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The Phoenix Derby
On the day that the Football League is playing first day fixtures that feature - where possible – original members of the league from way back in 1888, there’s another little group getting together also with something to celebrate today.
Those of a certain vintage will remember when the term ‘Accrington Stanley’ was a bit of a byword for a joke club – remember the famous milk ad? Well, to their great credit, the club rebounded from the financial meltdown they endured, and are now back in the football league. With that in mind, I really hope that it’s not just coincidence that the first game of the season sees them visiting another ‘Phoenix from the Ashes’’ club. Newport County are a more recent casualty of the financial and footballing vagaries of fate. Kicked out of the league they descended a number of levels of the pyramid until, rescued by their fans, the club was rebuilt and edged its way back to league status.
For all the cynics who look at football with scorn derived from the ‘loadsamoney’ culture of the Premier League, this is football at its truest; fans that cared about their club too much to let it die. Although Newport fans really had their day in the sunshine in the play-off final that got them promoted to League Two, who would begrudge them an extra one today. And if there’s a bunch of fans that can understand that joy, perhaps it’s the Stanley fans opposite.
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