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When Is A Rivalry Not A Rivalry
Monday, 29th Feb 2016 08:55

That is the question and for Saints it is on the rare occasions when they play AFC Bournemouth in a competitive match.

For Saints both team and supporters the trip down to Dean Court or as it is called now the Vitality Stadium has never been viewed with the same intensity that a fixture against Portsmouth invokes.

The fact is for Saints fans there is only one local rival, it plays in blue, it smells of fish and its 20 miles to the East of us.

Over the years when we have found ourselves playing Bournemouth it has never had the same undercurrent for Saints fans as a game against Pompey.

Some would say that could be because we rarely play Bournemouth in a competitive match, yes that is true, before we shared a division in League One we had met them only in a two legged League Cup tie in the mid 80's in a period spanning half a century.

But in the same period and indeed much longer we barely played Pompey either, yet the hatred stoked up a few notches as the year went on without the distraction of having to meet up on the pitch.

So on the West side of the New Forest at least there is little enthusiasm above and beyond any other fixture when Saints play Bournemouth.

But seemingly Cherries fans hate us with a passion, they are very keen to call us scummers etc and try to force a rivalry where none exists.

It's hard to see why they would want to do this, after all over the years whenever they have had a player wanting a testimonial or they have needed the money due to financial difficulties we have always been first to answer their call and play a friendly down there and bring down a decent following to put much needed money into the wallet of a trusted servant of their club or in their own coffers to keep the creditors at bay.

Yet still they want a hatred and rivalry !

One of the reasons they might despise us so much is that there are a lot of Saints supporters living in and around Bournemouth & Poole and that must be annoying to die hard Bournemouth supporters, I can understand why that would upset them, its bad enough seeing Arsenal or Chelsea shirts on Bournemouth locals, but to see plenty of Saints kits must be even worse.

Most Saints fans though wish Bournemouth well, there is still a cheer when its announced at St Mary's they are leading at half time or have won a game, however that cheer is getting lower in volume by each year as Cherries fans look to stir up a hatred where none exists.

Their problem is that they have no natural local rival, to the East, Exeter, Plymouth & Torquay have their own thing going on, to the West Saints and Pompey have theirs, other than that traditionally there has been no one within shouting distance who sees them as local or rivals.

Yeovil perhaps offered that for a few years but recently both club's have gone in different directions, so that is fast fading and perhaps will never return.

So Bournemouth fans should be careful for what they wish for, the relationship between the two clubs has always been good and it is only a minority of Bournemouth fans who are trying to spoil it, however that minority is growing as a Premier League mentality kicks in.

Perhaps Bournemouth's success won't last, perhaps they will slip back to the Championship and worse, perhaps they will be desperate for our money through the turnstiles again, but if they are not careful perhaps Saints will be less willing to help out in a crisis.

I'm sorry if this article sounds a bit arrogant and patronising, it isn't meant to sound that way, there is just no other way of saying it.

All Saints fans want to see Bournemouth soundly drubbed on Tuesday night, but no more than we want to see us beat most teams, many hope that we will meet them again next season, perhaps we will perhaps we won't !

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schatfield added 09:39 - Feb 29
i didnt realise cherry fans hated us! I always liked the club, given family ties down in the area. Hope we win this week but hope Bournemouth survive too.
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JGH added 10:01 - Feb 29
FYI when looking at a map East is right, West is left.
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TimSaint added 11:28 - Feb 29
Is a rivalry not a rivalry when your so called rivals are 3 divisions lower than you and you realistically won't be playing them for the forseeable future ? Perhaps this is why the media are pushing for this fictitious rivalry, to become a reality ?
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dorsetsaint added 12:16 - Feb 29
Being brought up in & still living in the New Milton/Highcliffe area (1971 to date) it has always been a Saints stronghold. What I have seen happen over the last few years, is those non Saints locals that supported "big clubs" and perhaps had AFCB as their second choice/result to watch for club, have become full time Cherries. As I mentioned in other posts, my Dad took me to watch both teams when I was growing up & it was only when I started work in Southampton that I stopped watching AFCB. Still look for their results though.
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SanMarco added 12:57 - Feb 29
"Yeovil perhaps offered that for a few years but recently both club's have gone in different directions, so that is fast fading and perhaps will never return." Surely a bit like us and Pompey? Real visceral rivalry is not manufactured it just IS. The TV masters of the game will try to stir up rivalry and, of course, those that can't do football without hatred will jump on the bandwagon but basically I cannot feel about Bournemouth the way that I do about Portsmouth.

PS - if Bournemouth stay up for a while are we going to have this debate every time we play them? If so we can also copy our comments ready for later pasting as they wont change.
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SaintBrock added 13:08 - Feb 29
For me Bournemouth are just another small club and always have been even in second and more usually third division days, no different to Brighton or Reading really.
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arthurfane added 20:48 - Feb 29
In my mind the answer is simple: as soon as they pose a realistic threat to us. At the moment Saints fans (myself included) see them as the little neighbour, but if they start beating them on the regular we will start disliking them and from there the rivalry will stem. At the moment it's one way traffic because we are better than them and have been throughout history!
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ChristchurchSaint added 21:16 - Feb 29
Have to agree with arthurfane. I always lived around our wonderful city and supported SFC since 1962. I only became CS in 2009 when I moved here, and have to put up with comments on a day to day basis. Luckily I'm thick skinned and laugh at their ambitions of being on a par with us. Only if they get near our lofty level (which is extremely unlikely!), will I start to dislike them!
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