AS one door closes, another one opens. The departure of Danny Hollands to Charlton will leave a gaping hole, both in the centre of the Cherries midfield and in Lee Bradbury’s squad.
Hollands is today expected to sign a lucrative contract at the Valley, severing his ties with Cherries following five eventful years at Dean Court.
Despite being offered a new deal by the Dorset outfit, free agent Hollands is likely to reject their overtures in favour of exercising his right to up sticks and head for pastures new.
And while Cherries supporters will doubtless greet news of his exit with disappointment, hopefully, Hollands will also receive a warm send-off, one deserving of such a loyal servant.
Supporters’ player of the year in 2008 and a former captain, the 25-year-old gave his all for the cause during more than 200 appearances for the club.
He tried as hard as the next man to help Cherries win a place in the Championship, his immense display in the play-off semi-final, second leg at Huddersfield arguably one of his best.
While a glance at the final League One table would suggest Hollands’s move might point to a lack of ambition, nothing could be further from the truth, certainly in monetary terms.
Financially, Hollands could be in line to pocket a life-changing salary. And, with his partner expecting triplets later this year and his next payday potentially defining to his career, only the
most selfish Cherries supporter could possibly begrudge him for chasing the lucre.
The fact a rival club from the same division can also tempt him away tells its own story – and one Cherries can do very little about.
Hollands and his team-mates pulled up trees to mount a promotion bid, their efforts eclipsing the likes of Charlton and Sheffield Wednesday, two big hitters in the graveyard for fallen Premier
However, despite their respective declines, the resources of both the Addicks and the Owls dwarf those of Cherries, easily one of the poor financial relations in the third flight.
While the rewards – for players and club alike – would have followed had Cherries realised their Championship dream, boss Lee Bradbury and chairman Eddie
Mitchell would still have had their work cut out to keep hold of the club’s prized assets.
And while Bradbury and Mitchell will be sorry to see him leave, nobody will ever know whether promotion would have kept Hollands at Dean Court.
It remains to be seen whether his decision to fly the nest will be the catalyst to the end of an era.
If it is, it could also herald the start of a new dawn.