Tag: Stevenage

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...

Read More

Match Of The Week – Wrexham vs Stevenage Borough

It is, perhaps, no great surprise that the two most funereal evictions from the Football League since the introduction of automatic promotion and relegation between Division Four and the Conference in 1987 both involved Welsh clubs. In the case of Newport County in 1988, it was like witnessing the last day at work of a terminally ill employee. They were the most impoverished club in the Football League at a time of widespread financial crisis, and were wound up in February 1989, without even completing their first season in non-league football. The new club were founded that summer and, some nineteen years later, still find themselves two division below the trapdoor that they fell through two decades ago. The same fate befell Wrexham this summer, meaning that the number of Welsh teams in the Football League is now half what is was prior to Newport’s demotion. It is one of the ironies of Welsh football that the senior Welsh clubs, that for all their rebranding themselves in something approaching Welsh nationalist colours – Sam Hammam tried to market Cardiff City as “the club for all Wales” and Wrexham changed their nickname from “The Robins” to “The Red Dragons” – they are utterly dependent on the English league system. Ask an average Cardiff City supporter what their biggest fear for the future is, and they would be likely to say...

Read More