Win Dedicated To Ex-Groundsman: Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe dedicated the club’s win over Stoke to long-serving club stalwart John Harriss who passed away last month at the age of 88.
A minute’s applause was held in memory of John, who joined the club staff in 1970 and became head groundsman and then referee liaison officer.
Ex-Cherries bosses Harry Redknapp and Sean O’Driscoll, together with a host of former players, joined mourners at his funeral at a packed Bournemouth Crematorium on Tuesday.
His wife Deirdre, son Shaun, daughter Nicky and grandchildren Rich, Rachael and Clare were guests of the club at Vitality Stadium on Saturday.
John, who spent 37 years tending the pitch at Dean Court, died at home just hours after watching on television as Cherries toppled Premier League big guns Arsenal on January 14.
Howe told the Daily Echo: “The minute’s applause was very emotional for me because immediately you think of John and all the memories come flooding back.
“Every week, without fail, he was there by our side, cheering on the team and always knowing what to say whether you had won, drawn or lost. His outlook and reaction to me personally never changed.
“Then, you go back to the days when you were an apprentice and trying to make your way in the game. You look for people to support and help you and he was one of the people who did. I have never forgotten that and never will.
“He has an incredible family and it was really nice to share this moment with them. I saw them during the week and we spoke about stories of John and shared memories with them.”
Perhaps fittingly, the Harriss family looked on as Cherries wrote another chapter in the club’s record books by extending to seven games their unbeaten run in the Premier League.
And like most of John’s 79-year association with the club, it was eventful as Cherries mounted a stirring second-half comeback to take the points.
Goals from substitutes Joshua King and Lys Mousset cancelled out Xherdan Shaqiri’s early opener as victory saw Cherries climb to ninth place in the table.
Discussing the game, Howe said: “Mentally, it was a big challenge for the players. We beat Chelsea on Wednesday and then played again on Saturday.
“After the high of Chelsea, we didn’t start well and it is not easy to respond in the right way. But we have a really good feel about the group at the moment.
“There is a good team spirit and a lot of quality. That was highlighted by the fact the two substitutes came on and made such an impact.
“Would we have come back earlier in the season? – I’m not so sure.
“But the fact we are in the middle of this run and producing performances, you have it in the back of your mind that you can.
“It is reminiscent of times gone by when we have had the spirit to come back from losing positions and that is a great quality to have. We have done it a lot in this run and the challenge for me is to maintain and harness that and try to improve it if we can.”
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