Saints & Cherries The History
Thursday, 30th Sep 2010 10:01
Saint V Bournemouth all the facts on the local derby that doesnt exist !
In Saints fans minds their is no other local rivalry than the one with our neighbours at the eastern end of the M27, I mean of course the blue few or Portsmouth as the footballing world know them.
Saints of course are the grand old lady of the central south coast being formed in 1885, far earlier than Pompey, mere whippersnappers from 1898 and of course AFC Bournemouth from 1899, even back then though Boscombe as they were originally known cast envious glances east and chose red & white stripes as their colours, a decision that saw some of their own supporters assaulted at a match in their centenary year for wearing the centenary shirt brought out and being mistaken by some morons as wearing Saints shirts.
In fact the most senior club in the Bournemouth area is Bournemouth FC itself who are still in existence today.
For many years Boscombe were a junior club and athough they were steadily building our paths never crossed before World War 1 and our rivalry with pompey was now well and truly in motion. In 1920 as we joined the football league along with Pompey, the Cherries were one of the clubs who rose into the Southern League to replace all the clubs departed.
In 1923 Bournemouth & Boscombe Athletic as they were now called moved into the football league division 3, but they were too late to meet us as we were already up in Division 2, were we would stay until relegation in 1953 to join them in Division 3 South.
But spookily enough as in this season, the league fixture would not be the first time the clubs would meet as in the first round of the FA Cup they were drawn to visit the Dell were 22,102 saw a 1-1 draw, the replay four days later ended in a 3-1 defeat for us and we looked to the league for revenge.
Thus the first league meeting between the clubs came at Dean Court on Xmas day 1953 when they won 3-1 in front of 11,900 including a large contingent from Saints, a day later and revenge was taken with a 2-1 win at the Dell with 18,493.
This decade saw seven straight seasons with both teams in the same division, indeed the only league meetings between the sides, during that time the Cherries did finish above us twice, but out of the 14 league games played, Saints won 7, Bournemouth 4 and 3 were drawn.
The last league clash between the two clubs was on April 23rd 1960 at Dean Court and Saints were already assured of promotion but not the league title and thousands of Saints supporters made the short trip to swell the crowd to 21,657 and witness a 3-1 win that put the title within grasp.
It would be over 27 years before the two teams would meet again in a competitive match as Saints travelled to a two legged Milk Cup game, the 1-0 win for the Cherries standing them in good stead for the return at the Dell when they held out for a 2-2 draw to go through.
In the time inbetween then and now we have never met in a competitive game, however we have regularly gone along for friendlies, often without charge and to put money into their coffers when they have been sstrapped for cash and often at short notice, but although many of their supporrters have appreciated this, others seem to have chips on their shoulders and they act like the little brother jealous of his succesful older sibling and desperate to show his parents that he is the one worthy of affection.
In contrast Saints supporters have always seemed to have a soft spot for AFCB, the announcement of a Bournemouth win after Saints game has usually raised a cheer prior to this season and we have happily gone along to all those friendlies and put money into their coffers.
However the relationship was soured slightly a decade or so ago in 1998 when a minutes silence for the Southampton Mayor Michael Andrews who had been killed in a plane crash the previous day was ruined by a minority of Cherries fans who chanted abuse though it.
So why is this derby so one sided ? well from a Saints perspective it is because our rivalry has always been with Pompey and has been since the turn of the 19th century, whereas as i documented, we didnt meet Boscombe to the mid 50's, there quite simply hasnt been room for two rivalrys we are quite happy with the one we have got.
From their point of view, firstly they dont have another local rival, to the west the next team along is Exeter and the Grecians are more bothered about Plymouth and to a lesser extent Torquay, to the north up until the last ten years there has been no one till you reach Bristol and they obviously arent interested up there, in recent times they have played Yeovil and this has offered possibilities of a rivalry, but for the most part they cast envious eyes towards us.
Secondly Saints draw a fair amount of support from the Bournemouth area and this must be as gallin to a Bournemouth fan as when we see a Chelsea shirt in West Quay, they will of course feel that these people should be supporting their local team.
Thirdly they feel patronised, put simply we are not interested and metaphorically speaking we pat them on the head, ruffle their hair and give them a fiver to go to the pictures ( or at least a little bit more whenever they have a decent player) so they do perhaps have a point. We are simply not interested in them as enemies, and there is nothing worse than being ignored.
In their heart of hearts they know that they are never going to be as big as Saints, but that wont stop them trying, in short though Southampton is a footballing town, steeped with a history in the game and a supporter base to match, whereas in all honesty Bournemouth is not, thats hardly our fault, but a sizable chunk of their fans lay the blame at our feet.
However times have changed and they now sit above us on merit and we Saints fans have to bite our tongues accept it and hope that come the end of the season the talking will have been done on the pitch.
AFC Bournemouth will never be our true rivals and will never rival Pompey for that crown, however it will be fun crossing swords with them in the league for what for most Saints supporters will be the first time, good luck to the Cherries overall, enjoy your success, you have waited a long time and gone through some tough periods to get here, so dont spoil it for yourselves by letting vitriol at Saints mar it.
Photo: Action Images
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