The midland town of Derby is preparing for one of football's iconic events this weekend, in which its beloved home team plays itself in the time honoured Derby v Derby derby. "It's the spectacle of 11 men taking on the sporting task of 22 that makes this evenly matched event so popular," said BBC sports editor Gary Smyth. "America has its Super Bowl, France its Tour de Force and the Isle of Wight its famed hopscotch trials. But the Derby Derby is special, which is why it is always, for fans like me, such a draw."
In fact the Derby v Derby derby has always been a draw since it was played annually for the first time in 1902. "But that doesn't make it predictable," said Derby manager Kevin Smyth. "In fact the tantalising chance that one team, probably Derby, could just come out on top for the first time makes it even more nail biting."
For Derby's police chief the match is, as always, a challenge. Carl Smithers told Midland Sport: "People do start fighting with themselves earlier and earlier in the day, and it's always a challenge to separate a rival fan who, on any other normal day would be staying at home and watching the match on TV, if at all. We are always mindful of the knife fight that broke out between one fan at the 1997 Derby Derby derby, which tragically ended in suicide, and as ever there will be a thirty second silence at the beginning of both halves to remember her."
Next year's fixture is threatened with controversy, as it's is scheduled at the end of the season. Britain's premier horse race, usually in June, could be three weeks earlier, with the prospect of the Derby Derby derby on the same day as the Derby. FA chairman Greg Dythe dismissed this prospect as unlikely, saying "let's not get into that discussion yet, because we don't want to scare the horses."
In unrelated news, the controversial 2020 World Cup could find a new home if Qatar is finally deemed unsuitable because of rows about the whereabouts of its missing "u". FIFA officials are examining the possibilities of it taking place in nearby Abu Dherby.