What’s In a Name?

“Welcome to the third round of the FA Cup where it’s Manchester versus Sheffield for the right to play West who beat Bournemouth earlier today”.

Hearing that report on the radio or TV, the listener or viewer would have no idea of which two teams were playing and who they would face in the next round. Is it Manchester United or Manchester City? Are they playing Sheffield United or Sheffield Wednesday? And surely no-one would use the word ‘West’ to describe West Ham United or West Bromwich Albion? But that kind of ambiguity is exactly what every match commentator, TV pundit, football journalist and news reporter does every time they talk about the fourth team in that quote, AFC Bournemouth.

Bournemouth Rovers was formed in 1875 before changing its name to Bournemouth Dene Park in 1888, a name it played under for just one season before amalgamating Bournemouth Arabs in 1889 and renaming the club as Bournemouth FC. Ten years later Boscombe FC was formed out of the Boscombe St John’s Lads Institute Club, four years after that joining the Hampshire League West at exactly the same time as Bournemouth FC.

Boscombe FC changed its name to Bournemouth and Boscombe Athletic when it joined League Division Three South in 1923 moving up from the Southern League. Bournemouth FC at this time remained in the Hampshire League where that club continued to ply its trade until joining the Wessex League in 1986. By this time Bournemouth and Boscombe Athletic had been playing as AFC Bournemouth for 15 years and was competing in League Division Three.

Quite obviously Bournemouth FC and AFC Bournemouth are two completely different clubs, even playing each other in a First Qualifying Round FA Cup tie in the 1921/22 season, so why do all the football commentators, pundits and reporters insist on referring to AFC Bournemouth as ‘Bournemouth’ now that the younger club has made it to the Premier League? It’s very disrespectful to both clubs, in particular to the older Bournemouth FC who are still competing in the Wessex League.

Is it ignorance on the part of all these football experts? That would seem out of place with all the other in-depth facts they are always capable of sharing with us. The depth of knowledge that supports often wonderful articles, most recently during the coverage of the scandals at FIFA, would suggest that reporters and commentators are not ignorant. Then it can only be one other thing: laziness, a laziness borne out of a complete disinterest for football below the Premier League, a laziness that insists on calling Leeds United ‘Leeds’ and Derby County ‘Derby’. It is AFC Bournemouth, not Bournemouth.

If the football writers and presenters find that a difficult concept to grasp, maybe they should try making a Bakewell tart out of poppies and see if that makes any difference to how that confection is supposed to taste. It’d be a fantastic reminder that the Poppies of Bournemouth FC are definitely not the Cherries of AFC Bournemouth.

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The FA Cup Factfile is THE most comprehensive resource for FA Cup facts & stats. Spanning almost 150 years of FA Cup history, covering over 3,200 clubs playing more than 71,500 FA Cup matches, the FA Cup Factfile contains facts and stats for Arlesey Town to Arsenal, from Liversedge to Liverpool, and from Mangotsfield United to Manchester United. Visit my website https://facupfactfile.co.uk/ for more details on how you can access my vast FA Cup database

One thought on “What’s In a Name?”

  1. As an Atletico Madrid fan since 2004, nothing winds me up more than when English commentators refer to the Real simply as “Madrid”! To be fair, it was mainly something the ITV lot did when the Champions League was on their channel, BTSport seem to be a bit more “aware” at least…


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