Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Is it helpful to build more of a rivalry up with the Saints?

The South Coast derby could well become something of a regular fixture. I enjoyed seeing AFCB finally get a result against the Saints in one game last season, but I don't feel that AFCB have made much of an impact on any bragging rights just yet. The Saints might not feel like they have anything to gain by making the matches against AFCB into more of a rivalry, but for the Cherries it would be a positive to make Southampton feel a little uncomfortable that the team on the other side of the New Forest was not a game that they could take for granted in bringing them three points.

While the Saints have a new manager, Claude Puel, and maybe a new outlook on what they want to achieve in the 2016/17 season it would be special to do the double against them. AFCB need to build some momentum in their second Premier League season and if the marker has been set by the home performance we saw at Dean Court against the Saints last time, then the same kind of intensity needs to be found in other games as well. The players certainly raised their game for that match and I am keen to know what helped in achieving that kind of performance. 

I understand that the defeat at St Marys earlier in the season was used as a motivating factor as AFCB played so well in the second half of that match having been all over the place in the first 45 minutes. More importantly, AFCB's players won the return game in March and know what it means to their fans to do well in games against Southampton and this season it will be just as important.

The gap between the two sides though is clearly seen when you view the league positions through the season and the points earned during each month. Excluding the first month of August, the only month when AFCB started to catch the Saints was in December when they closed the points gap between the teams to just four points and in March when there was nine points between the teams. By the end of the season though the gap was a whopping 21 points with Southampton finishing on 63 points and AFCB on 42. It is clear that Southampton have the talent to beat the top teams such as Man City and Spurs as they did in May for a very strong finish to the season. Even in December they bounced back quickly from a draw with Aston Villa, a defeat at Crystal Palace and at home to Spurs, with a win against Arsenal. That kind of resilience is something that AFCB must work harder at next season if they are to stay in touch with clubs like Southampton.

AFCB may have got one win against Southampton but they have a long way to go to build up a meaningful rivalry. Still, AFCB have made a start.

Euro 2016 - Wales must play with passion


  1. The South Coast Derby is Saints vs Pompey. The game with Bournemouth is just another game.

  2. Saints V Bournemouth.... Yes, just another game.

  3. What a patronising comment that is. Portsmouth are in League 2, Bournemouth are with Saints in the Prem. No one in their right mind can say it's just another game. OK fiercest rivalry will always be between Saints and Pompey, but to dismiss Bournemouth so lightly is very likely to come back and bite you.

  4. Like it or loathe it, Pompey will be back one day, so why do Saints need another derby match? I like Bournemouth and wish them well but whatever happens they will never become the great local rival they crave.

  5. Not meant to be patronising but I think Bournemouth fans underestimate how deep the loathing between Saints and Pompey goes. Generally Saints fans view Bournemouth quite favourably and there isn't any animosity or bite to the matches, hence why it's just another game. It will never be the derby Bournemouth want it to be as the underlying hatred just doesn't exist, at least on the Saints side!

  6. Rivalries are two sided and require some form of history, the more acrimonious, the better. From a Saints fans' perspective, neither exist. Sorry, will take a long time to make a rivalry here. Portsmouth are our rivals, whether they play in League 2 or, the Hampshire League.