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Tyne-Wear - A Rivalry Or Hate?
Published : 19 Oct 2012 12:32:54Rss feed
Martin O'Neill insists the passion of the North East derby matches the fervour of the Old Firm clash north of the border.
Why is it like it is? Personally I believe it is because they are two different cities - and it's not usual that Mags and Mackems work together in their respective cities.
The Old Firm is not about football - it's about a battle in Ireland in 1690 - and they cannot let it go. It's bizarre, but they have long memories up there in Chilly Jockoland.
The Mackem Leprechaun draws comparisons.
Martin O’Neill (pictured right): “I felt the intensity of the game in March, but the person who really felt it was our first-team coach Steve Walford.
“He said to me – almost as soon as the game had finished, if I remember rightly – that the game had been every bit as intense as the Rangers-Celtic games.
“Stevie has experienced a lot of those Old Firm games, and thought that nothing could match those, so for him to say that tells you something.
“And on reflection, when I thought about it afterwards, I think he wasn’t far wrong.
“It was hostile and intense, just as I was used to in the Rangers-Celtic games.
“It sends a shiver down your spine and in many ways that’s the exciting thing about these derby games.
“Of course, this time we will be the ones with home advantage and the crowd on our side. With us now having our supporters behind both ends, I think that will make a difference.
“It’s been a long build-up, but if you can look forward to these games, I’m looking forward to it.
“I signed Chris Sutton, who obviously knew about the rivalry between Celtic and Rangers beforehand but had never experienced anything quite like it until he played in it. I think it’s the same here.
“I’m not so sure you have to be from the area to appreciate it. But once you’ve experienced it, then you know what it is all about.
“You might think you can take it in your stride because you’re not from the area, but believe me you soon find out what it means.”
Source: Newcastle United Mad