CHERRIES have announced the appointment of three new directors – with Mikhail Ponomarev and Alexey Panferov becoming the first Russian representatives on the board at the Dorset club.

Bournemouth-based businessman Adam Murry, who was responsible for handing Eddie Howe his first managerial post in 2009, returns to the top table at Goldsands Stadium.

The trio will join chairman Eddie Mitchell, vice-chairman Jeff Mostyn, chief executive Neill Blake and directors Tom Mitchell, Josh Mitchell, Steve Sly and Nicholas Rothwell.

News Cherries were planning to strengthen their board was revealed exclusively by the Daily Echo on Twitter last month when Murry’s return and the appointment of one of the Russians had been predicted.

A statement published today on the club website claimed Ponomarev and Panferov had “a long association” with Cherries.

Ponomarev, 38, is the founder of Energy Consulting Group Russia and was previously head of corporate governance for Tatneft. He is described as being “a close associate” of Cherries co-owner Maxim Demin and is heavily involved in football sponsorship in Russia and Europe.

Panferov, 42, is founder and managing partner at NewRussiaGrowth Private Equity and was previously head of investment banking and a member of the board at MDM Bank.

The Russian and Italian-based businessman has been a Cherries follower since Demin became the club’s joint-owner last year.

Cherries chairman Mitchell told the club website: “Mikhail and Alexey are two very successful men and people who we welcome on to the board.

“They have both attended countless games at Goldsands Stadium and are close associates of my business partner Max.

“We are so pleased to be able to add individuals to our team with such exceptional talent and pedigree and I know Mikhail and Alexey will become valuable members of our set up.”

Panferov said: “I am delighted to become a board member of a football club that I am so passionate about. This season is progressing well and I think we have a long and exciting future ahead of us.”

And Ponomarev said: “I have enjoyed my time at AFC Bournemouth and have been honoured to watch it grow over the past two years. I am very proud to have been appointed to the board and I am looking forward to getting further involved at the club.”

Murry, who has played a significant role in the club’s recent history, formed part of a consortium alongside Mitchell, Mostyn, Blake and Sly to take over the club in 2009, having previously been a director during the Sport-6 era.

The Murry Group rescued the club from the ownership of Sport-6 following their disastrous 11-month tenure under business partners Paul Baker and Alastair Saverimutto.

A one-time boxer, Murry was instrumental in Jimmy Quinn’s sacking on New Year’s Eve 2008, with his decision to appoint Howe proving one of the greatest masterstrokes in the club’s history.

Murry, who stepped down from the Cherries board in November 2010, has always remained a close confidant to both Howe and his assistant Jason Tindall.

Chairman Mitchell said: “Adam is a great asset to the club and I’m looking forward to having him on the board again. He is a fantastic ambassador and I’m a great admirer of the time and effort he has invested in helping local charities.”

Murry said: “This club means a great deal to me and I would like to thank Eddie for this opportunity. I’m pleased to return to the board at a time when the club is on a sound financial footing and looking forward to a bright future.

“The board have done a fantastic job in moving this club forward over the past three years and I hope to contribute towards its future progress.”