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A new rivalry

Filed: Tuesday, 19th August 2014
By: Paul Turner

There can be discord and ill feeling between sets of fans. Perceived slights and insults can fester and over the course of time become bigger and more disproportionate then the original incident or initial intent.

There can be events that cloud judgement and objectiveness like the reported incidents in Germany between Newcastle United and West Ham United fans where the event takes on a narrative and life of its own that become embellished and twisted to fit an agenda.

There are also the unreported acts on an individual basis be it for example an act of aggression, drunkenness or foul temper that can lead to a loss of reputation and resentment is cast upon the club or fan base in general. Over time opinions and thoughts and experiences of events that become deep seated and entrenched can be passed down to the next generation of supporters who were not original witnesses to the initial event but carry on the memory regardless.

Rivalries that date back decades and centuries are continuations of the ill feeling generated by historical events, be it football teams born from opposing dockyards or clubs moving to new locations where established teams exists as examples. These kinds of rivalries can also stem from multiple historical social issues between different areas or groups on an economic basis which have been in place for what seems like forever making the rivalry seem inherent.

Dating back to the kingdoms of Wessex and Mercie or even further back to the time of the dinosaurs with cave men and women, the reasoning as to how a feud begins might be difficult to pin point and is usually not for one particular, clear cut reason but a perception and interpretation of a view point historically taken by someone else and then passed on.

West Ham United by their location and history has rivalries with other London based clubs. There are also clubs which seem to elicit general dislike or derision from the Hammers faithful but not necessarily a direct rivalry like you would consider some of the other London based clubs. Within these particular parameters, where does Sheffield United fit?

There is no prolonged history or record of noticeable events between the two clubs to speak of leading up to the events of the 2006/07 season so the events themselves of that fateful season are the trigger for the current ill feeling. The in’s and outs have been reported here on KUMB and on many other websites ranging from threats of lawsuits from players who managed to engineer big money moves regardless to a lead football writer arguing that one player made all the difference to West Ham United winning a match or the transfer of Steve Kabba.

There are many facts and events that transpired or were recorded that I could go into in relation to the whole Carlos Tevez situation but that would be re-treading old ground. What is not old ground is the upcoming match between West Ham United and Sheffield United at the Boleyn Ground in the Capital One Cup second round.

In terms of how you would define the rivalry between our two clubs, from a West Ham United perspective the majority view seems to be one of loathing towards Sheffield United for what happened during events and afterwards rather then your more traditional geographical or social rivalry.

That does not take away from the strength of feeling or any of the issues at hand. This is the first meeting between the two sides since Sheffield United’s relegation from the Premier League and the emotion is naturally going to be heightened due to this fact as the two sets of fans converge on the Boleyn.

Much will be written on forums and spoken about on phone-in shows and on social media but ultimately the events that took place occurred between the two clubs, not directly between the two sets of supporters. The strength of emotion will be on display for all to see (if indeed the match is chosen for TV coverage, by a much wider audience) but this should never overstep the mark into disorder.

There is perceived right and wrong on both sides of the debate with claim and counter claim but it serves no one any good turning this second round match in the Capital One Cup into something more then a football match.

What happens after the match though? Regardless of who wins will that resentment always be there until the next meeting on the football pitch? Well the way things stand and from reading social media and forum posts on both sides there is a majority view that this feeling is here to stay. Always to be held in higher regard then other matches the two sides may play in a regular season.

For future generations that will support either West Ham United or Sheffield United, they will have the experiences and stories behind “the Carlos Tevez Affair” told and thus the baton will be passed on to carry on the rivalry when the two sides renew acquaintances in future matches.

* Paul may also be found on Twitter at @P_Tizzle31

Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, nor should be attributed to, KUMB.com.

Your Comments

by Mick
12:14PM 28th Jul 2009
''Nice to read a bit of positivity instead of all the doom and gloom merchants, well done!


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