Chris Latchem: ‘sorry Mackems – including my boss – but you had it coming’


NB: this appears slightly out of sequence ahead of Pete Sixsmith’s report from the Riverside, where the poor man witnessed yet another winless, goalless night for Sunderland.

In the Latchem family, brotherly love means supporting AFC Bournemouth, a tiny club compared with our own but – passion and size of fan base apart – much more deserving of staying in the Premier League. We’ve had husband-and-wife Who are You? interviewees (Everton) but not, until now, two siblings. Step forward Chris Latchem*, one half of the Latchem media duo; he works for 5Live, Tom for TalkSport. Here, Chris comes up with answers as interesting as those of his brother back in the autumn of last year just before we actually recorded our first win of the season …

Salut! Sunderland: high and lows for Bournemouth this season but, inconceivable events excluded, you’re destined for another Premier League season. Has it gone pretty much to expectation?

Chris Latchem: It does look like Bournemouth are set for another season in the top flight which therefore has to go down as another wonderful season for Eddie Howe and the team.

I’m a bit of a footballing pessimist so I assumed we’d have a dogged battle against relegation. But for a few bleak weeks, that’s not really been the case.

There have been joyous highs, including a startling 4-3 comeback victory over Liverpool and taking a crazy point off Manchester United at Old Trafford. But playing the second string in the FA Cup third round defeat to Millwall was a real low.

Chris Latchem: ‘small is good’

Arter’s obviously a gem but who else has done well – and who should be doing better or cannot?

Josh King is developing into a brilliant Premier League forward and must be considered among the best players to ever wear the shirt. His hat trick against West Ham will live long in the memory… Especially considering he missed a penalty!

Defender Steve Cook is another who has adapted brilliantly to top flight football.

I am a little worried that as time passes, the club may outgrow or buy bigger than our lower league alumni. That would be a sad day

Is there room at the top for a small club? Do you desperately need a bigger ground or capacity, an injection of serious cash or are you happy as things are?

With the TV money sloshing around now I don’t think any Premier League club needs help to balance the books.

Bournemouth are keen to build a new ground because with success comes growth. But also with that comes an unhealthy expectancy.

I’d sooner stick with the small ground and the old supporters that followed the club when we were rubbish.

I don’t expect the club to be in the top flight forever, but I do appreciate there is fun to be had in the leagues below. I’ll enjoy it while it lasts!

Who are the best Bournemouth players you’ve seen in the club’s colours?

It’s an interesting question because as we’ve progressed up the leagues the ability increases but the wow factor diminishes.

Darren Anderton did sublime things in Leagues One and Two, Matt Ritchie was unbelievable in the Championship and Callum Wilson was a joy to watch before his two knee injuries.

But watching Jermain Defoe on his record breaking goal run as a teenage loanee will stay with me forever.

Jermain: a star for both clubs

And who deserved to be allowed nowhere near the colours?

I’ve known our assistant coach Jason Tindall for years and he’s a top man, but I had heart palpitations when he was included on the bench against Dagenham a few years back.

Late in the game, Jase was summoned after injury. He silenced all doubt after an injury time punt up field was picked up by Mark Molesley on the right. He skinned two men and scored one of the best Bournemouth goals I’ve ever seen.

That was the moment we knew we wouldn’t be relegated from the Football League.

We should still have Tindall on the bench!

And your best and worst moments of following the Cherries …

My worst moment was watching Bournemouth relegated from League One at Carlisle when I was working as a reporter for BBC Solent. I was in with the Bournemouth fans getting some colour reaction and interviewed my dad about his feelings on the final whistle. He cried.

The best moment was West Ham away last season. I was working in Manchester that morning – slacked off early and somehow wangled my way onto an earlier-than-booked train.

I then raced across town, arrived just before kick off, and watched us win 4-3 in glorious sunshine. It was our first top flight win and Callum Wilson scored a hatrick. I’ll love him forever

Did you see our problems coming after the previous narrow escapes, or did you feel Moyes could do better when he took over post-Big Sam?

Without twisting the knife I’m surprised Sunderland have lasted so long. Sam Allardyce did a wonderful job last year but that was just papering over crevices.

Moyes has looked a beaten man since day one but he’s not been helped.

My concern would be that once you do go down – things won’t get better for some time

Any other thoughts on Sunderland: the club, the fans, the city and region? Do you think Defoe might return on a free assuming we’re down and you’re not?

My boss is a Sunderland fan so we often talk about the problems at the club.

I think you’d be better off relegated, win some games and get some positivity flowing back through the Stadium of Light. Season after season of defeats is not the way to attract and retain younger fans.

As I said earlier, being in the Premier League isn’t the be all and end all.

It would be great to have Defoe back at Dean Court for a year and give him a chance of going to the Euros but I think he’ll want too much money.

He is a great professional and even better bloke.

Diving: let’s stop caring as everyone’s at it (along with feigning injury, imaginary card-waving and other forms of cheating – or do we still try to stamp it out?

Jake: ‘check out this season’s previous Who are You? interviews at http://salutsunderland.com/category/who-are-you/

* Chris Latchem on himself: I’m one half of the AFCB Media Mafia. I’m a Lifelong Cherries fan and BBC Sport presenter. You’ll hear me on Radio 5Live

Interview: Colin Randall

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Salut! Sunderland is written, illustrated and edited by - and principally for - supporters of Sunderland AFC. The site aims to be sufficiently literate and entertaining to appeal to people who do not follow SAFC but enjoy good football writing.

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