Saturday August 22nd, 2015, will be a day that goes down in the history of AFC Bournemouth forever as the Cherries got their first ever win in the top flight by beating West Ham 4-3 t Upton Park.
It was also a day that Callum Wilson will remember forever as the former Coventry man inspired his side with a hat-trick. Hard to believe then that three and a half years ago, he was playing Non League football for Tamworth.
Born in Coventry, Wilson is a proud Coventry City fan. No big surprise then he was over the moon, when he made his debut as only a young 17-year-old. The 6,000 fans in attendance cheered on the youngster at the famous Ricoh Arena in a League Cup game against Hartlepool. He nearly made the dream start as well, but just missed from inside the 18-yard area.
From then onwards, it was clear the Sky Blues had a prospect that they needed to secure the signature of. It only made sense then to get him on professional terms and that’s exactly what they did.
Now the aspiration: to make his league debut. That moment came in December 2010. The only downside: a 2-0 defeat at the hands of QPR.
Despite the odd Championship appearance, he had to develop his career by playing week in week out. At the turn of the year he got the chance. Three months at the back end of the 2010-11 season was beneficial to the youngster as he got the chance to play Conference football at Kettering. The following season he spent time at Tamworth. Despite only making three appearances, he did get a goal, showing his ability to hit the back of the net
Now he had impressed enough to make an impact in the Football League, the 2013-14 season was a defining term in his career. After just 11 games, he had scored 10 goals. His partnership with fellow striker Leon Clarke was inspirational in him being the club’s Player of the Year and also making it into the PFA League One Team of the Year. Other accolades included Players’ Player of The Year and also the League One Player of the Month in March.
So where next? Stay in League One or escalate to the league above? The chance came in unlikely circumstances. AFC Bournemouth were the team who had presented the opportunity – a club that had a satisfactory season before, securing their second-tier status after promotion the previous year.
Three-million pounds was the compensation fee that left the Sky Blues in disarray. It left AFC Bournemouth fans feeling excited and thrilled at the prospect of what was to come. But just how would he respond to the Championship? Would he hide away? Or would he thrive?
It was most certainly be the latter. Twenty league goals propelled him into the nation’s attention and AFC Bournemouth to the top flight football of English football for the first time in their history.
A winner in the Capital One Cup against West Brom in the fourth round was the highlight in domestic cup competitions. He was the only Cherry to score in all three competitions they were participating in.
Now the aspiration for this youngster is to make an impact around the world’s elite. A hat-trick at the weekend attract the attention of millions, as he tries to propel his career to the next level. Roy Hodgson will be keeping a close eye on the 23-year-old.