Saints V Bournemouth It's Just About Football !
Friday, 26th Apr 2019 09:21
Here it is again the New Forest Derby as some have called it or perhaps the Non Event Derby as others have cruelly dubbed it, but why is that the case ?
Saints have never seen Bournemouth as rivals having spent so little time in the same division over the year up until the last decade, the real hatred is eastwards for us, where with Pompey it's not just about a game of football it's about everything in life, it is as much cultural as football, neither side needed to be in the same division to have a hatred.
With Bournemouth it has always been different, the two area's are much different culturally, whereas Southampton has always been a gritty working City with it's docks and industry, Bournemouth is a seaside resort and although it has it's areas with a rough edge in the main it has a reputation for sun, sand, ice cream and retirement.
That has meant there has been no culture clash with Southampton, Sotonian's have seen Bournemouth as a place to spend some leisure time, a pleasant place to walk around rather as rivals of any sort.
It could be said that other club's have multiple derby games, certainly in London there are teams who would consider they have more than one rival and in the Midlands as well, even in the North West but in the main the teams in question have played each other a lot and that rivalry has grown, but it should be noted that although there is this multiple rivalry culture, certain teams restrict their hatred to just a closed shop of two, Spurs might hate Chelsea and consider them a rival, but there is only one real enemy.
Our rivalry with Portsmouth though has stayed a closed shop, we have never looked West to Bournemouth with any hatred and they have never tried to big up any real rivalry with Brighton to their East, for us and Pompey there is only one enemy.
Bournemouth though have been left out in the derby stakes geographically, aside from us some 30 miles away across the New Forest they have no one near enough who cares about them, historically Exeter 90 miles to the West have Plymouth to think about and to the North, Bristol don't have them in the radar.
Yeovil in recent years could have seen to be a derby, but with gates of around 6- 8,000 in League One it is hardly stirring up the emotions of the entire population of both towns, indeed in 2007/08 there were only 4,145 at the then Dean Court with 6,150 at Yeovil for the return.
For the best part of 50 years our meetings with the Cherries were restricted to friendly matches at Dean Court, several of which were at short notice as we helped them out in yet another financial crisis, at those games in some there were more Saints fans in attendance answering their pleas in their time of need than Bournemouth fans.
Bournemouth's resurgence coincided with our demise a decade ago and as their fan base grew as they moved into their most prolific period in their history they looked for someone to have some top bantz with, but found few takers in Southampton.
Many Saints fans were pleased to see their success, whereas Pompey's demise was greeted with enthusiasm and gloating, Bournemouth's promotions were applauded at St Mary's.
Here lies the problem with this being a true derby, with respect to Bournemouth fans it does not have any historical or cultural basis, a true derby is about more than just being near each other, hence Liverpool or Everton meeting Tranmere is not a Merseyside Derby, Arsenal fans wish no ill on Barnet, West Ham don't hate Leyton Orient, the Manchester clubs have no beef with Bury or Oldham and Southampton don't hate Bournemouth.
If these games should take place then it is about just one thing and that is football and that for Saints fans at least is all that Saturday's game against Bournemouth is all about,
I am sure this will upset some Bournemouth fans, the majority will just look to their own team, but there is a growing number wanting to make this game something that it will never be in Southampton.
Derby games are built on more than just football they are built on rivalry not geography, they are built on encounters that are memorable with one side sending an invading army to the others stronghold creating a hostile atmosphere with both sets of fans baying for blood, the history books are full of that between us and Portsmouth but that can't happen with Bournemouth when we get an allocation of 1,200, it becomes just another game where only the real hardcore away fans can get tickets and the rest have to sit at home.
For us it is just about a game of football and nothing else !
Photo: Action Images
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