THROUGH the highs and the lows, it had been the home of entertainment for Cherries fans for nine entire decades.

Dean Court saw its first match on New Year's Eve 1910, after enthusiasts rallied around to build it.

The main stand was built in 1927, its framework consisting of steel recycled from the restaurant of the Wembley Exhibition Centre. The South End followed in 1937.
The Brighton Beach end came much later, given its droll name by fans because it consisted of a pile of stones.

The old Dean Court's heyday was probably in the early 1970s, when John Bond managed a team which included Cherries legend Ted MacDougall. Gates regularly reached 22,000.
But the 1970s also saw the failure of ambitious plans to build a £1 million sports complex at Dean Court.

Bournemouth Echo: court2 - pic by Richard Crease - Demolition work starts on the south Stand at Dean Court - the home of AFC Bournemouth
Thirty years later, on March 22, 2001, the demolition of AFC Bournemouth's Dean Court ground started.

The club took a calculated risk in starting work before they had all the money in place to build a new all-seater stadium.

Bournemouth Echo: dean5 - pic by richard crease - The demolition work continues at Dean Court in preparation for a new stadium for AFC Bournemouth
They hoped that to complete the main stand and the 90-degree turning of the pitch by August 2001. The first end stand they wanted complete by September and the opposite long stand by October.

The club had grants and loans from the Football Foundation and Bournemouth Borough Council totalling £3.5 million. But the money was dependent on the club raising the rest itself.

More on Dean Court tomorrow on .