries Community Fund and provide supporters a chance to win great cash prices along with supporting local projects. All the tickets are just £1 each.
The Junior Fan Zone is located underneath the family stand in opens two and a half hours before the game. Supporters up to the age of 16 can meet and greet team mascot Cherry Bear and enjoy face painting, games activities, and competition such as FIFIA tournament on Xbox1, table tennis, and penalty kicks.
Situated in Kings Park, there are avenues of trees and clear pathways to the ground. Next to the stadium are the training pitches and tarmac car park, which is only a couple of quid on match days. Getting out of the car park can take some time though. The local sub-centre of Boscombe is only a 10 minute walk away and it is well supplied with shops, pubs, and cafes for visiting fans. It is not as attractive as the town centre or the beach, but it’s still a busy area.
Bournemouth Square is where you can find a variety of shops and places to eat and drink before or after the game and busses provide transportation at £4.10. Bournemouth Pier is home to Rock Reef, an award-winning attraction offering thrilling family activities including the pier pier racing zipline that hovers over the waves below the pier. The Sovereign Shopping Center offers High Street names, various eateries and retail outlets as well as hosting a wide range of community events.
Bournemouth fans have a reasonable selection of chants. They get behind the manager most of all though and love singing his name to Barmy Army. The home fans always do a ‘make some noise for the boys’ appeal going round each of the stands moments before the teams come out. The North stand makes the most noise and singing is fairly good throughout the match, but the fans sing much louder when they are at away grounds. There is perhaps rather a lot of clapping from the Main stand, but some songs will get them going.
The ground is situated just off the Wessex Way which is a dual carriage way. Visiting fans will find it easy to locate and there is a car park right by the ground for £1 and extra parking facilities at the Sovereign shopping centre in Boscombe and at Harewood College. The train station is a bus ride away if you go to the main Bournemouth station. After the games the roads are busy and it does take 20 minutes to drive out of the area.
There are a variety of trains that arrived at the Bournemouth Central train station along with P2 and P3 yellow bus service that is easily accessible from the train station and runs up to every 20 minutes. The X3 service from Salisbury or Bournemouth runs every 30 minutes and M2 buses run every 7 to 10 minutes on matchdays.
If driving to the game it is advised to arrive early in order to find a free matchday parking that’s available at Harewood College, a ten-minute walk away from the stadium. There is also parking available to the south of the ground for just £1. However, it is advised to arrive about 75-90 minutes before kickoff to secure a spot for this low price. Sovereign Shopping Center on Christchurch Road, a 15-minute walk, from the grounds, provides parking at a cost of £2 for 4 hours.
Return on Investment 5
Ticket prices are by no means the most expensive in the Premier League. Family stand adult price is £29 and adult prices in the North and South stand are £32 and from £33 in the East stand rising up to £45 in the Main stand. Executive prices are £55. There are concessions and low Junior Cherry and disabled prices. For the style of play that we have seen Eddie Howe’s teams play over the last seven years it has been worth every penny.
When you go to a match at Dean Court you can also buy one of the best match programmes in the country, it really is packed with information and has won many awards over the last few seasons. It is also good to get there early as you can really get close to the players who will sign autographs.
With under 12,000 seats, Vitality Stadium offers an atmosphere that is quite different in comparison with other grounds in the league. It is the smallest grounds in English Football. However, the facility does have its own ambiance anesthetics that makes it a curiosity for visitors and fans alike. The concourses and stands are tight and crowds can become dense when moving around the stadium. However, just because you are small in size that you don’t pack a punch.