Now that the dust has settled, and the relegations, promotions, and play-offs have been concluded we are left with certain fixtures for next term that get the juices flowing. The Cutter picks out five guaranteed to enthrall.
Crystal Palace v Brighton
When the fixtures are announced next Wednesday rest assured that Palace and Brighton fans will not be looking for Manchester United away first, instead they will each be relishing the prospect of the first ever M23 derby in the Premier League, a non-geographical feud that perplexes those not involved.
It is a spat that began in 1976 through a series of fiercely-fought encounters as each battled for promotion. That it remains to this day – indeed is arguably as intense as ever before – is a testament to what it means to be a football supporter.
Tickets to either game will be hard to come by in a fixture sure to be the story of the weekend but will be available from Football Ticketpad.
Middlesbrough v Leeds United
With numerous clubs within an hour’s drive of Elland Road it’s tempting to believe that Leeds have plenty of scope for local grudges but in truth the city is somewhat isolated form their Yorkshire rivals. Instead then they look north, to a club that is also somewhat out of the loop when it comes to neighbourly disputes what with Sunderland and Newcastle concentrating on one another.
Boro’s plummet from the Premier League guarantees two passionate and unmissable contests in the Championship next term and especially so with each club expected to push for the top.
Sheffield United v Sheffield Wednesday
Both clubs can legitimately be termed as ‘sleeping giants’ while equally they have endured similar fates in recent years as they yo-yo through the divisions.
With Chris Wilder’s men enjoying a title-winning campaign back to the Championship this will be the first Steel City derby for five years and for neutrals will evoke famous clashes from times past, most notably the FA Cup Wembley semi-final in 1993.
Rotherham v Doncaster
The all-Sheffield fixtures won’t be the only Yorkshire match-ups on the footballing calendar next season as the Millers’ relegation from the Championship and Donny’s fantastic promotion charge out of League 2 sets up this terrific white rose encounter. The last occasion these clubs met was in 2007 so we can be sure they’ll have a lot to say to each when they catch up.
Port Vale v Crewe
Both Potteries clubs have ‘enjoyed’ a long-standing rivalry with Crewe Alex and with Vale Park being situated only 13 miles from their Cheshire neighbours it’s perhaps not surprising that local bragging rights are at stake now they are paired up in the lowest tier.
The distance between both clubs is pertinent as it’s been known for each set of fans to decry the notion that this is a ‘derby’. Yet it’s as close as Newcastle and Sunderland and try telling them that geography doesn’t matter.