Derby County Away FA Cup Third Round Sunday 5 January 2013
A suburb of Nottingham separated from the city centre only by the thin sliver of the M1, it seeks, against the odds, to retain its own identity. A decidedly northern town, yet its inhabitants, who speak with those amusing comedy club accents that we came to love from appalling sexist and racist television in the 1970s, cling on to a claim of being Midlanders.
Clearly they are not. They are a long way from Birmingham and Birmingham is, in any event, northern itself.
As a northern town, however, Derby is an anomaly. Instead of post-industrial decay, the 250,000 people who live there still have industry.
Rolls Royce are based there and Toyota have a large plant in the town. They also make railway trains in Derby although perhaps not as many as they once did. Those no longer involved in making things, work at Sky television’s call centre.
If you have ever had a problem with Sky (and I cannot imagine anyone who has Sky has not had a problem) you will have spent a few evenings on the phone to Derby supporters being shunted from operative to supervisor, from supervisor to dropped call and starting the process all over again.
If you have enjoyed the experience, you will have realised one of two truths about Derby supporters: despite all their industry, they are either not very bright or are very mean spirited.
The other truth is based upon empirical evidence that I have gathered over the years. Derby supporters don’t grow beyond 5’6”.
Derby supporters are the shortest football supporters in the league.
Quite why this is the case, I cannot be sure. It could be the reason why industry still exists in Derby. The locals are small enough to crawl into the machinery and do things that others would be unwilling or unable to do.
As I have said, this observation is based on empirical evidence. I have sized up every Derby supporter I know and all three of them are noticeably shorter than my daughters.
Pride Park is a plastic stadium built to replace the atmospheric Baseball Ground. Atmospheric, because it was a toxic dump of a football ground. The abiding memory I have of it is the green slime growing on the wall that passed for a urinal and the stench that emanated from it. Pity the tiny Derby supporters whose noses were closer to the trough.
Derby has, however, given greatly to the culture of our nation. The inimitable Kevin Coyne was born and raised there and although he left and went to live in Germany for many years before his untimely death, one imagines that Marjorie Razorblade may still live there, perhaps working for Sky.
Wikipedia tells us “One of Derby’s most successful bands is Anti-Pasti, whose debut 1981 album The Last Call reached the top 40 in the UK album charts.” With success like that to compete against, it is little wonder that Kevin Coyne emigrated.
Derby’s achievements in football are not all in the past. This season they were runners up in the Brian Clough Trophy.
A ghastly journey to the grim north awaits those travelling on Sunday. The current cycle of storms will once again bring Bexleyheath weather to the nation on Sunday. “Bexleyheath” because, like the Man United supporting trolls of the internet who sit in their bedrooms in their mum’s semi detached homes in Bexleyheath in soiled underwear spewing out their bile against civilised humanity, it will be mild, wet and full of wind.
Highs of 8 degrees, lows around the same. Winds gusting up to 40 mph and rain. Lots of rain. Watch out for spray on the motorway particularly when driving home. There will be fairly heavy lorry traffic and also a danger of aquaplaning. Allow a little extra time and take it easy.
Good waterproof clothing and footwear. Minute Derby supporters could consider snorkels.
Remember, you are Chelsea and Chelsea is style.
Posted by Driver on the Wing