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I’m Sick of The Flaming Derby Already.


JohnCresswell
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Hi, my name is John. And I have a confession to make. I’m sick and tired of hearing about this ‘big game’ against Birmingham City on Sunday.

I must admit, I thought it was only me, I really did. But I’ve mentioned it to a few others and a similar response has been given. I’m just sick and tired of hearing about the derby game coming up on Sunday.

The problem for me, or at least part of the reason I think, is that this game represents nothing but a big pain in the arse for me. It’s simply causing too much hassle. Derby games attract mindless idiots. And no, they aren’t just on the small heath side. Villa, whilst in my experience having as many in numbers do have a section of the crowd who seem to revel in causing ‘problems’ – be that wrecking the toilets within the ground when visiting away teams, or ripping the fixtures and fittings of the Holte off the wall as witnessed at VP after THAT 3-1 loss.

Having to worry on your way into the ground, and then out of the ground as you desperately to try and avoid any kafuffles caused by upset fans so you don’t end up with you head kicked in quite frankly overwrites any of the excitement that I can possibly have towards this game.

I don’t live in Birmingham. I live in the countryside, where you are more likely to bump into a glory chasing supporter than one who supports small heath. In fact, the closest you tend to see a small heath supporter is probably one of those dodgy dark shadows in a field following the sheep around. Perhaps this is why I don’t fully understand the sheer hatred, and yes, obsession shown towards this football team.

I don’t like them as a football team. I don’t like the reputation their fans have, and yes, I want them to be relegated. I hate it when people call them the ‘Blues’. That isn’t their name. I laugh when the many, many downfalls happen to their team and I’m disappointed when then manage to drag themselves back up again. But on our forum, for instance, the match thread dedicated to the game is entitled “The Big One”. Why? Does this really define a big game for us? We are seventh in the league and chasing a European place. For me, a big game is one against a team who is placed in the table around us, in which a win will help us get a definite advantage over our finishing place. A big game is one in the cup, close to the final where we can win something (yes, alright, not happened recently, has it?).

I can’t help but feel that as each season goes by with small heath in the premiership, the obsession with them seems to crank up another gear.

We are a team in seventh place. We’ve won the League Cup five times. FA Cup seven times. We have been first division champions seven times and we’ve won the European and European Super Cups. On the other hand, small heath are fighting relegation in the same year they were promoted, have one won League Cup to mention in their honours. And that’s it. Apart from the Birmingham Senior Cup, which seems to be a competition created to give them a trophy seeing as the other side in Birmingham, us, aren’t actually part of it. They even have to put in their pitch dimensions in the section called ‘records’ on their website as they are so empty of any history of winning anything.

They are a simple dot on the history of football. Nothing that has been added to the game of football has benefited from them being involved in it.

I can understand why they may dislike us. We have the proud stadium. We have a history, heritage and a trophy cabinet. They have been in the shadow of our club for their existence. It’s natural for them to look on and be envious. I look on to Manchester United, and I’m envious at the talent they have at the club – and hate them for it.

So if we win on Sunday, then great. Three more points against a team I don’t like. If we lose? Then that’s a shame – not because of who it was – but it’s a blow to the European hopes.

The real big game in next week, against the real ‘Blues’ – a team as rich in history as ourselves – Everton.

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Great stuff John although I think the one thing you didn't touch on is that with football and following football, as much as the history and the heritage is the rivalry, be it local or success related. Whether we like it or not, the noses are a very local derby and it will split offices and schools down the middle in the week leading up to it. That's why it is bigger than the league table suggests. It is also big this season because while we take the 3 points, we potentially push them further towards the relegation that most of us want them to suffer (although I sadly can't see anyone below them picking up points this weekend). So you're right that in a purely Premier League sense this is just another 3 points to win or lose, but it is the other stuff that makes it big.

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You don't live in Birmingham or the surrounding areas, you live in the countryside. Therefor you can't really understand the hatred Villa and Blues fans have for the other club.

It's a shame if we lose on Sunday? Understatement of the century, i'll be gutted all week if we lose

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Have to agree with you there, and I live in Birmingham. Although I used to live in a bluenose area (Hodge Hill) so I was probably swayed.

I had more feeling for this game when we were trying to make up for the disastrous 2 games during 2002/2003 when we were like a rabbit caught in the headlights. Since then we've beaten them 3 times, drawn twice and lost only once. They have been relegated as well. The Small Heathens I run with in my running club are not as lairy as they once were. They are quite pragmatic about this one. They may be the exception to the rule, as every other bluenose I've ever met has always been a complete and utter arsehole.

Now this game has become a parody of itself in my eyes. I suppose every football derby is.

Like yourself I'm looking forward to the Everton game more than this. Thats the benchmark!

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I can’t help but feel that as each season goes by with small heath in the premiership, the obsession with them seems to crank up another gear.

I think if small heath were always in the premiership then this derby would have less significance (see the north london derby or Manc derby or Merseyside derby) but because they are so shit we always think: well we have to beat them twice this year because they may/will be relegated and we won't be playing them again.

If we always played them at least twice every year then the intensity level would decrease. A good example is the Sunderland vs. Newcastle derby, I expect sunderland to stay up for the next few years and I think that derby will lose intensity over the next few years.

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The real big game in next week, against the real ‘Blues’ – a team as rich in history as ourselves – Everton.

Spot on, I'm far more anxious about this game as it may well define our season. That said, if we drop points against SHA it may not really matter, but the point is that it is the points that are most important, not bragging rights or rivalry.

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i can appreciate the sentiment of this article, you've some good points [particularly relating to the issue of the over-exuberant knuckle heads who tend to show themselves for this tie] and yes, we probably do get over-excited about this fixture.

but for me, if this game isn't "the big one" it will do until the real big one comes along.

should we, god forbid, screw this one up then that faint glimmer of hope for a uefa cup spot that some of us are still secretly dreaming of will be even fainter

secondly, like many of us, i grew up surrounded by blue-noses, i was the only villa fan in my class, about half my brummie mates are blue-noses and even [dare i say it] some of my family have that vile blue and white coarsing through their veins. that makes it a big one in my eyes.

and finally, the atmosphere is going to be electric as ever, living in london i don't manage to get up to villa park too often but i was in the holte for cahill's wonder goal and it really is one of my fondest memories from a villa game. i have a ticket for this sunday and to tell the truth i'm struggling to keep my mind off it

i mean, i'm a little bit sick of hearing about it, but only because it's proving such a distraction to me

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"THAT 3-1 loss" - What game was that!?!

Personally, I think it's because you dont live near the city. For me I simply can't have them beating us because they dont shut up about it. We are a much bigger club than them no question, but this game does have an added spice........always has........always will.

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John, if you don't live in Brum then I'm not surprised at your article & can understand what your saying but I used to work at Rover and all the goalie **** ups came when I worked there and my life at work and in the boozer was misery after they did the double over us that season 02/03.

The fact is I just want us to beat the bastards everytime we play them so it'll perhaps shut them up which will never happen I'm afraid.

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Have to agree with a lot of the sentiment in the article.

This fixture should be a celebration of football in the city and something for both sides to relish. I look on in envy at the mersyside derby and see Liverpool and Everton sharing the stands together.

I work with a blue nose and the we've had loads of fun trading insults and banter, who can show thier face on Monday morning? But at the end of the day it's banter.

This fixture has been spoiled by the knuckle draggers who find it an excuse for a fight, hardly a great advert for either club or the city in which most of us live.

I was in Borders bookshop in the bullring a few weeks back and saw the book on display about the "famous" hooligan gangs of Aston Villa, made me feel ashamed.

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