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Happy memories for Kev

Bournemouth has played a special part in Kevin Bond's career - as he tells us ahead of Saturday's friendly at Dean Court.

The memories come flooding back to Kevin Bond as our first pre-season friendly at Bournemouth rapidly approaches.

We kick-off our friendly campaign at Dean Court on Saturday and our assistant manager began his career as an apprentice at Bournemouth before returning for a second spell as a seasoned professional in 1988 and then managing the club between 2006-08.

When he joined Bournemouth as a youngster in 1972, Kevin admits he was so small he could ‘barely get near the youth team, let alone the reserves'.

When his father and Bournemouth's then-manager John moved on in 1974, Kevin went with him to Norwich City - and his career flourished.

He went on to play for Norwich City, Manchester City and Southampton, racking up almost 400 appearances in the top flight and winning two England B caps in 1979-80.

His playing career went full circle with a return to Bournemouth in 1988 - managed by none other than Harry Redknapp - and he made 126 league appearances before a short spell at Exeter and then ending his career in non-league.

"I was an apprentice at Bournemouth when my dad was there as manager and he perhaps gave me a chance when others wouldn't," reflected Kevin this week.

"I was a late developer and so small in those days, barely five foot five and eight and a half stone dripping wet!

"I could hardly get near the youth team, let alone the reserve team or the first team, but I did my apprenticeship and enjoyed a couple of years there.

"Once my dad left and went to Norwich, Bournemouth were happy for me to go with him, so he took me to Norwich, showed a lot of faith in me and I gradually filled out, played regularly and repaid the faith he showed in me."

Kevin followed in his father's footsteps by taking the managerial reins at Dean Court in 2006. Faced with a 10-point deduction, he almost kept the Cherries in League One in 2007-08. He then left to hook up again with Harry at Spurs.

"I'm very familiar with the place and it's a really, really good club with a lovely stadium," added Kevin.

"They've had their troubles financially and I'm sure the likes of us going down there for a pre-season friendly will help them enormously.

"It's always good to go down there, bump into some old faces and I think they will do well again next season. They have some good players and play some great football."