“IT WAS a day like no other.”
That was the verdict from loyal, passionate AFC Bournemouth fans who flocked to Goldsands Stadium on Saturday to watch Cherries take on mighty Liverpool.
Fathers and sons, friends, co-workers, football players and entire families were jubilant as they walked into Dean Court for one of the biggest FA Cup games in the history of AFC Bournemouth. The atmosphere was described by fans as ‘incredible’ and an ‘historic event like no other’.
Crowds roared and sang from all over the stadium where 11,475 supporters were seated – including 2,277 Liverpool supporters in the Ted MacDougall Stand.
The Farrant family all came to the special match together dressed in Cherries’ colours.
Mum Diane said: “It’s good to all come together for a family occasion like this – you never know when this sort of game will come around again.”
Three brothers, who are lifelong Cherries fans came to the match with their family – including their 76-year-old mum Joan McNiff.
As one of Cherries oldest fans she said today was ‘a day like no other’ and was delighted to welcome Liverpool to the stadium.
Before the match started, more than 1,500 Cherries and Liverpool fans gathered at the main reception to watch the players arrive and the Liverpool bus turn up.
Fans shouted for autographs from their favourite Cherries players and Tokelo Rantie and Elliott Ward took the time to stop and talk to fans and sign their programmes.
Peter Bell and his son Stephen had queued for hours to get in the front of the crowd to watch their idols before the match.
Stephen said: “It’s worth it to get to the front and see everyone walk in – it’s amazing.”
As the match kicked off the stadium came to life and so did the pubs and bars around Bournemouth screening the televised match to their customers.
There were more than 400 people at the Litten Tree in Old Christchurch Road cheering on the Cherries.
The atmosphere stayed jubilant inside the stadium until the final whistle and even then the fans stayed and applauded the players leaving the pitch.
After the match had finished friends Chris Lawson and Brad Petrus said the game was brilliant despite the loss.
Mr Lawson said: “What an occasion – it was a great day, the crowd and the atmosphere was just brilliant.”
Mark Smyth, who brought his whole family to the match, said: “It was great day with a brilliant atmosphere – in fact it was the best atmosphere that I’ve felt here in years.”
Another proud fan Mark Stepin said: “Every player and fan can leave with their heads held high – it was a great game.”