Southampton: European Capital of Culture

And in the blue corner…
April 4, 2008, 11:08 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , ,

Southampton residents are a long suffering bunch, and have learnt the hard way that simply putting up with things – in many cases – is the only way to remain sane.

The constant failure by the Council to bring the city truly world class facilities that have been promised, the lack of worthy recognition for the city’s heritage – and especially maritime past, the fact they’ve had to watch neighbours Portsmouth develop their waterfront into a truly stunning area for shoppers, residents and visitors alike, while Southampton’s remains largely sealed off to the public amidst a sea of containers and derelict buildings…

The list goes on.

For quite a while…

There are many things that the residents of our city may tolerate, may grudgingly put up with – but the following quotes are unlikely to be one of those…

“Now city councillors have launched a bid to join their number and make Southampton a European Capital of Culture – with the help of Portsmouth.

… Southampton would have to put aside its historic rivalry with Portsmouth to come up with a “joint and complementary offer” across south Hampshire.

Councillor Terry Hall, Portsmouth city council’s executive member for culture and leisure said he was “fully behind” the move for a joint bid.

“We are already working together on a range of initiatives and it makes perfect sense for us to combine our energies and talents,” he said.”

“With our long background of heritage and history, the two cities can offer a region of culture’ – and a wonderful way to promote our south Hampshire tourism and economy.”

True love?

Oh yes, not able to take our great stride to European glory on our own, we need a little help, and conveniently our pals down the road are happy to oblige.

Sorry, what?!

Portsmouth and Southampton working together? Are they serious?

Now before you start “oh it’s only a stupid football rivalry”, quite simply: it’s not.

As testifies:

Southampton and Portsmouth are separated by hundreds of years of inter-city conflict. The bad feeling between the clubs, who have met relatively few times, is a reflection of history. From the twelfth century onwards until 1835, Southampton officially owned the port of Portsmouth, which led to constant disputes over who controlled trade in the docks. Therefore the animosity between the two cities is one that stretches back for almost 800 years. The ill-feeling between Southampton and Portsmouth stems more from civic rivalry than from any true animosity between the clubs.

It’s true this is an inter-city rivalry of higher ferocity than most.

Many point to the 1930s dockyard strike as a key moment in the hatred between the two cities reaching new heights, but in all honesty it’s unlikely to have had much impact, if indeed it happened at all – bar creating a good story to explain nicknames.

Fans of both clubs happily went to watch the other team if theirs happened to be playing away that weekend, a habit that lasted – in many cases – up until the 1970s.

However, scenes such as those witnessed after the 2004 Pompey v Saints game at Fratton Park make it clear those days are long gone. With Pompey “fans” stopping their Saints counterparts leaving the stadium, then hurling stones and any items they could get their hands on at the police, other fans – they even turned on innocent local residents.

Things get ugly...

With 95 convictions, the riots remain the highest amount of convictions given in any football related incident.

Although the hatred between the two may only emerge as vociferously as this during football confrontations make no mistake – it runs deep.

A Southampton/Portsmouth dream-team?

Don’t count on it.




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