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Do Bournemouth Actually Have Any True Football Rivals? Here’s the Reality

Do Bournemouth Actually Have Any True Football Rivals? Here’s the Reality

In the game of football, rivalry plays a huge role. Rivalry can be there between two teams under more than one condition. It can either be between clubs that share a rich history of matches, teams who are from the same locality, or teams who have some socioeconomic or sociocultural struggle between themselves can be rivals. The rivalry between teams from the same locality is called a ‘Derby’. 

England is a land of diversities and a rich history of football, therefore there are many historical rivalries in the country. Some of the most well-known are the Manchester Derby between Manchester United and Manchester City, The North London derby between Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur, and the Merseyside derby between Liverpool and Everton. Actually, one has to work really hard to find a club that does not have a rival. 

However, an X user has raised a very potent question on the platform which has left the fans of the English game open maps, turning the pages of history, and scouring through the internet for answers, without much success.

The question is, does Bournemouth have a rival in the game? No, the question does not imply that Bournemouth are unrivaled (the fans would love to say that though) but there are actually very few teams who can be called rivals of the club.

Their club chant, “We hate Brighton and Hove Albion, we hate Reading too (they’re s**t). We hate Pompey and Scummers but Bournemouth we love you,” often sung at games to the tune of Land of Hope and Glory, identifies Brighton, Watford, Portsmouth and Reading as their rivals. However, closer inspection shows that none of them are actually rivals of the club.

Watford, according to most of the current fans, has the most claim to fame as their history is similar. The two clubs have been ‘yoyoing’ between the PL and Championship, increasing their rivalry. However, the two clubs are separated by close to 108 miles in the southern half of the country. Therefore their ‘rivalry’ is something that any two clubs can have between them. 

The same logic applies to the argument of Bournemouth’s rivalry with Reading. Reading is currently 17th in the third tier of English football. Not even the most optimistic of Reading’s fans would identify Bournemouth as their rival at the moment. The fact that the teams are 80 miles apart is also another argument. However, in most of their chants, Reading has been identified as the most prominent of rivals.

On the other hand, Portsmouth have secured a promotion from third tier to the Championship but they have faced the Cherries only 21 times in their history. Their last face-off was in 2016 and they have never faced each other in the Premier League. How Pompey made it to the list of teams in the chant is anybody’s guess. 

Of all the teams, only Brighton and Hove Albion is the only team that plays in the same league as Bournemouth. However, historically, apart from the usual competitiveness during matches, the two clubs have seldom shown any animosity toward each other. 

Bournemouth, it seems, does not have any particular rivalry with any of the clubs either in the Premier League or in the lower leagues of the pyramid. The lack of a club in the area has also contributed to the issue. Till there is another club in the neighborhood that will contest the Cherries for supremacy, the fans would have to import the rivals to write songs.