Tag: Franchise

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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A Sensible Transfer

This morning’s announcement that MK Dons are applying to take over Gretna’s place in the Scottish Premier League shouldn’t really come as a surprise to anyone. Pete Winkleman knows the value of publicity if nothing else and, as he said himself this morning, “We have an excellent chance of bringing European football to Milton Keynes, which is no less than the people of this city deserve”. Winkleman has reportedly argued successfully that, since Gretna transferred from English football into the Scottish game and there have been persistent rumours that Celtic and Rangers are to transfer into the English game, there is no logistical reason why such a move shouldn’t take place. “Our recent triumph in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy has demonstrated that we have outgrown the bottom two divisions of the Coca Cola League”, Winkleman said. “We’ve carried out extensive market research and there is no doubt that it is in the best interests of British football that the people of Milton Keynes have the opportunity to see the likes of Motherwell and Hibernian in the flesh. The possibility of UEFA Cup football will dramatically increase our profile on the international stage, increasing the likelihood of major stars such as Scorpions and Ace Of Base to Stadium MK. I’m already planning a Scottish themed festival here this summer. I was on the phone to The Proclaimers until five o’clock...

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Easter Shopping Options

On the 30th March, Grimsby Town take on Milton Keynes Dons in the final of the Johnstones Paint Trophy at Wembley Stadium. Now, if you’ve been reading this site for any period of time, you’ll know my opinion on Milton Keynes and, indeed, the freaks that have started following them, and I’m not going to restate it yet again (my official policy at present is something like, “if we all ignore them, they might just go away”). However, the outstanding independent Grimsby supporters site Cod Almighty seem to have stated the viewpoint of the average English football supporter with this rather natty T-shirt. Says it all really – with £1 from each sale going to the Grimsby Town Supporters Trust and £1 from each sale going to the Dons Trust (that’s Wimbledon, not Milton Keynes), I suggest buying...

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The Story Of Football In Milton Keynes

On Tuesday night, Milton Keynes Dons (and that, I guarantee, is the only time that they will be dignified with the use of their official name on here) won 2-1 at Mansfield Town to continue their (hopefully temporary and much despised) stay at the top of League Two. They moved into their 30,000 capacity stadium during the summer and their crowds have risen accordingly, but the question remains the same: who are these people? I’ve asked this question to more or less everybody I know that might have the answer, and they are singularly at a loss. Children that support them, I can understand. They are easily impressed by shiny things and, in their innocence, have easily malleable brains that will succumb to the marketing machine behind the club. But adults? There must be at least a couple of thousand of them, and the only rational thing to think about them is that they fall into one of three categories. The first category is people that had no prior interest in football (at least not live football), but started going along because it was an entertainment option. A bit like going ice skating. The second category is people that are presumably so passionate about Milton Keynes that they refused, as a point of principle, to go to any football matches until they had a League club in their town...

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