A few days ago we posted a poll on The Star online, posing the question: ‘Are you actually looking forward to the return of the Steel City derbies?’ To read some of the replies in the comments section, you’d think we were asking if they’d rather go to Marbella or Margate for their holidays.
With all due respect - and this goes to the 70% of people who voted for the ‘of course’ option and those whose comments suggested we’d taken leave of our senses - I think some people may not have thought properly about this.
For some, a derby is a horrible, nerve-wracking, fear-inducing 90 minutes of sheer agony and anxietyChris Holt
For there are many, and I am one, who just can’t wait for a derby game to be over.
I didn’t grow up supporting either of the Sheffield clubs, so my experience is outside of the Steel City bubble but the concept of a proper derby remains the same no matter who is involved - for some, they’re a horrible, nerve-wracking, fear-inducing 90 minutes of sheer agony and anxiety.
And that’s not even taking into account the build-up, which can cause many a sleepless night, with the worrying feeling of ‘what if we lose?’ turning over in your mind.
Of course, there are many fans who relish such occasions, bristling in confidence that their team couldn’t possibly lose and they’ll be the ones heading into work or school, clutching the bragging rights and wiping them in their mates’ faces.
Then there are those who don’t really mind... ‘aw well, it’s only a game, isn’t it?’ They’re the ones you have to watch.
So you might think you are looking forward to the derby, the date of which was set for September 23 when the fixtures came out this week, but I’d be willing to guess that there are a lot more of you out there who, perhaps secretly, are dreading the day it finally arrives after a five-and-a-half-year gap.
All of this is because football fans are by nature pessimistic, in the main. You can allow yourself to drift off to the moment your star man rifles one in from 30 yards but soon you’ll be left with the horrible vision of them getting an injury time penalty to win it.
You might think you’re looking forward to that day when Wednesday and United face-off again, but really you’ve forgotten the sheer depth of stress caused by such occasions.
And now you’ve got to go through it all again.