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Why Bournemouth Will Never Be Saints Rivals !
Wednesday, 17th Oct 2018 10:16

Bournemouth fans like to call us Scummers and pretend that it is a local derby, but the truth is to Saints supporters there is one local rivalry and one local rivalry only and that will never change !

When I started to watch Saints as a kid in the early 70's even at 10 I knew that Saints hated Pompey and vice versa, back then it could be said that the rivalry was a lot more one sided, Portsmouth had endured a rather bleak period in their recent history after wining the league barely 20 years earlier and their fans suddenly found themselves staring up at Saints, something they hadn't had to do since the 1920's.

Liking football I popped down to Fratton Park to see a game and was amazed at the level of hatred and songs aimed at Saints, certainly at the Dell at that time there was little mention of Pompey in the repetoire of the Milton Road choir, if there was it was fleeting and not of the verging on obsessional behavior of the Fratton End I witnessed.

Things perhaps changed and became truly nasty in the 1973/74 season when after relegation from the top flight Saints joined the Blue Few back in the Second Division ( Now called the Championship for those under 45)

For two seasons we shared that division and Saints won all four games, in the 4th of those we relegated them to the 3rd Division only a few days after winning the FA Cup semi final in 1976, it was certainly not a good few weeks for Pompey fans back then.

But both the wins off the field and the level of trouble off it stoked up the rivalry and although we didn't play them for another 8 years in a competitive match it simmered.

Around the mid 70's the term Scummer came into the vocabulary, invented by Pompey fans who possibly copied it from another team, certainly their version of it's origin that it stems back to a dock strike in the Victorian era has been discredited with the history books showing that the strike was actually in Southampton and that it was "Blackleg" Portsmouth Dockers who broke the strike and had to be protected by Soldiers, more can be read using the link below

The 70's/80's saw an escalation in hooliganism in football matches, but the hatred between the two Cities was something more than that, it was not just about football it was about everything from tiddlywinks upwards to life itself, unlike say Liverpool or Manchester where both sets of fans lived and worked together, or London derbies where most teams attracted fans from all over the place, this was two neighbouring cities and the lines of demarcation where clearly defined.

For many years Saints fans merely replicated Pompey fans and also referred to them as Scummers, but in the late 1980's The Ugly Inside fanzine recognising the need for something original to refer to our rivals held a competition for a new name and the winner suggested the word "Skates"

In the winning entry he explained that "Skate" was a word used by residents of naval cities for Sailors and that if we referred to them as that they would really hate it, he was right their then fanzines printed articles brimming with indignity, didn't we know that they weren't Skates it was the Royal Navy ?

Of course we knew that but the competition winner even as he sat in the Caribbean enjoying his prize had hit them where it really hurt and that made it even better.

They soon settled down to their new name and now the word skate in Southampton refers to only one thing and it's not anything to do with Strictly Come Dancing On Ice or whatever it's called.

So where do Bournemouth come into this ?

The straight answer is that they don't !

During the period mentioned Bournemouth weren't really on Saints radar, although ironically this season means that in the last half century we will have been in the same league as the Cherries for six seasons, exactly the same number that we have shared a division with Pompey in that period, all have been in the last decade.

But despite Bournemouth's sudden rise to a par with us in the Premier League and indeed to finish above us last season and probably this, you won't find many at this end of the New Forest that actually have too much bad to say about Bournemouth or their fans.

Up until a couple of years ago news of a Bournemouth win over the tannoy at St Mary's would evoke a cheer, not anywhere near as loud as the one that greeted a Pompey loss, but a cheer all the same.

Southampton people just don't look on Bournemouth with the same hatred they view Portsmouth, indeed the opposite it was always seen as a nice place to visit, be it the beach or nightclubs in the town back in the good old days.

On the other hand Bournemouth don't have their own rivals, they are stuck in a little bit of a void, we of course are to the East and we don't care, to the West they have to travel around 90 miles to Exeter to find a football team, but down in Devon they don't care about Bournemouth, Exeter hate Plymouth and vice versa.

To the North Bristol was too far away and had their own derby within the City and didn't need to look elsewhere.

Fifteen years ago Yeovil came to prominence, like Bournemouth they were stuck in limbo, no real local rivals to hate, for a few years it was the nearest the Cherries fans came to local rivalry, but the truth was at 50 miles away there was nothing for either set of fans to get worked up about and although for a decade they would be in the same division for eight seasons, no one got too stoked up about it and both teams went in opposite directions.

But in the last few years Bournemouth have found a new set of fans who are looking for a rival because they see it on Sky TV, up until ar recent as 5 years ago Bournemouth's core support was around the 5,000 mark, that has now doubled with success and indeed could be more if the ground was bigger although it seems the current owners are not very forthcoming about spending money on either a new ground which with the limited area to expand the current site is essential if Bournemouth are to continue to thrive.

This new set of fans are of the Sky generation, they see the big derby games on TV and they want some of it and they can't understand why we are not interested.

Sadly the truth is although some of their behaviour over the years by a minority with a chip on their shoulders about Saints has soured the relationship between the two clubs, they will just never be seen as our rivals, we could never play Portsmouth again, but it will be the game that we will all look forward to happening, we will delight in anything detrimental happening to the City, if Southsea Castle fell down we would have street parties, if The Mary Rose got woodworm we would sing songs about it, if there are roadworks on the M275 we chuckle and they feel exactly the same way about us, we will never get on and it is a rivalry born not just out of football, but existence itself, David Bowie could sing about Life On Mars but not about Life In Portsmouth.

Sorry Bournemouth but we just don't feel the same way about you, no matter how hard you try to manufacture a rivalry, it just isn't there, on Saturday afternoon we will hate you for a short time, but no more than we would hate Newcastle when we play them and I would say a lot less than when we play Liverpool, United of Spurs.

We don't have a term of insult for you, why do you copy Portsmouth in calling us Scummers, its a private thing between us and them, Arsenal don't call us Scummers they use that term for Spurs, Liverpool don't call us Scummers and nor does any other team so why do you !

Hopefully this game will go off without trouble after all it's a game of football nothing else and that's the way we feel about it !

Photo: Action Images

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HythePeer added 11:42 - Oct 17
I think incitement of hatred is a crime, I would consider rewriting this article.

SaintNick added 12:00 - Oct 17
Where is the hatred ?

arthurfane added 12:03 - Oct 17
Bournemouth will never replace Portsmouth as our one true rival. Nonetheless, I think they are now 'a rival' of ours - they became that the moment they stopped being our little neighbour and became a better team than us. I find their obsession with us a little perplexing, but we're kidding ourselves if we don't consider the Cherries a rival of sorts . . .

SaintNick added 12:28 - Oct 17
You could say all Premier Teams are our rivals, but there is a difference between being rivals and rivalry, Bournemouth will be our rivals on Saturday but apart from the odd game we would prefer them to win to improve our own position it doesnt really matter much most of the time.

Whereas with Pompey we will look for their result and feel happy when they lose and hacked off when they win no matter who they are playing in what competition

HythePeer added 12:31 - Oct 17
like Bournemouth they were stuck in limbo, no real local rivals to hate,

on Saturday afternoon we will hate you for a short time, but no more than we would hate Newcastle when we play them and I would say a lot less than when we play Liverpool, United of Spurs.


cocklebreath added 12:57 - Oct 17
I agree with this article although i have been called a scummer by spurs fans on more than one occassion

SaintNick added 13:16 - Oct 17
Hythe Peer, so why is that stirring up hatred, its describing the feeling that football fans have, the rush of adrenalin that you see fans having all the time when watching their team play when for 90 minutes all that matters is your team, you have no rational, you scream abuse at the opposition players and the referee, you dispute every decision feel every tackle on you is a a foul and tha every foul given against you is either a dive or the referee is blind incompetent or both.

Then 99% of us leave the ground and the feeling subsides, we become rational human beings again and actually speak to and congratulate the opposition on their performance.

This is what football has been like since it begun, it stirs up passions, if you have never felt them and you can just sit in the ground and clap and watch passively then in one respect I envy you, but in another i think that you just don't get it and havent got it in you.

Speaking about these passions isnt stirring hatred its describing what most who attend games feel, those that go know

DPeps added 13:26 - Oct 17
My main feeling towards Bournemouth at the moment is envy

HythePeer added 13:39 - Oct 17
I am neither policeman nor judge, I merely give you a "heads up" on the issue. What you feel and what you portray may be different and as a member of the press you have be aware of what you write and its affect on the idiot minority. Your response speaks of passion for the game, this is what you should emphasizing, that is good.
For guidance on the law and other issues which bring the beautiful game into perspective I can recommend this read:

1970 added 15:35 - Oct 17
Unfortunately Bournemouth have been riddled with the blue few some we all know and some that are less familiar from top to bottom, they even changed the name of there song to match the skates ,so what happens when they play each other as they did in a pre-season friendly, they all sang anti saints songs to each other so they are skates in disguise, not all of them but enough to make a noise and be annoying as the 95+ arrested at st marys a couple of years ago show.

saintlee added 17:31 - Oct 17
Good article Nick. I think Hythepeer needs to get out more if he thinks its inciting hatred 😁😁. I for one couldnt care less about Bournemouth except on Saturday when we play them.

leighsaint added 18:39 - Oct 17
I’ve followed Saints since the mid 1940’s back then even though the Skates were in division 1 many people would support both sides. Going 1 week to Farton Park and the next to the Dell. It’s only in the late 60’s did the mental rivery took over. I think more from them as they were dropping and we were improving.

halftimeorange added 19:28 - Oct 17
I think that Bournemouth supporters will get over their psychosis in respect of Saints when they see us playing Portsmouth next season in the Championship. They will surely sneer and turn away.

OhBlox added 21:25 - Oct 17

SanMarco added 10:08 - Oct 18
Good point leighsaint. These 'hatreds' in football were not always there. I think a big element were the social/economic/political changes from the late sixties onwards. I first went in 1967 as a 6 year old and it was only a few years later that grown-ups started to fear for my safety when going to matches. In many ways the Sky dominated corporate monstrosity that football is today derives from all those changes and the atmosphere in a lot of grounds is so dead that the tv boys are perhaps trying to stoke up the 'rivalries' for their own, always mercenary, purposes.

If I were a Bournemouth fan I would value 3 points over manufactured hostility. After all hate-filled local derbies tend to act as levellers and give the inferior team more of a chance than they should have, and most of us fear that the inferior team will not be the Cherries on Saturday...

Manwithnoname added 18:55 - Oct 18
As someone who has been on the receiving end of the term Scummer for many years due to living in close proximaty to that God forsaken place I can add further to the Skate term. Locally in the area ,as previously mentioned, the name Skate was aimed at our serving personell in the Navy. The locals would take great pleasure in going "Skate bashing" on a Friday night. It is these same people who now boast their support of our Armed Services and we only import bananas, and need reminding of their past. The term that they realy detest was "Skate meat" as this referred to someone who was, well lets Rogered by seamen as a sexual relief, something that was undertaken with the Skate fish due to the female reproductive organs being very similar to a womans.

BarnetSaint added 19:48 - Oct 18
I think this subject has been done to death and b mouth are probably as sick of it as we are.
The same old cliches get drawn out, bucket collections, loan of players etc
The only thing which matters right now is on the pitch, and they are much better than us at present and like most Saints fans, i’m not optamistic we’ll get anything there.
But here’s hoping and the only thing i’m clinging on to is we’re playing better away than at hone.

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