AFC Bournemouth feature: Cherries star Pitman is pleased he rejected Blackpool (From Bournemouth Echo)
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AFC Bournemouth feature: Cherries star Brett Pitman is pleased he rejected Blackpool
HINDSIGHT is a wonderful thing. Just ask Brett Pitman.
But for “a couple of little details”, Pitman could have been lining up for Blackpool, rather than against them, at Dean Court tomorrow.
In August 2010, the striker, fresh from firing Cherries to promotion to League One, was a wanted man by Ian Holloway, then boss of the Premier League new boys.
Both on and off the pitch, a lot has changed in Pitman’s life since he rejected their overtures in favour of moving to Bristol City and then returning to his spiritual home.
But despite becoming a father to son Harlow and a fiancé to girlfriend Clare, one thing has remained constant – his ability to score goals.
The Jerseyman, who caught Holloway’s eye after netting 26 times during Cherries’ League Two promotion campaign, continued where he had left off last season by again leading the goal charts in the club’s rise to the Championship.
Since joining Cherries as a 15-year-old, Pitman has plundered no fewer than 155 goals at three different levels – and even chipped in with 20 during a spell in the Championship with Bristol City which some claimed had been unsuccessful.
“Moving to Bristol City was a big decision,” said Pitman. “It all came out of the blue after I had turned down Blackpool. I had been really close to signing for them but don’t really want to go into detail about why I didn’t.
“I was young and they were at the opposite end of the country. Ian Holloway made me feel really welcome but, apart from him, I didn’t get a great feeling about the place.
"They didn’t pull out all the stops to sign me and I got the impression they would just move on to the next target if I didn’t.
“Everybody wants to play in the Premier League and that would have been an opportunity for me. I would rather have stayed at Bournemouth than gone there but then Bristol City came in and things moved really quickly.
“We moved and were really happy living in Bristol. Harlow was born in May 2012 and everything was great in my personal life. It was a big difference because, all of a sudden, you have got a little person to look after. Fatherhood is tough sometimes but always really rewarding.
“My starts-to-goals ratio was pretty good at City, even after Keith Millen, the man who signed me, had been sacked. It was still good under Derek McInnes but I wasn’t getting opportunities, even though we were losing a lot. I knew it was time to move on.”
Pitman, a product of the Dean Court youth ranks under Joe Roach, rejoined Cherries, initially on loan, just weeks after Eddie Howe had returned to the club. The move was made permanent for a bargain £60,000 in January.
“There had been talk of me coming back at the start of last season,” added Pitman. “I had played against Bournemouth in pre-season and fan-cied them to be there or thereabouts. To be honest, I was desperate to come back.
“I wanted to come back even more after the manager (Eddie Howe) had returned. To play for a club and a man I wanted to play for was a huge draw for me. I pushed as hard as I could and Derek McInnes helped me get it over the line, which was good of him.
“I can’t really put my finger on what it is about working with the manager. I enjoy working under him and he gets the best out of me.
"He accepts there is stuff I am not particularly good at and, sometimes, my body language isn’t great, even if I think it has got a lot better.
“He has always said hard work will keep you in the team, whether you score or not. I know it might be slightly different now we have gone up but everyone knows where they stand and I think he is a manager who can take this club places.”
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