14. Jun, 2021

The Rivalry Quandary

Unpopular opinion.

I don't hate Leeds United, or their fans in particular.

Let me expand, I don't particularly like them. With their silly scarf windmilling, singing songs claiming they won things they didn't, their horrible team of the seventies and a fan base that now thinks we've all forgotten about the decade plus where ten thousand people came dressed as empty seats.

But I don't hate them.

They are Sheffield United or Wednesday to me. A big club, an hour from Hull that look down their noses at us. As I've tried (and failed) to explain to several Leeds fans my problem with their club is very specific, I absolutely detest Hull based Leeds fans. Spineless, characterless rats that sicken me to the pit of my stomach. Which made Jon Parkin's glorious winner many years ago all the sweeter, the thought of those soulless vampires, tail between their legs, grumbling on the bus back to Bransholme. Magnificent.

As I said, I'm wasting my time in trying to explain. After a Jarrod Bowen masterclass deflated the Leeds promotion charge a couple of years ago the "you're not our rivals" tweets began to rain down... "I completely agree" I'd answer... "I just don't like Hull based Leeds fans".... "you're not our rivals" would be the retort and lots of references to tins and pots.

But they are right (and also wrong as they still think Manchester United are their rivals bless them) we aren't their rivals really. Geography and history is unfortunately against us and the other larger cities in Yorkshire really don't consider us a derby game, and the ones who would consider us a rival have been in a state of disrepair for a long, long time.

Going off on a tangent slightly... going to watch football in the eighties was a lively event as a kid and the old man wasn't afraid to take us to some slightly hairy situations. I'm sure there's plenty of you reading this who've had some interesting experiences in Lincoln, Scunthorpe, Grimsby, York or Bradford. Now here's some fanbases that really don't like us, with bells on, and some of these games both home and away were great atmospheres. But look at the list.... we don't play them anymore (with one recent exception) and haven't done in years. Two are now out of the football league, and apart from the Wetherspoons trashing miscreants from the other side of the Humber, it's pretty hard to dislike them.

"No Charlie!" I hear you cry "No I love them all failing on regular basis!"

And you know what, you might be right and I might be wrong. But maybe the successes of the last 20 years have just meant we've outgrown the little brothers of Lincoln and York but never been accepted by the older , slightly overweight, spotty brothers of Sheffield and Leeds.

Second unpopular opinion.

I wanted Lincoln City to beat Blackpool in the play off final. We had a little reminder of the old days this year with Lincoln and the often shared video link of that young Imps fan in a state of acute agony as we secured promotion at their ground summed it up. I liked being a thorn in their side because IT DID matter to them, and that's what you want from a rivalry, even if you are much the bigger club. Lincoln away with fans would have been really good and it would have mattered more. I miss that.

Finally, a poster put underneath my initial suggestion for today's topic suggested that our biggest rivals don't actually play the same sport, he has a point. There's no love between Hull City and Hull FC, it was never more obvious when the cringiest tweet of all time congratulated Liverpool on winning the Premier League but they couldn't muster the same well done to City. Now there's current issues between our owners and the SMC and their club, but not to just say well done was not only embarrassing but it wasn't for nothing. A lot of FC's fans double down their oddballness (I'm saying it's a word) and support Leeds or Liverpool as well as their rugby team. They also weren't saying well done to City as they don't want to upset their fanbase, that much is clear.

This is precarious to describe though, as although I don't really care for Rugby League, I know there's also plenty of fans who support both clubs, and what's more curious is there's not the same bad feeling between KR and City. Sometimes Hull logic is hard to ascertain. Quite why we can't be a little more harmonious I have no clue. Even if there's historical reasons to not agree.

Which takes me back to "Hull Whites".... rivals or not, I hope they have a lifetime of misfortune, it really does suit them. I don't begrudge the current Leeds fans enjoying some better and more progressive times at their club, but they aren't proper Leeds fans in my book.

Thanks for reading folks... UTT