by Daniel Widdowson

There’s one day that sticks like glue in every football fan’s mind, the one day that every supporter knows the date of the match and the time of kick off… DERBY DAY. For some it strikes fear into their hearts, knowing that their local rivals are the opposition later that day. Whether it be Liverpool vs Everton, West Ham vs Millwall or, in this case, Nottingham Forest vs Derby, the tension, anticipation and desire to win are at extreme levels.  Some will describe it as ‘just another game’, however at this stage in a season everyone knows a local derby means so much more. As kick off looms hearts will be pounding, the emotion on show and both sets of fans will be roaring their team on praying to collect all 3 points and hold bragging rights over their rival for the close season… this article focuses on the big one; Forest vs Derby.

Pre match… Every fan wakes up knowing what day it is. Facebook and Twitter becomes an endless stream of banter and statuses relating to the forthcoming match. Forest fans know the anguish that was caused by the defeat to Derby at the City Ground earlier this season, losing to 10 men makes the defeat even more unbearable and revenge is certainly on the cards. Derby want to avenge last season’s mauling at the hands of a Nottingham Forest team who could do no wrong. Needless to say a few weeks ago Derby would have certainly been the favourites for this clash. However as the weeks have developed the Forest side have begun playing clean, confident football again and suddenly look a real threat making the short trip along the A52. Defeat to Watford at the weekend puts Derby on the back foot, and with their destruction of Millwall it could be argued the momentum is potentially with Nottingham Forest once again. Only time will tell how the fixture develops and what the result will be though I doubt it will pass without incident or controversy. It’s midday as this is written, and the anticipation and desire to win is building. Sadly being unable to make the match I’ll be joining many other fans on BBC radio Nottingham with Colin Fray and (former reds captain) John McGovern for this monumental fixture. In a completely unbiased tone… COME ON YOU REDS!

Anyone who condones that kind of behaviour clearly needs their head looking at.

Half time… very little to write home about in all honesty. Various mistakes and a handful of chances to both teams. Derby had a large amount of possession, but unable to produce anything of note. Without doubt the travelling fans have done their upmost to create an atmosphere worthy of a local derby and I just hope the team can produce a performance worthy of it in the second half.

A disgrace to football moment… Barker went down seriously injured and naturally both Forest and Derby benches responded rapidly to get him urgent treatment. However, during the assessment and stabilising, which took a while, Derby ‘supporters’ created a new low for themselves and the club. Starting chants of “Where’s your chairman gone?” and “You’re going down with your chairman”, the Derby fans launched a torrent of disgraceful and distasteful chanting towards Forest. Anyone who condones that kind of behaviour clearly needs their head looking at. Not only is it sick and twisted, I also feel there is no place for it in modern football. The supporters who started it should be taking a long hard look at themselves, and hopefully the club will have those responsible on CCTV and take appropiate action. R.I.P Nigel Doughty.

Post-match… pain, suffering, heartache, dismay and hatred. Simply sums up that result. Forest lost 0-1. The decision to award a free kick that led to the goal sounds one that’s controversial and debatable, but other than that the referee had a solid match. There’s little to say about the game that the score line doesn’t explain.

And ultimately, that sums up derby day. From a day that’s filled with enthusiasm and excitement to one team limping out of the ground, feeling downhearted and dismayed. However, these emotions are sure to be forgotten for the next local derby as revenge ends up on the cards and fans throw themselves back into the rollercoaster that comes with supporting your team through local clashes. Ultimately, its still only 3 points but to Forest and Derby fans everywhere… it feels like so much more.