Sunday, April 16, 2006


Local Derbies

I must admit most local derbies leave me cold. I have no interest in the Merseyside derby, likewise the Manchester one usually has been tied up elsewhere. Obviously the North London Derby is the one that counts for me but I do have a soft spot for the Second City Derby.

Birmingham against Aston Villa has all the ingredients for a quality derby match and while the neutral, whoever or whatever they might be might poo poo it as a local derby in a city famous once for Britain's car industry, ask your dads kids, I love it. I don't care who wins it, I just love the passion, the intensity, the rivalry, the things that us older bods associate with a derby match.

Maybe it's the crowds there. People go because they genuinely support their team and genuinely hate the other buggers! Old Trafford, Highbury and Anfield have become too sterile , too sanitised for this passion and vitriol and anyway the Japanese tourists who can always get tickets don't understand it. Good. The Brum derby attracts the same fans its always attracted, people with funny accents who don't have long drives home, who shop and drink with the 'other lot' on a regular basis to whom this game means something.

Another factor could be exposure. Liverpool and Everton has been on TV more often than Larry King and every game gets the same old boring cliches dragged out. Villa or Birmingham are only ever shown when they play one of the big three clubs, which of course doesn't include Chelsea. In fact you may notice Chelsea are missing from the list of English derbies. Well playing Fulham or QPR doesn't quite have the same ring to it. Chelsea are so manufactured, like a boy band, they need to invent their rivalries as they go, lacking any real tradition you see. For certain fans the big one was West Ham...

Probably the only other derbies that would hold my interest today would be the Sheffield one between United and Wednesday and the Bristol one between City and Rovers and the reasons would be the same as the Brum derby. Pride, passion, tension, hatred...

A few months back Jakarta visited Tangerang and were given a right spanking off the pitch. On it the game was as feeble as any others in this league! This coming weekend sees the return fixture at Lebuk Bulus. It's not an inter city derby as the above, that would be Jakarta against Jakarta North (who play bloody miles away and are the Orient of Indonesian football, no one can hate them) but they are close neighbours but whether the feeling is shared by the players is something I doubt

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