League Insider - Bournemouth
Rob Parrish looks at the strange events at Bournemouth in the latest installment of our weekly feature.
Last Updated: September 26, 2011 12:36pm
Bournemouth chairman Eddie Mitchell has been doing his best to gloss over the astonishing scenes which took place in the wake of the Cherries' home defeat by Chesterfield on Saturday.
Mitchell has become an unwitting internet sensation and dragged his club into the headlines for all the wrong reasons after striding onto the field after their 3-0 reverse and remonstrating with the Dean Court supporters.
If that was not bad enough, Mitchell then had to be ushered away from the confrontation he instigated by club stewards, before grabbing a microphone just as he looked to be heading for the sanctuary of the tunnel and continuing the unsightly scenes.
Quite what Mitchell was hoping to achieve is unclear. There have been inevitable comparisons to Delia Smith's infamous "Where are you? Let's be having you!" outburst on the field at Carrow Road back in 2005, but while the clearly emotional Canaries director was attempting to rally supporters, Mitchell's misguided actions were much less of the cheerleader.
No matter how frustrated the Cherries supremo has become with recent criticism levelled at him, there can be no excuse for behaviour utterly unbefitting of a person in his position of power. Had any supporters made it onto the field and acted in such a way, a ban from the ground would inevitably have followed.
And little more than a week ago Mitchell responded to comments from supporters at a fans' forum with this ill-advised response: "The club has to be built from the bottom upwards, that is how I am going to build it. If you don't like it go and support Southampton."
"I don't see any reason why I can't talk to the fans, whether it is after a defeat or after a win."
Eddie Mitchell Quotes of the week
An attempt to make peace for that comment followed prior to the Chesterfield game, but the scenes afterwards, for which a much more fulsome and unreserved apology was required, have not elicited the required response.
Not done anything wrong
And in an interview with Sky Sports News on Sunday evening, Mitchell was anything but reticent when given the platform to explain his behaviour.
He said: "I have put a lot of work into the club and a lot of time and I don't see anything strange about it (going onto the pitch).
"I don't see any reason why I can't talk to the fans, whether it is after a defeat or after a win.
"I've not done anything wrong. The team didn't win and we were all disappointed. You've got to remember I'm a supporter as well and I don't like losing.
"I walked away because I couldn't get my point across. I don't think it is strange at all. It is my responsibility to look after the club. I went down there to give support, I didn't go down there for a confrontation. But I'm not going to shy away from things.
"I stand by what I do, I've not done anything wrong."
As a member of the consortium which helped bring the South Coast club back from the brink in 2009 when they fell into administration, Mitchell may feel that he should be afforded greater goodwill and patience from the Cherries faithful, but ugly and unprovoked confrontations such as he instigated on Saturday will only push an already strained relationship to breaking point.