So what’s the deal with football derbies? In the sporting world they’re seen as some sort of sacred event, within which the world is at stake. The reality of course is that a derby match is worth exactly the same as any other game in the football season; 3 points. So why all the hype?
Before all you football fanatics rise up in force to shout the words “local pride!” at me, I must first clarify that I know this; I am as much a football fanatic as the next man. So there. I know that so called ‘local pride’ is the reason why everybody gets so worked up over, say, Liverpool vs. Man Utd, or, I dunno, Leeds vs. Barnsley (that one was just for me), yet nobody gives a duck’s derrière about Liverpool vs. Wigan. But they should! They should care just as much, because let’s face it, the reason you support a team is to will them on to score goals, beat teams and get 3 points, thus increasing their chances of winning the league, or in my team’s case, avoiding relegation. So surely 3 points is 3 points, no matter who the opponent?
Ok, I can understand that there is some sort of ‘special atmosphere’ surrounding a derby, particularly when you have friends or co-workers who support the rival team; it gives the game a bit more spice. But that gives no excuse for the players to feel the same way! Time after time you see players performing that little bit better in derbies, working that little bit harder to win the match. The mind boggles, it really does. These are overpaid men masquerading as ‘stars’ whose sole job is to kick a ball and run around for 90 minutes once or twice a week. So if they’re evidently putting on a bit of a show when it comes to the derbies; the so called ‘big’ games, how are they getting away with not putting as much effort in the rest of the time? Again, the mind boggles.
Let’s compare this to, say, a marketing agency. Let’s say I work for this marketing agency (I wish). My job is to put together reports, manage various accounts, and generally launch successful campaigns for my clients. Let’s say I’m organising a stall for one of my clients at a big function where lots of people are going to be. Good opportunity to increase the awareness of my client’s brand. Fab. Now let’s say I’ve just found out this other agency (whose office is just down the road from mine and I dislike more than any other agency!) is setting up a stall at the same function for one of their clients; a rival to mine. Game on! But wait a minute, why am I suddenly motivated to create the best stall the world has ever seen? Surely my job is to do that in the first place; I shouldn’t need much more motivation than that?
I’ll admit that comparison was a little flaky, but you get what I’m trying to say, right? So if football really is a profession, why are the players allowed to get away with putting the effort in some days and having a bit of a rest on others? I can’t really see these ‘stars’ being sacked for laziness any time soon, so I guess we’ll never know.