Derby competitiveness - from cradle to grave

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In 1993, Jonathon Foster a Sheffield journalist stated: “Sheffield is a uniquely insular city, the least cosmopolitan of all the large cities in Britain, with little apart from football in which jealousy or passion can be invested.” (Independent, April 1993).

Is that the explanation why the rivalry between United and Wednesday is so strong?

Is the hatred for the opposing team innate in all Sheffield-born football fans?

Is it one of the most important things drilled into us as soon as we can string a sentence together?

It does make me laugh sometimes how caught up either side gets with each other. I too sometimes catch myself looking at Sheffield Wednesday’s results and performance as much as I do Sheffield United’s.

I have to check myself and give a little talking too, to concentrate on my own team. The times I’ve heard: ‘We lost but so did Wednesday.’

So that makes it okay? Even the times when we’ve not been in the same league? How is that for logic?

I asked my grandad last weekend why he is an Owl when pretty much all of our family including his as a kid are Blades.

I’m sure some of you out there can relate to what he said. Unbeknown to me until last Sunday my grandad started as a Unitedite because his dad was. All his school mates though were Wednesday and regularly went to Hillsborough.

My grandad’s choice was either go and watch the enemy with his mates or go to Bramall Lane with his dad. Bear in mind him and his dad were like chalk and cheese, they clashed in a big way. Basically my grandad became an Owl to spite his dad!

In the derby of 1895 supporters of both sides produced funeral cards announcing the death of the rival side. I found a quote from Keith Farnsworth at the time a local football archivist: “It is said that some families were so divided on this issue that fathers ceased to speak to sons and brother fell out with brother.”

I was talking to a fellow Sheffield friend about this. You can guess who they support from their comment.

The reason there is so much rivalry is because ‘You guys’, (meaning Blades) have an inferiority complex to ‘us’ meaning Owls.

We will see on Sunday which side of the Steel City has the inferiority complex.

Even more so in May when the confirmation of each clubs’ immediate future will be certain.

Right now I’m feeling quietly confident. It’s been a while since United had the glory at Hillsborough, back in 2006 in fact; I think it’s our turn for 2012.

I just hope we don’t cancel each other out and we have a game that we can look back on as ‘up there’ with the best. Obviously going Sheffield United’s way; that goes without saying.

Especially as this may be the last Sheffield derby for a while.

All we have to do is just ‘Keep calm and pass to Ched’ nominated League One Player of the Year.

I have to dedicate that line to a fellow TwitterBlade. It made me giggle thinking about Danny Wilson’s pre-derby team talk ‘just keep calm and pass to Ched.’

Easy! I can’t wait.