Blades fans column: There’s only one derby game and it isn’t Chesterfield v Sheffield United

Jamal Campbell Ryce in action against Chesterfield - not a derby
Jamal Campbell Ryce in action against Chesterfield - not a derby

I’m not going to say too much about last week’s result other than that Chesterfield, fast and incisive going forward, deserved their win over United, ponderous, careless and too conservative. Cloughie has some thinking to do.

But what got me thinking was a call from a Wednesday fan named Mick to a radio phone-in last Friday. Unusually, I found myself agreeing with him when he denied that Leeds v Wednesday was a derby match.

Matthew Bell

Matthew Bell

Radio Sheffield seem obsessed with ‘derbies’, ‘bigging up’ many of the local teams’ matches as such, even going so far as to christen Rochdale v Barnsley as “The Keith Hill Derby”.

There was also the M18 derby of course, but what of the M180 and M181? And if you can have motorway derbies, is Carlisle v Coventry a derby, or Exeter v West Brom?

So what actually constitutes a derby? Is it simply mileage, or intra-county?

If it’s intra-county, why is it not a derby when we play Hull, York or Middlesbrough, but it is a derby when we play Chesterfield? Losing to Chesterfield was no harder to take than losing to Bristol City or Swindon. If it’s distance, why isn’t it a derby when we play Derby or Forest?

To Blades fans (and I’d guess to Owls fans too), games against Chesterfield, Rotherham, Barnsley, Leeds or Doncaster are not derbies, merely matches for which the visiting supporters don’t have too far to travel. Fans of the two Sheffield clubs will likely be in unison on this subject - to us there is only one derby, the only one that generates that feeling of apprehension and trepidation as kick-off approaches.

Oh, and one other thing. What exactly are these ‘bragging rights’ that people talk about?