Martin Smith Column: There’s nowt so queer as those who enjoy a real Steel City football rivalry!

Sheffield United's (from left to right) Leon Clarke, Simon Moore and Jake Wright celebrate winning the Sky Bet League One title at Bramall Lane, Sheffield.
Sheffield United's (from left to right) Leon Clarke, Simon Moore and Jake Wright celebrate winning the Sky Bet League One title at Bramall Lane, Sheffield.
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There’s nowt so queer as folk - apart from football fans, obviously. Consider this.

There will be Sheffield Wednesday supporters who loathe and despise United but will be cheering the Blades promotion - some will even be glad they went up as champions.

There will be Sheffield United fans absolutely desperate for Wednesday to go up, begging and praying for Owls play-off glory. Of course most say they don’t care what the other lot does but they are the queerest folk of all. Deep down they are the most haunted.

Apart from the few odd-bods who have somehow retained the 1950s watch-Wednesday-one-week-and-watch-United-the-next approach most fans’ scheming deviance and twisted logic makes Machiavelli look like Michael Palin. How so?

Let’s take the more wholesome approach first.

Some Wednesdayites are glad United have gone up because they think the Owls will be in the Premier League next season which will dwarf United’s achievement in their eyes.

Wednesday is a ‘massive club’, after all. This school of thought is delighted Blades are champions so they can gloat all the more if they struggle in the Championship next season.

The higher they are now, the logic goes, the further and more painful their fall next season. Likewise, Blades will be rooting for the Owls to get into the play-offs and promoted to the Premier League so they don’t have to look at their faces and hear their noise twice next season around derby games and all year at work or in the pub.

Not because they’re scared of them but because even the thought of playing and losing to them is intolerable. They share this fear with many Wednesdayites. There is also the joyful prospect, in Blades’ eyes, of Wednesday struggling in the Premier League and offering the opportunity of much mirth and mickey-taking.

Such is Sheffield life. Of course there are also those on both sides that wish the other club would simply go out of business and cease to exist.

So at Easter time when traditionally some are sacrificed and others reborn as we go into the season’s final act, we should remember those far less fortunate than ourselves. Those real weirdos and lost souls who wish both sides well but hope both are in the Championship next season so we can ‘enjoy’ a local derby or two and start to restore some of Sheffield’s profile as a major football city. How queer is that? Sadly, some people are beyond all help.