AFC Bournemouth’s five years in the Premier League made the team the town’s “greatest local export” and brought money into the wider region, a business supporter of the club has said.

The Cherries fought until the last minute on Sunday to stay in the top flight of English football, but an end-of-season win at Everton was not enough to prevent them slipping into the Championship.

The club’s time in the Premier League put the town’s name before audiences around the world. The president of Dorset Chamber, Liz Willingham, has said the area received a “much-needed boost” and was “put on a global map”.

Giles Wellington, chartered financial planner with Westbourne-based Strategic Solutions – whose support includes sponsoring the under-16 and under-18 academy teams – said: “For five seasons, David gave Goliath a decent beating, but I guess it was inevitable – you can only punch above your weight for a certain amount of time in a business/sport that is so dominated by money.

“And when we say money, money on the scale that a smaller club built upon its relation in the community can sadly never hope to achieve.

“So personally as a proud supporter of the club for many, many years and as a partner in a firm that also supports the club, the feeling is of course of disappointment but also its also time to have some perspective. A time to finally relax and admire what has been achieved by Eddie Howe and his team on the field and Jeff Mostyn and his team off the field. We should all be proud of the positive impact the football club has brought to our town.”

He said Strategic Solutions had been involved with the club “pre-razzmatazz and pre-Premier League” and was a long-standing supporter of its AFC Business network.

“Our foremost thoughts are with those hard-working, behind the scenes staff who now must be concerned about the stability of their and their peers’ jobs. In these strange Covid days they now have an extra level of uncertainty to deal with,” he said.

“AFCB as a club has done the town proud and put it on the map, no doubt bringing money to the region as a whole.

“All this done with one hand tied behind their backs from not owning their own ground and with many years of no real support from local council or local big businesses – like so many other clubs are so lucky to have,” he said.

“We as a firm will continue to support what must be our greatest local export.”

He added: “Much is written and criticised of the amount players get paid but the majority of AFCB staff are normal, hardworking local people getting normal pay and our thoughts are with them.

“With regards to the players, maybe it’s not a popular opinion to have when you are losing, but these are young guys thrust into the limelight and in nearly all cases trying their best. They may get paid what most of us couldn’t even dream of, but they are the exception to the rule.”

He said the dedication of young players and their families was “astonishing”. “So few of them get anywhere near the sums we see in the tabloids, and those that do are UK taxpayers, paying almost 50 per cent tax and national insurance into our government coffers, plus the 13.8 per cent employers National Insurance – and the rest in local establishments,” he said.

“They are big contributors to society, and they are stood on a big live stage in front of millions of people every week.”