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Manchester Derby: Fans' view

DERBY DAY: We spoke to five fans to find out what derby day really means

DERBY DAY: We spoke to five fans to find out what derby day really means

Manchester City and Manchester United meet on Sunday for the 177th time. Ahead of the game, we spoke to five fans to find out what derby day means to them. ​

Mike Hammond, England.

What does the derby mean to you?

The derby means a week of restless nights during the build-up and a sense of occasion that hasn’t diminished despite my age and the fact I should know better!

It delivers that mix of feelings, of excitement, of dread, of anticipation, of fear and of hope that is almost unique in the modern game. These two matches can make or break an otherwise stellar or unremarkable campaign.

During the days before the game, you’d give anything for it all to be over, for the pressure to be released. But when the teams enter the pitch, and you hear the roar of the fans, the tension is released, the battle commences…and the blues normally win.

What’s your earliest derby memory?

The first derby game I attended, in March 1983. Four of us went, my dad and I the blues, and my uncle and my cousin the reds. We sat together in the North Stand and at half time, with City winning 1-0 and the Kippax stand a sea of blue scarves, life was so sweet.

At the final whistle, United had won 2-1 and the Kippax stand was a sea of red scarves. I was in floods of tears and inconsolable.

Where will you be watching this derby?

I shall be sat in the family stand with my wife, kids, brother and niece trying to behave myself.

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Liam Wright, England

What does the derby mean to you?

The derby is a day I never look forward to. It’s a day where I’ve had some of my best memories, but also days I’ve just tried to blank out. For every Dzeko, Geovanni, Benjani and Balotelli, there’s a Rooney, Scholes, Van Persie and Owen. It used to be a day to see how we would fair against the benchmark of English football, whereas now we are that benchmark. They hate how good we are now and it’s incredible watching them squirm.

What’s your earliest derby memory?

November 1994, Old Trafford and we lost 5-0. A sign of things to come for the next few years. First one I went to was when we lost 1-0 at Maine Road in 2000, don’t remember much apart from the atmosphere was like nothing I’d experienced before in my old seat in The Kippax.

Where will you be watching this derby?

Unbelievably I’m missing my first derby home or away since April 2009 when we lost at Old Trafford. I’d already committed to a wedding in Chesterfield before the TV fixture change. I’ve told the Nottingham Forest supporting groom not to expect me to be taking part in anything between 16:30-18:30. He understands. I think.

Jimmy, China

What does the derby mean to you?

The derby always has great importance amongst City supporters. I do have friends who supports the other side of Manchester. A derby win for City means the bragging rights when I talk to them after the match. I cannot wait to see them being “salty”.

What’s your earliest derby memory?

Perhaps Michael Owen’s 97th-minute “referee-awarded” goal was my earliest derby memory. We have had some heartbreaking memories in derby matches and certainly some fond ones over the last several years. Edin Dzeko with his palm and thumb gesture!

Where will you be watching this derby?

Probably at home but will think about joining the Official Supporter Group in Beijing to watch this derby.

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Erwan, France 

What does the derby mean to you?

It’s the most stressful game of the season. It’s the day when you wake up in the morning and you think straight away: it’s derby day. I'm always really stressed out that day in particular because it’s THE game that we really don’t want to lose. 

What’s your earliest derby memory?

The derby last season isn’t the first I remember, but it was the most emotional because of the disappointment and I will remember that one for a long time. At half time, I was so happy and then… we lost 3-2. 

Where will you be watching this derby?

At home in France. Come on, City!

Andrew Green, England

What does the derby mean to you?

It’s the fixture that gets the juices flowing more than any other in the calendar and certainly the first one I look out for when the fixtures are released. Increasingly, it’s a chance to show how much better than them we are nowadays, after many years of being second best. I have never really looked forward to the derby but I’m sure they fear it much more than we do at the moment and long may that continue.

What’s your earliest derby memory?

The 5-1 is one of my first memories full stop. We were on a short family break in Blackpool (the glamour!) so my Dad couldn’t go to the game. I vividly remember him finding out the result and his reaction. I got the video later and completely wore it out, to the point I actually took it into school once at the end of a term where the teachers said we could all bring in videos and the favourites would get picked to watch. Suffice to say it didn’t get picked.

The first derby I actually attended was the 3-2 home defeat in 1993 – the less said about it the better.

Where will you be watching this derby?

South Stand 118

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