Club captain Simon Francis has enjoyed eight successful years at Vitality Stadium.Born in Nottingham, Francis was a youth player for both Nottingham Forest and Notts County before moving to Bradford City in 2002. He emerged as a key man at Valley Parade, making 50 starts and scoring his first career goal against Crystal Palace. But in 2003, with the Bantams in severe financial difficulty, Francis moved to Sheffield United in the Championship. There was plenty of competition for places which meant Francis made just 15 starts under Neil Warnock and he was loaned to Grimsby Town and Tranmere Rovers. That alerted Southend United who signed him in 2006 for an undisclosed fee. He was given regular football at Roots Hall, making 180 appearances for the Shrimpers and playing with former Cherries boss Lee Bradbury. When the club were relegated to League Two in 2010, Francis was snapped up by Charlton Athletic. His spell with the Addicks was much like his time with the Blades, where competition for places meant he was not a regular starter. But in 2011, Francis opted to move to Bournemouth on loan with former teammate Bradbury at the helm, before joining permanently in 2012. Since then, Francis has not looked back, becoming instrumental in the club's promotion to the Championship in 2012/2013, winning Players' Player of the Season. In Bournemouth's first season in the second tier of English football since 1990, Francis played all but 45 minutes of the season and then went on to help the side to promotion the following year. Together with teammate Matt Ritchie, he was named in the PFA team of the season. Once in the Premier League, Francis has played both at right-back and centre-back and, in the absence of Tommy Elphick, captained the majority of the club’s first top-flight campaign when he was one of two ever-presents along with Andrew Surman. Francis was appointed captain following Elphick’s departure to Aston Villa and enjoyed another strong campaign as the club’s leader, making 34 starts in the Premier League in 2016/17 when the Cherries registered their highest finish, ninth in the top flight. He again led from the front in 2017/18, making 32 appearances and playing his part as the Cherries secured 12th place. After featuring in 20 games in all competitions in 2018/19 and leading the club to its best start in the Premier League, Francis ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee during the Cherries' defeat by Tottenham on Boxing Day. Before sustaining his injury, Francis had made 304 appearances for the Cherries, scoring three goals.