He arrived, from Hartlepool, in a blaze of ‘who?’ in 1992. Twenty years later, he’s still here. Oh he’s been away and come back (twice). This is because like that tape worm in your intestine, Steve Fletcher cannot survive away from the warm, life-giving symbiotic relationship he enjoys with AFC Bournemouth. To date he’s made 808 career appearances, scoring a whopping 134 goals, only once getting into double figures for a season. He has, of course, scored some memorable goals (the 2003 play-off final, helping save league status in 2009, and once, (ONCE!), in those 808 appearances scoring a hat-trick. The celebrations that followed knocked those for VE Day into a cocked hat.)
But mostly, the man dubbed ‘the Wardrobe’ has divided opinion on the Dean Court terraces. Those who value running around and ‘meaning it’ will hear no word against him, whereas those who value things like skill and talent would rather he had retired years ago. I remember him coming back from injury once at Sincil Bank, clearly still unfit, reduced to shouting ‘boo’ at a defender in an attempt to put him off. He might not have the talent, but he will run through a brick wall for you (which was helpful when we needed to knock down the old ground as we couldn’t afford the bulldozer. Ahem.)
Only at Bournemouth would we name a stand after this type of player and not the one who scored 42 in one season (including 9 in one game). He’s here for life you know, probably still coming off the bench with 2 minutes to go when he’s 57, which is a shame as I’ll never get the chance to say “we’ll miss him when he’s gone”.
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