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Cherries: The Latics stars discovered by a man from the New Forest
CHANCES are when Wigan’s team-sheet is revealed tomorrow, a number of their players will have been unearthed by an ex-Cherries player, born in the New Forest.
Kevin Reeves, who came through the ranks at Dean Court and attended Twynham School, is chief scout at the DW Stadium and responsible for player recruitment for the first team.
Capped twice by England, he was one of the first £1million players when he joined Manchester City in 1980, scoring in their 1981 FA Cup final replay defeat by Spurs.
Striker Reeves, who was brought up in Burley, served his Cherries apprenticeship during the halcyon days of the early 1970s before going on to net 20 goals in 63 league appearances between 1974 and 1976.
As a teenager, he reunited with former Cherries boss John Bond at Norwich for £50,000 before his playing career was cruelly cut short by an arthritic hip at 26 following a spell at Burnley.
Now 55, Reeves says he remembers as if it were yesterday being scouted by Cherries’ talent-spotter Reg Tyrrell. Reg died on cup final day 1976, although son Clive still lives locally and is a regular at Dean Court.
“Reg was an icon for me,” said Reeves. “I think you always have a soft spot for the person who discovers you and he was a fantastic acquisition for the football club.
“I was playing in a Bournemouth Schools’ cup final and he approached me after the game. I was playing for Twynham against Oakfield and we won 5-3 after being 3-0 down.
“I was invited for trials at Bournemouth and signed as a schoolboy for two years. Then, I did my apprenticeship and was taken on as a pro at 17.
“When I was 14, we used to train in the car park at Dean Court on a Thursday night. Reg was responsible for a lot of the players that came through at Bournemouth. They had a good youth system and players like Mark Nightingale, Steve Gritt, Ian Cunningham and Howard Goddard all came through it.
“The club was going through a difficult period when I broke into the first team. Previously, they had had a great team under John Bond. I used to watch players like Ted MacDougall, Phil Boyer, Jimmy Gabriel and Mel Machin. That team almost got out of the old third division. It all went pretty quickly after they left.
“I remember the stand behind the goal became an eyesore and stood derelict for a number of years. We were relegated the year I made my debut. I came on as a substitute in the last game against Peterborough.
“I stayed until I was 19. I went to Norwich on a month’s loan and was then signed permanently for £50,000. There were a lot of Bournemouth-Norwich connections and I know it wasn’t very well received by the Bournemouth supporters.
“I got the move to Manchester City three years later and loved it. It was a great move for me and a good period in my career.”