AFC Bournemouth’s Arrival Gives Southampton FC a South Coast Rival


With yesterday’s victory over Bolton, AFC Bournemouth have clinched promotion to the Premier League. For the first time in the clubs history, the Cherries will play in the top flight of English Football.

While the clubs supporters still have their sights set on winning the Championship title — which would be the first title in Bournemouth history — another club on the South Coast has turned their attention to their new rival.

While no actual rivalry exists between the two sides, this will be the first time in recent history that Southampton will have a fellow club battling alongside them on the South Coast.

More from AFC Bournemouth

While the South Coast Derby between Southampton and Portsmouth is the side’s true rivalry match, this derby is unlikely to occur within the league for many seasons. The earliest a league match between both sides could occur is three seasons from now.

A highly unlikely set of events would have to occur including back-to-back promotions by Portsmouth starting next season as well as the Saints being relegated from the Premier League. The last match between the two sides took place in 2012 in the English Championship.

While Southampton are now competing for a spot in next season’s Europa League, Portsmouth are languishing near the bottom of the League Two table. Without a true league rival, this upcoming league fixture has the ability to quickly explode.

With only 32 miles separating Bournemouth’s Dean Court and Southampton’s St. Mary’s Stadium, this powder keg could be set to erupt like never before. While Southampton FC have jokingly asked Bournemouth following their promotion if we can call it a rivalry, the joking will end next season.

The last time the two sides met in League play was in 2010-2011 when both sides played in the English League One. In fact, the sides have only played three times since 1988. While many Southampton FC supporters will deny that these two sides are actual rivals, the upcoming tension between the two cannot be denied.

More from The Top Flight

Like Southampton, Bournemouth went into administration and fell from grace. While Southampton bottomed out in League One before returning to the Premier League with new owners and a renewed hope, Bournemouth did not.

Days away from liquidation, the side’s supporters raised the money to keep the side playing. While a Russian Billionaire took over as chairman, the sides spending’s have been more in line with that of millionaire.

Engineering a fantastic return, AFC Bournemouth have now won their third promotion in six seasons. With their debut in the Premier League on the horizon, the time has come for a renewal on the South Coast.

While Southampton see themselves as the top club on the South Coast of England, AFC Bournemouth will want to get one over on their neighbors.

With no matches between the sides since 2011 you can’t call this a rivalry. Not yet at least. With at least two matches — hopefully more — to be played starting next season, these two sides have the ability and support to welcome in the new South Coast Derby.

Next: AFC Bournemouth Clinch Promotion