Day: August 15, 2008

A Few Things About Local Derbies

What constitutes a local derby seems, on the face of it, to be a question with a pretty obvious answer. However, if we take a couple of minutes to actually examine it, it becomes more nuanced that you might at first think. Derby matches are usually local, but they don’t necessarily have to be. The rivalry between Brighton and Crystal Palace is thirty-odd years old now, even though the two clubs are over forty miles part and haven’t spent that much of the last three decades in the same division. There is an historical element to it, brought about by the abrasive management styles of Malcolm Allison and Alan Mullery in the mid-1970s. The flame hasn’t been extinguished to this day, and doesn’t take much to spark back to life.The nature of the local derby – or, to be more succinct, the local rivalry – is more complex than that, but it is a critical part of the existence of the football supporter. It taps into the urge that we have within us to define ourselves against something and to measure ourselves against something. It is a barometer for how well or badly is doing. And it is a universal phenomenon within the game. Rivals are often two clubs with more in common than either of them would care to admit. Manchester United supporters, while aware of the importance...

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Biting The Hand That Feeds You

In an era in which it often feels as if too many people within football get too much praise, it sometimes feels as if there are too few people left that could be described as an “unsung hero”. If there is someone that has given selflessly of his time to produce something that is invaluable to football supporters, however, it is Tony Kempster, whose website of non-league statistics is something akin to a bible for those of us that still worship at the altar of the semi-professional game. For years, and for no personal gain, he has toiled to produce the definitive statistical guide to the non-league game. Now, however, he has finally won something that recognises his dedication to the game with the Annual Football Supporters Federation’s Award For Services To Football. He was presented with his award during this evening’s BSP match between his home town team, York City, and Wrexham. The award was accompanied with the following statement: Tony Kempster, who for more than a decade has ran an acclaimed football website from his home in York, has won the annual Services to Supporters award from the Football Supporters’ Federation (FSF). The award is given each year to people who have performed an outstanding service to the benefit of football supporters. Malcolm Clarke, Chair of the FSF, and Jon Keen, Vice-Chair, will today (Thursday 14 August...

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