Cherries: Funnell says club's unbeaten run was built on team spirit and enjoyment (From Bournemouth Echo)
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Cherries: Funnell says club's unbeaten run was built on team spirit and enjoyment
HAVING carved his name in the Dean Court record books more than 30 years ago, Tony Funnell can be forgiven for remembering very little of his achievement.
His goal during a 1-1 home draw with Peterborough in March 1982 provided the platform for Cherries to embark on an 18-match unbeaten run, the longest in club history.
“I can’t remember it!” laughed Funnell when asked for his memories of the strike. “But anyone who knows me will tell you I would have said it was a fantastic goal, even if I kicked it over the line from a yard. All goals are great!”
For the record, Funnell’s 11th goal of Cherries’ Division Four promotion-winning season of 1981-82 came after debutant Charlie George had seen a shot blocked in the 57th minute.
Although former Arsenal and Saints star George went on to make only one further appearance, Funnell and his team-mates proved formidable opposition for the remainder of the season as Cherries finished fourth.
Eddie Howe’s class of 2013 would match the record should they avoid defeat by Swindon this afternoon and then better it with victory or a draw against Wigan in their FA Cup third round replay on Tuesday.
“What was our secret?” said Funnell, who went on to answer his own question. “We had a great team spirit and were encouraged to play football all the time.
“Our manager Dave Webb and his assistant Harry Redknapp drilled us well as a unit and that was a big part of our success. They both knew the game and were both winners.
“We worked hard on our team shape. Whatever happened in a game, everybody knew their job and we performed as a unit. If you aren’t a team, you have got no chance of being successful.
“The camaraderie was fantastic and we never contemplated getting beaten and neither did Dave or Harry. We went into training every day and enjoyed ourselves. There was a buzz every time we walked on to the pitch and that was down to the management.
“You can see that is what is happening now under Eddie and Jason.
“They have proved they are good together with what they have done at Bournemouth and Burnley and back at Bournemouth again. The team knows how to win and that is what you have got to do. I can only see them improving.”
Funnell, the only man to gain promotion with Cherries, Southampton and Poole, works part-time for the Professional Footballers’ Association providing statistics at home games involving Saints, Pompey and Reading. He also runs Sportstriker, a speed cage for all sports at schools and parties.
Still living in Poole, he was Cherries’ top goalscorer during their promotion campaign before his professional career was cut short by a back injury in 1983.
He added: “I hope they beat our record. It will be tough against Swindon because they are a good side and play some nice football. But Bournemouth play good stuff as well and are on a roll.
“I just want to see them keep climbing the table. The club has made massive strides in the past few years and I just hope they can carry on and have more success.”