When conversations turn round to local derbies, the most common thoughts are of the likes of Everton-Liverpool, Manchester United-Manchester City, Tottenham-Arsenal, Rangers-Celtic, Newcastle-Sunderland....etc
If you live towards the central south coast then Southampton-Portsmouth can also be added to the list but, prior to this season, there aren’t many for whom Southampton-Bournemouth would trip off the tongue.
Saturday sees the second round of the new found Hampshire-Dorset rivalry in what will be considered a much more important encounter than August’s League Cup meeting which resulted in a 2-0 home win for the Saints.
Apart from the obvious reason of not having the opportunity to play even irregular league matches between the two clubs, the lack of that fierce local rivalry between clubs just 31 miles apart appears to be, at least in some part, to a Southampton view similar to one that an older and younger brother have.
Most Saints supporters are pleased for the Cherries when they’re doing well and wish them better during tough times. I am sure that many would be delighted if they carried on their excellent opening to the season and then achieved promotion in May (as long as Southampton joined them of course!).
That feeling has also, apparently, been in place within the club management in the not too distant past with a few gentleman's agreements over player loans and fund-raising friendlies being reported.
The Bournemouth supporters’ view of Southampton appears to be somewhat different and something more akin to the traditional feeling between local rivals.
Interestingly, it appears that much of this is because they do not like being looked upon in a way that a supportive older brother would care about a younger sibling.
Whether League meetings between the two clubs continue during forthcoming seasons will become much clearer by the time they meet again in March but Saturday has all the ingredients of being a mouth-watering encounter.
On current form, albeit with a significantly worse away record than home so far this season, the Cherries should rank as favourites but with 20,000+ Saints fans present, the atmosphere will be hot and the players in red and white will be desperate not to disappoint.
Disclaimer: The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.
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