There are some rivalries in the Premier League that date back hundreds of years.
There’s the Manchester derby between United and City, and the North London derby between Arsenal and Tottenham.
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But this year, there is a new derby in England’s top flight, pitting Southampton against Bournemouth.
The two clubs are just 30 miles apart on England’s South Coast, separated by The New Forest. They face-off this Sunday at St. Mary’s Stadium, in the first Premier League installment of “The New Forest derby.”
In general, Bournemouth has always been viewed as somewhat of a feeder club to Southampton. In the past, some of Saints’ most talented youngsters from their famed academy have gone out on loan to the Cherries to gain experience – see Adam Lallana, Andrew Surman and countless others – while Bournemouth were ensconced in the third or fourth tier of English soccer and seemingly a million miles away from a Southampton side who were in the top-flight from 1978 until their demotion to the second-tier in 2005. During that 27-year period, only Portsmouth challenged Southampton’s supremacy on the South Coast, so due to that fact — plus Portsmouth being just 17 miles east of Southampton — that rivalry is known as the “South Coast derby” and will always be the main rivalry down by the English Channel. There is no comparison, at least not in the eyes of Saints fans.
And yet, could this newfound rivalry flourish in years to come?
Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth has been riddled with injuries in the club’s first season in the Premier League, currently sitting just two points above the relegation zone. However, a win against their new South Coast rivals could help the club get back on track.