Do you know the rags-to-riches story of AFC Bournemouth ? No? Good, that means you’re a well-rounded person with a wide array of interests and hobbies to occupy your time. Here’s the short version: In 2008, Bournemouth was in Football League One (England’s third division), dead broke and facing a very real threat of liquidation because it couldn’t pay its bills.
Fast-forward to 2015. Last week, the Cherries (yeah, “the Cherries”) were in Las Vegas spending a ton of their owner’s money on celebratory booze after earning promotion to the Premier League. Life can be sweet, sometimes.
Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe described the club’s ashy-to-classy rise thusly:
“The club was on its knees six years ago. We had nothing. It is never a journey we expected to go on but through some hard work and some investment we managed to do it.”
That investment was made by the club’s new, pungently wealthy Russian billionaire owner Maxim Demin, who is more fun to imagine as an eccentric named Maxim Denim who dresses like this at all times. In 2011, Demin slapped some oil-soaked money on the English soccer table and has now guided AFC Bournemouth to the top flight.
Demin’s best gift to his players (or the world at-large) has not been an expensive player signing or upgraded club facilities; it was a four-day 300,000 pound all-expenses paid club and champagne freak fest in Vegas.
According to the always-legit Daily Mail, a dozen Bournemouth boys were given a budget by Demin and told to go at it in the desert like drunken heroes. As the story goes, the Cherries (yup, still “the Cherries”) hit up Wet Republic for a pool party and spent 2,000 pounds on champagne in a seven-hour binge. That raises an important question: Who they hell stays in one place in Vegas for seven hours?
Some singer I’ve never heard of named Dane Bowers was supposedly involved in the festivities. I don’t know who this man is, but based on his 2009 jam, “Shut Up…And Forget About It,” he seems like a liability to have around when you’re trying to ball out with any level of sophistication.
Later, the team moved on to the Omnia Nightclub at Caesar’s Palace, where they spent the night at private tables. The club’s description — like my work e-mail signature — includes the words “seductive,” “luxurious” and “opulent.” Also, Diddy has been there, so it has to be good.
Omnia doesn’t list the price of table reservations, but the Daily Mail says they start at a minimum of 15,000 pounds. The cranberry and orange juice that comes with bottle service must come fresh squeezed from the gardens of Zeus for that kind of money.
Twelve people is entirely too many people to include in a Vegas-bound entourage. The magic number is four. With twelve young men in Vegas spending someone else’s money, it’s a credit to AFC Bournemouth’s club culture that none of them got shot or came up missing.
Whether or not Bournemouth will have any success in the Premier League (nope) is a discussion for a later date. Right now, they are the best team in the world. Well done, “the Cherries.” The merits of promotion and relegation is by far the most annoying discussion topic in soccer, but if this is the result, I may have to reconsider my stance.