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Why this Southampton fan wants Bournemouth to earn Premier League promotion

Fellow South Coasters Bournemouth take on Bolton tonight - a win virtually guarantees them Premier League promotion

Some special-looking Bournemouth tourists visit St. Mary's
Some special-looking Bournemouth tourists visit St. Mary's

Southampton 'rivals' AFC Bournemouth are one win from pretty much sealing their promotion from the Championship to the heady heights of the Premier League for the first time.

The Cherries are a funny bunch. I still recall being a little kid going to matches at St. Mary's and contributing money to the change buckets Bournemouth fans were passing around to help their club stave off financial ruin. Saints regularly held pre-season friendlies with their Dorset neighbours - another attempt to help the considerably smaller club to generate some much-needed funds.

Forgive me for my youthful ignorance, but I always assumed Saints and Bournemouth fans had a pretty decent relationship as a result of that. However, when the Cherries were promoted to League One from League Two, a lot of Bournemouth bitterness came to the fore.

Bournemouth fans proving how much it means for them to play at St. Mary's.

I get it. It turns out a lot of Bournemouth fans accuse Southampton fans of being the arrogant older brother, whose condescending comments have antagonised the support of Eddie Howe's men for years. On a smaller note, there's a lot of resentment towards the Saints borne out of many Southampton fans coming from the Bournemouth area.

This article may not help with the above condescending comment. I don't want to patronise the Cherries nor their fans, but they certainly don't help themselves. Calling themselves "Bompey" (a Bournemouth take on proper Southampton rivals Portsmouth's nickname) a few years ago, while also calling Saints fans "Scummers" - again, a term used by our blue rivals in Hampshire.

This rivalry Bournemouth fans are trying to create all seems a bit manufactured on their part. And that is one reason why I have no problem with Eddie Howe's men earning promotion tonight.

So here is why: the addition of Bournemouth to the Premier League means Saints have a guaranteed six points to help us towards our push for European football. It also raises a little local interest with Bournemouth being able to attempt at beating their "hated" rivals, despite Saints fans not caring about the other: let's face it, Portsmouth aren't going to be playing any league football with us any time soon as they struggle for League Two survival year in, year out.

On a side note, Bournemouth do play some fantastic attacking football and will have earned their Championship promotion playing football the right way - and that is something I will always respect, no matter what club it is.

But, that mini South Coast derby feel is the main reason why I want our little brother from Dorset to earn their spot in the big time. The thought of Portsmouth fans watching on from afar as Southampton - Bournemouth becomes the media's South Coast derby fills me with joy.

Good luck tonight, Bournemouth. You have earned your chance at fighting it out in the Premier League. Just expect to get beat when your noisy neighbours from Hampshire roll into town.