IT IS human nature to be apprehensive about change.

Maxim Demin had done remarkable things in his tenure as Cherries owner. But it was time for a natural parting of the ways.

Demin continued to keep Cherries ticking along as he looked for a buyer, putting the money in when required to give them a final push to secure promotion back to the Premier League.

He also got things moving on the club’s new training ground.

But both Demin and the club were ready for fresh impetus.

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Step forward, Bill Foley.

Today marks one year since the American billionaire’s takeover of Cherries was officially confirmed having been ratified by the Premier League.

It is fair to say, while there was excitement about what may lay ahead with the plans outlined by Foley, there was trepidation among the fanbase.

For Foley, a successful businessman in various fields, this was his first foray into football, well into his 70s.

The Premier League has seen an influx of American owners in recent years, which now stretches to around half the league. They often come with a stigma attached, older football fans anxious not to lose the heart and soul of the club they have followed through thick and thin for decades.

But from the off, Foley made his intentions clear, to not only significantly boost things for the first team, but also make strides to improve things for the women and academy teams.

The academy moved up to category two status in the summer, while the women’s team have begun handing out contracts to players. They have since embarked on an unbeaten league start, smashed their attendance record in a fixture at Vitality Stadium and gone further in the FA Cup than ever before.

Shortly after taking over the club, the Texan outlined plans to either expand Vitality Stadium or build a new venue, labelling the current venue as “inadequate”. But he was also keen to do what he could to improve the look of the current building in the interim, wasting no time after getting his hands on the club.

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Certain areas were given a lick of paint and smartened up, both for fans and staff. On matchdays too there was also a clear revamp in the build-up to games, not all of it going down well, but it has been tweaked as the months have gone on, with a DJ, flags and fire all used. Around the town too, there is now more of a presence of the club in the streets of Bournemouth, including banners hung from lampposts.

Foley spreads his time across various ventures all around the globe, notably the multi-club model he is building, with interests in both France and now New Zealand, and more investments expected, all to feed in to Cherries.

When he does visit Bournemouth, he is accessible to the fanbase and keeps everybody up-to-date on goings on via various interviews. It is a completely different approach to how Demin quietly and efficiently ran the club and takes some getting used to.

Cherries women usually play league matches in front of a modest crowd at Ringwood Town’s Long Lane.

Earlier this season, having brought the women’s team under the club’s umbrella again, Foley attended a game himself.

Asked how good it has been for the women’s team to have the support of Foley, captain Gemma Hillier told the Daily Echo: “Absolutely and he spoke to us before the game (he came to) about how we’re not just being included to be a token women’s team, he really wants us to have the best equipment, the best coaches and the best opportunity to succeed.

“So to hear that, it’s another pressure for us, but one that we feel we can deal with.”

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Hillier, an experienced player in the game aged 36, had a brief spell with Cherries before spending some time abroad. She then returned to the club in the summer.

Asked how different things have been from before the takeover, she added: “I was here for a season before I went to Dubai and the change is massive, even just the attitude at training.

“The girls are so much more focused now, because Steve (Cuss) has kind of given them a foundation and a vision of where they could go.

“We’re all fighting to get promotion this season and beyond after that. We’re all pulling in the same direction.”

Cherries’ development squad recently saw their 12-game unbeaten run come to an end, in their first season playing at a higher level.

Somebody who has seen first-hand the big changes which have occurred as a result of the acceleration of the £32million training ground project on the 57-acre site at Canford Magna is Alan Connell.

Formerly under-18s head coach, the ex-Cherries striker is now boss of the club’s second string.

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“The academy staff have been there since Christmas, in the office,” Connell told the Daily Echo, earlier this season.

“The outdoor 3G is being used by all the age groups and I think the dome is progressing well, along with all the other stuff going on.

“It’s definitely coming on quickly. I don’t know what timeframe we’re looking at for when we’ll all be training there, but it’s really exciting that all the success of the last decade, there’s a real legacy to show for it.

“Along with the new owner coming in and being really ambitious with his plans for the future.

“It’s always been a great club to be at, but the future is very bright for AFC Bournemouth.”

It is understood the hope is to move as much of the day-to-day operation of the club as possible over to Canford ahead of the 2024-25 season.

A big reason behind that is to then use the space currently being occupied for first-team training as offices, which would in turn open up more hospitality space in the stadium to help the club generate revenue.

Changes regarding hospitality and ticketing are, in essence, what have caused some unrest among the fanbase, and have probably presented the biggest teething issues in the relationship between the new ownership and supporters, with some concern over a disconnect.

Jim Frevola was the first man brought in to the club by Foley, his eyes and ears on the ground at Vitality Stadium, the pair previously working together at the Vegas Golden Knights.

Upon his arrival, it was announced Frevola “will be responsible for driving all revenues within the club, expanding the club’s community presence and fan base locally and regionally, and helping increase the globalisation of the AFC Bournemouth brand around the world”.

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Having Hollywood actor Michael B Jordan as part of the takeover deal has also helped regarding bringing the club to a more global audience, with work on a behind-the-scenes documentary ongoing.

Some early comments from Foley, albeit perhaps unintentionally, did appear to be alienating some sections of the fanbase, expressing his desire to do more to encourage a more diverse, younger crowd to come and support the club.

He said: “We do need to open up our ticketing to new fans. Everyone in the stadium looks like me: old, white guys. We want younger people.”

This spilled over into frustrations over points systems and season ticket renewals, as well as price rises elsewhere around the ground. Issues were raised by some fans concerned their loyal support over the years was not being appreciated by the new regime.

In an exclusive interview with the Echo in July, Cherries’ president of business Frevola addressed the above.

On rising ticket prices, he said: “If we don’t ever raise prices, we’ll be out of business, because we have costs going up, we have prices increasing and we’ve been impacted too.

“If we don’t raise prices, we can’t make improvements to the stadium. Ultimately, at the end of the day, if we don’t raise prices, it will impact the overall quality of what you see, whether it’s on or off the pitch.”

He added: “We’ve got to figure out every way possible to run this like a business, while still being respectful to the supporters and the loyal fans.

“There’s a perception out there that we don’t like season ticket holders. That could not be any further from the truth.”

As part of Frevola’s strategy, the usual pre-match watering hole of the 1910 was changed into a hospitality area, with a new marquee offering built behind the South Stand, named Kings Plaza, which was met with a mixed reaction.

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Frevola has not been the only new arrival. Other additions include American duo Jay Mellette being brought in to head up the medical department and Nick Zombolas as chief ticketing officer. The club now also have a London office, where many of the new staff members are based.

Frevola said bringing in Mellette, who formerly worked with Cirque du Soleil and the Vegas Golden Knights, “elevates us to the top of the Premier League” from a medical perspective.

Ultimately, though, if the club is thriving in the Premier League, fans will be more receptive to the changes being made. The most tangible evidence of the changes being necessary is for it to convert into results on the pitch.

Foley will not stand for anything less than excellence across the board.

He has shown his desire to push the club up the division, investing around £150million on new players already since his arrival.

He promised the club would not be relegated last season and they were not. He then made a bold change of manager of the summer, he says having been recommended to by technical director Richard Hughes, bringing in Andoni Iraola to replace Gary O’Neil.

It was a move to try and accelerate the club’s progress as well and changing the ethos and culture of the team.

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It has taken time, but appears to now be bearing fruit. Foley said in an interview he was targeting a finish of around 12th in the Premier League this season. Having won 3-0 away at Manchester United, Cherries currently sit 14th approaching the halfway mark, level on points with 12th-placed Chelsea.

The club and players are now looking upwards, rather than over their shoulders at the relegation picture.

Whether the trajectory will continue to go upwards and if the rise is sustainable obviously remains to be seen.

But given Foley’s start and the track record he has elsewhere, the club, particularly from a sporting perspective, appears to be in good hands.

In his first big media day as new chairman last December, Foley outlined his plans to improve things at the club and said: “Who wouldn’t want to come to Bournemouth and play football?”

Given how things are going, the list of players who will be keen on the south coast will undoubtedly be lengthening as Foley heads into year two at the club.