Martin Smith column: Was city of Sheffield the real derby winner - or did aggressive fans tarnish the day?

Fans taunt each other at Leppings Lane. Pic Dean Atkins
Fans taunt each other at Leppings Lane. Pic Dean Atkins

It wasn’t quite revenge for the Boxing Day Massacre but Unitedites are already calling Sunday’s 4-2 win at Hillsborough the ‘slaughter in September.’

Questionable taste perhaps but you can understand the sentiment.

Walking past the Graduate pub just off Tudor Square at around 3pm on Sunday you’d have thought they’d won the Champions League.

Such was the intensity that spilled out of the pubs across town after the game.

The Star’s Saturday front page called for Sheffield to be the winner on derby day.

Sporadic clashes around the city and the temporary closure of All Bar One, The Bessemer, Yates’s and Museum pubs after running brawls between fans suggests otherwise.

Police try and control Leppings Lane

Police try and control Leppings Lane

On to other matters: Not everyone is fan of royalty, far from it.

But there are days when even right-on republicans can see they earn their keep. Like last weekend.

On the one had you have our unelected, historically privileged, landed and minted super-toff Windsors represented by Prince Harry at the Invictus Games opening in Canada.

On the other you have a mighty republic like the USA led by democratically elected President Donald Trump wanting to ‘fire’ the ‘sons of bitches’ American Footballers who ‘take a knee’ (kneel down) rather than salute the American flag.

Trump, not unusually, is on dodgy historical ground.

The much-revered US constitution’s first amendment protects the right of men like former San Francisco 49ers quarter-back Colin Kaepernick and hundreds of others to peacefully protest – in this case for ‘Black Lives Matter’.

Prince Harry served alongside people like those competing at the Invictus games for disabled vets harmed in the line of duty.

What a sight those Invictus men and women are. Hundreds of them who have overcome unimaginable pain and anguish in conflicts around the world.

We can argue about the rights and wrongs of their deployments but you can’t quibble for a second over their courage and determination. There will be those that say Harry was protected against the worst of the conflict when he served, and he was.

But he has gone on to champion those who left their old lives and limbs on battlefields and minefields across the globe and went on to find something else to live and thrive for.

That’s a brilliant thing for anyone to have done. As for Trump’s trumped-up travails, I’ll take a knee.