:: Monday, October 24, 2005 ::

The Observer | Sport | Football: A rivalry with roots in kings and coal

Fascinating article in the Observer on the footballing rivalry between the 'toon army' Geordies of Newcastle United and the Mackems of Sunderland. There was big trouble following yesterday's game between the two, once again.

In our own local rivalry stakes, the hibees will be celebrating the jambos loss of George Burley, just as Hearts were having their best season ever. All thanks to the interference of Vladimir the Impaler. He may now be joined by another member of the undead.

The less said about the Pars season so far, the better.

The Observer | Sport | Football: A rivalry with roots in kings and coal: "The Celtic-Rangers rivalry has been written about extensively, and needs no elaboration. Other than to say that if football can act as a metaphor for international and jingoistic warfare, then the Old Firm is the most articulate. But the Tyne-Wear derby wins in its secular and concise regional conflict.

It does, after all, predate football by 226 years. It is a conflict that has divided two cities, 12 miles apart, for more than three centuries.

In the epoch before the 1600s, King Charles I had consistently awarded the East of England Coal Trade Rights (try to contain your excitement) to Newcastle's traders, which rendered the Wearside coal merchants redundant. People died because of it. Coal and ships were Sunderland's raison d'etre.

But when, in 1642, the English Civil War started, and Newcastle, with good reason, supported the Crown, Sunderland, because of the trading inequalities, sided with Cromwell's Parliamentarians, and the division began.

It became a conflict between Sunderland's socialist republicanism, against Newcastle's loyalist self-interest. A purposeful enmity if ever there was one. Unlike rivalries between other clubs, the differences between Newcastle and Sunderland date back to fighting based on the necessity to live and feed one's children, and benefit one's city.

The political differences between the two culminated with the battle of Boldon Hill. A loyalist army from Newcastle and County Durham gathered to fight an anti-monarchist Sunderland and Scottish army at a field equidistant between the two towns.

The joint Scottish and Sunderland army won - and Newcastle was colonised by the Scottish. It was subsequently used as a Republican military base for the rest of war."

:: Alister | 10:31 am | save this page to del.icio.us Save This Page | permalink⊕ | |


I could have sworn that article was written by a Makem.

By Blogger Darren, at 2:38 pm  

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