Saints v Cherries – A growing rivalry
When you think of Premier League derbies Southampton v Bournemouth is perhaps not the first that springs to mind, but it is a growing rivalry.
Just 28 miles separates Southampton’s St Mary’s Stadium and the Vitality Stadium where Bournemouth play their home games, but despite being south coast neighbours, their paths have not crossed many times until recently.
Indeed, between 1960 and 2010 the two sides never met in a league match, with the Saints instead enjoying a healthy derby with their traditional rivals Portsmouth, while for much of those 50 years it seemed more likely the Cherries would be playing Havant & Waterlooville in a league derby rather than their more illustrious neighbours.
The two teams eventually crossed paths in the EFL once again during the 2010-11 season when Southampton were enduring their second successive campaign in League One and Bournemouth had just earned promotion from the fourth tier.
The Saints won both meetings between the pair by an aggregate score of 5-1 and when they earned promotion back to the Championship at the end of that season, it was expected to be another long wait before the two sides would face each other in the league once again.
However, just four years later and the two teams were back on a level playing field, this time in the Premier League after Bournemouth’s promotion to the top-flight in 2015 followed Southampton’s rise three years earlier.
Both teams have remained in the top-tier ever since and they have locked horns eight times during the intervening period with Southampton, byand large, keeping their near neighbours in check, as they have won three and lost just one of those clashes.
The two teams will meet for a ninth time in the top-flight on Friday at St Mary’s and they are both locked together on seven points from their opening five games so far this term.
It is a testament to how far Bournemouth have come that many people would not be able to predict the outcome of Friday’s match and despite Southampton having the better of the head-to-head meetings between the two sides in the Premier League, the Cherries have actually finished above their rivals in each of the last two seasons.
Indeed, both sides would ideally like to be battling it out for a top-10 finish this term, while it is also feasible that they could be scrapping against each other for survival.
Either way, this blossoming derby has been a mainstay of the Premier League for the last five years and it is certainly a fixture that supporters of both Southampton and Bournemouth look out for with relish every season.
Tom McGarry completed his sports journalist degree in 2011,and has since has become an integral part of the editorial and audio team. He is passionate about all things sport, particularly football, and is a lifelong supporter of his hometown club Carlisle United.