Birstall Terrier: Rivalry with Leeds United can be bittersweet

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You have to be a football fan to truly understand the meaning of a local derby and, in particular, the one against the team that are your biggest rivals.

This is the fixture that everyone looks for first as soon as the fixture list comes out.

This match means so much more than three points. A win means you can text or tweet supporters of the opposing club to kindly remind them of the result.

It means you can go into work wearing a rather smug expression knowing that the bragging rights are all yours. It feels great.

But you also have to experience being on the receiving end when your team loses and then it hurts.

You may come out with lines such as “well we’ve beaten you on the most occasions” or “you’re still below us in the table”, but deep down you just want to hide in a corner and lick your wounds.

The anticipation before a local derby is intense. Every football match is one you look forward to, but so much more when it’s Town v Leeds.

The atmosphere throughout the game is fantastic as both sets of fans try to out sing each other. Town usually succeed in this challenge as we go through our repertoire and taunt Leeds with “you’ve only got one song”.

The rivalry extends to matches other than the ones played against each other. The first thing you do is look to see how your rivals have done.

A win or a loss for them greatly affects your mood either way. If your team has won and they have lost it’s a double celebration.

However, a win for them and a defeat for your team does not bode well for your mood over the remainder of the weekend.

It’s all part of the fun having a rival team, but I wouldn’t recommend anyone reminding me of the “fun” we had at Elland Road the last time our teams met.