The Vitality Stadium, a recent name change for sponsorship reasons, is another moniker given to AFC Bournemouth’s home ground of Dean Court.
The stadium has changed plenty over the years but remains famous for being extremely small for a top-flight venue with a capacity of just over 11,000 spectators.
The ground sits in King’s Park in Boscombe, around two miles east of the centre of Bournemouth in one of the more picturesque settings for a football stadium in England.
History of Vitality Stadium
Back in 1910, the then-Boscombe Football Club was handed a piece of land by the Cooper-Dean family on which to build a purpose-built football ground.
Playing initially at King’s Park until the stadium was ready, Dean Court as it was called could finally host the time in December 1910 and it has essentially remained the home of what is now AFC Bournemouth ever since.
In the ’40s and 50’s the ground had increased and the club reached their peak in terms of being an attraction, more than 25,000 turning up to watch a league game in April 1948 against QPR and 28,000+ arriving to watch the FA Cup game against Manchester United in March ’57.
Having become unsuitable for modern football though, the stadium was completely rebuilt in 2001. Nearby housing was removed and the pitch was even rotated to allow the work to be completed.
While since 2014 plans have remained on paper for Bournemouth to move to a new stadium given the limited capacity here, for now, this famous ground remains home.
In 2015, a sponsorship agreement was reached under which the name of the venue was changed to the Vitality Stadium, and it saw Premier League football for the first time the same year being well received by away fans despite the tight nature of the place.
This is a famous old ground, despite the new name, with the Vitality as we know it now being shaped like this:
- Capacity: 11,364
- Record Attendance: 28,799 for Bournemouth v Manchester United in March 1957
- Pitch: 105m x 68m, a pure grass surface
- Stands: The Vitality East Stand, Colmar Ted MacDougall South Stand, Vitality Main Stand and the Vitality Steve Fletcher North Stand make up the stadium. The Main Stand contains the dugouts etc, while away fans are housed in the East Stand.
Memorable Games at Dean Court
While there have been many classic matches at Dean Court over the years, the best times really did come between Bournemouth’s superb Championship promotion season in 2014/15 and their Premier League campaigns up to 2020. In that time, these games really stick out:
Bournemouth 3-0 Middlesbrough
There were plenty of highlights from this Championship-winning campaign, but when push came to shove among the promotion hopefuls Bournemouth, Watford, Norwich and Middlesbrough in March the pressure was on. At that time, Boro arrived here for a high-profile game and was swept aside 3-0 by Eddie Howe’s men.
Bournemouth 2-1 Manchester United
The Cherries had suffered a few heavy defeats in the Premier League, but after a huge win at Chelsea in December 2015 they were on the up. The home side quickly followed up their win at Stamford Bridge by turning over Man United at the Vitality, Josh King grabbing the winner in the second half.
Bournemouth 4-3 Liverpool
There were many highlights from the 2016/17 season at the Vitality, including the 6-1 hammering of Hull, however, this classic will live long in the memory. Having been 2-0 and 3-2 down in the game, Bournemouth scored three in the final 15 minutes of the game to take a famous win 4-3.
Bournemouth 4-0 Chelsea
Chelsea arrived at the Vitality in January 2019 as favourites for the game, one that was a close affair in the first half being 0-0 at the interval. All that changed within two minutes of the restart when Josh King scored, himself, David Brooks and Charlie Daniels adding three more for a huge 4-0 win against the Blues.
Bournemouth 4-1 Leicester
On a rotten run and in danger of going down, Bournemouth faced Champions League-chasing Leicester in July 2020. Behind in the game, the Cherries for once got some luck with a sending off before pouring forward to hammer four past the Foxes late on. It was a great victory, but ultimately not enough to keep them in the league.
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