Day: October 19, 2011

The Sheffield Derby Throws The Sun Into A Tizz

It is a truth universally acknowledged that football matches – and in particular local derbies – can bring out the worst in people. Where, however, is the line in the sand? What is the definition of what acceptable behaviour inside a football ground? This week, we have seen an example of a national newspaper attempting to draw that line, and they ended up looking a little “odd” as a result themselves. This story began on Monday with a humourous photograph collection in The Guardian which appeared on the site on Sunday evening. It was, as many of these pictorial collections are, brilliant, eighteen photographs documenting the hustle and bustle of Bramall Lane before, during and after the weekend’s derby match between Sheffield United and Sheffield Wednesday. A couple of the photographs drew the attention and one in particular, a photograph of two female Sheffield United supporters, one of whom was flicking a V-sign, presumably in the direction of Sheffield Wednesday supporters and/or players. It was a humourous picture, a vignette of the – usually temporary – rage that people submit themselves to for the duration of a football match. The photograph made its way around various social media sites and websites on Sunday night and, that, we might have thought, would be that. This, we may have cause to ponder, is what football supporters do on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon. Many...

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A Celtic Encounter

Every so often events conspire to make us question whether there is indeed some footballing god directing proceedings from, somewhere. After UEFA’s initial decision to remove Swiss club FC Sion from the Europa League, the club they had previously beaten on aggregate in the final playoff round–that club being Celtic FC–were awarded their place in Group I in their stead. Thrown into a rather deep group containing the likes of La Liga’s Atlético Madrid, French representative Stade Rennais, and a Serie A side in Udinese likely of Champions League calibre, it appeared the Scottish side should have been cursing that football god for their rotten luck at being granted a reprieve in Europe yet likely destined to advance no further against the quality saturating that particular group. The Zeus of football rarely spells out his omnipotent power so clearly though, so we must work a bit harder to seek out the divine inspiration. Either through a deity’s hand or just sheer coincidence, Celtic’s next two Europa League fixtures see them travel to Rennes to play at Route de Lorient against Rennes for the first time before entertaining their Breton opponents back in Parkhead. While both clubs have been active in European competitions over the decades, their paths have never crossed until these two Group I matches were scheduled (or more accurately, when Celtic replaced FC Sion). Now, perhaps this comes down...

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