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The Nottingham Derby and the history of the fixture

Tuesday 18th July 2017
  The city of Nottingham is archaically known as the Queen of the Midland and certainly has a pedigree of footballing royalty. The urban area of Nottingham is home to 700,000+ people and two football clubs. Next week, the two clubs meet in a friendly encounter of the Nottingham derby.

As my hometown, I see Nottingham through a lot of different eyes. There's the man who moved away. The boy who grew up there and now the man who visits from time to time. It wasn't until the start of the year that I even went to a football match involving one of the city's football sides. Although, I am now, planning a trip to the abominable Nottingham derby.
Contested by Nottingham Forest and Notts County, the match is rarely ever played and there's been little reason to. The two sides have often been leagues apart and the game is often over shadowed by the side's other opposition. The more famous of the two is Nottingham Forest and their meetings with Derby County. That game has become one of the football league's marquee games; being praised for passion and performances it often inspires from the fans and players. That match is even referred to as the 'Brian Clough special', given that he managed both clubs. The game used to attract a lot of notoriety between its most extreme supporters. As a result, the supporters may see that as a bigger game.

On the other side, Notts County has seen their relationship with Mansfield Town sour over the years. More frequent meetings over the last few seasons; and also, the added turbulence of the last meeting which saw flares thrown from the stands.

Whilst the above is true, it doesn't take away from the occasion when these two sides actually do get the opportunity to play each other. The die-hard supporters enjoy it as an opportunity for some local argy-bargy. A fact backed up that several supporters were arrested for planning and executing a pre-arranged brawl.

It's a proud game with both clubs vying to boast their history and accomplishments over the other. For Notts County, it's their gift to the world. Recognised as the oldest professional league club in the world; essentially giving league football to the world. They also won the FA Cup, back in 1894. Nottingham Forest, however, won back-to-back European Cups back in '79 and '80. That's this century, unlike their rival's honours.

It's a tight all-time record with Notts County with 30 wins, Forest with 40 and 26 draws across competitive games. The first ever meeting was a game in the FA Cup where Nottingham Forest triumphed 3-1 back in 1878. The most amount of goals scored in a single game in the Nottingham Derby is eight. Forest have the pleasure of winning both fixtures, 6-2 and 5-3 both at Meadow Lane, in 1932 and 1934 respectively.

The last official Nottingham derby took in the 2011 League Cup competition at the City Ground. A real game of twists and turns, which saw six goals several lead changes and a Wes Morgan goal, of Nottingham Forest at the time scored a last minute extra-time equaliser which took the game to penalties. Forest went on to win the shootout and proceed to the next round, but more importantly, win the only Nottingham derby in 17 years.
Highlights from the aforementioned game.

So what can fans expect from the game taking place this week? Nottingham Forest signed three players which could get an outing in this Nottingham derby. Two Scotsmen, Jason Cummings from Hibs and Barrie McKay from Rangers will want to impress the Tricky Trees in this pre-season game. The young keeper Liam Bossin; having just signed from Anderlecht. Notts County may get the chance to see Terry Hawkridge, the free transfer midfielder from Lincoln City, one of the feel-good teams of last season.

Whatever the team sheets, the game will undoubtedly be made by the fans and the energy of the ground on the night. Despite being a pre-season friendly and yes, fitness and training will be a key objective for the managers, but the fans and the players when they get in the ground will want to show the city that their colours, the Red-and-White or the Black-and-White-Stripes own this town.
Warren Smith

A British and J.League soccer enthusiast, now local to Yokohama, Japan. A keen Arsenal supporter. Has been known to play the game every once in awhile, once likened to Xherdan Shaqiri. 


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