History will be in the making when the intense Isle of Wight football rivalry between East Cowes Vics and Newport is renewed on December 29.
It will be the first time in nearly 30 years that the two clubs have met in a competitive match at Vics’ Beatrice Avenue ground, and Island bragging rights will be very much at stake as well as three vital points.
Although Newport and Vics met in a Wessex League, Division One game at St George’s Park in August which ended in a 1-1 draw, the clubs have been kept apart over the years due to their respective standings in the game since the 1988-89 season.
Newport reached the dizzy heights of the Southern League some years ago, and although times have been more difficult in recent years, it was only in May, when they were relegated from the Wessex League Premier Division, that they found themselves back at the same level as Vics.
It is a post-Christmas clash that Vics manager Steve Brougham and Newport boss Andy Sampson are both relishing, and hoping it will showcase the sport on the Island, and attract impartial spectators as well as fans to Beatrice Avenue.
Vics recently welcomed former Newport player Kyle Drew, and within the last few weeks Jordan Browne has transferred from Vics to Newport.
Brougham said: “Apart from the fact we will be entertaining Newport for the first time in a very long time, I think everyone likes a good local derby. There’s pride at stake, and I think it will be a tight game. As a player and manager I’ve had many derby games, and there is always that extra edge. I just hope we can put in a good performance and see where it takes us.”
Sampson said: “It is good for Island football to have a local derby. I used to enjoy playing in them, and hopefully this one will create a lot of interest, and result in a decent crowd being there, which would be good for Vics. I’m really looking forward to it, and It should be quite an exciting day.”
Newport FC trust secretary, Peter Westhorpe added: “As a supporter I hope it is a good game of football, nobody gets hurt or sent off with a reasonable sized crowd and a good atmosphere.
“The players all know too much about each other so I expect it to be a tight game without too many surprises.”
East Cowes Vics secretary, Lisa Woodward, said: “We are looking forward to hosting our friends and local rivals to Beatrice Avenue, both teams are sitting mid table with Newport having 2 games in hand.
“Both teams have all to play for and Vics are looking to follow on from our win against New Milton Town on Saturday 22nd where we had a 2-0 victory.
“We hope to see as many supporters at the game as possible and we would also like to wish everyone a happy New Year.”