the two Steel City rivals going into tomorrow’s derby firmly in the hunt for promotion has been one of the more pleasing aspects of this season for Yorkshire football.
What Wednesday being second and United sitting seventh cannot do, however, is mask the fact that a fixture of this magnitude ought really to be taking place at a much higher level than the third tier.
Only promotion from League One for both the Owls and Blades at the end of this season can, of course, change that.
So, for now, fans will have to console themselves with the thought that, even allowing for the lowly status of the two rivals, tomorrow’s meeting at Bramall Lane has the potential to serve up 90 minutes worthy of the fixture’s long and illustrious history.
Those, though, who want a reminder of happier days in Steel City football need look no further than a new book by football journalist Alan Biggs.
Confessions of a Football Reporter – Another Biggs at Large charts the career of a journalist who has covered sport in the region – and, in particular, the South Yorkshire football beat – for more than three decades.
From his earliest days working for a weekly newspaper through to stints with the Daily Mail and BBC’s Final Score, Biggs has met and worked with some of the biggest names in sport.
The two Steel City clubs understandably feature heavily, with particular gems including the day Biggs got the hair-dryer treatment off Jack Charlton and how he was often the butt of Ron Atkinson’s jokes.
The whirlwind effect that both Dave Bassett and Neil Warnock had on Bramall Lane are also well covered, while the reader is given an insight into the often random world of sports journalism, such as when Biggs got Dickie Bird in a flap.
My favourite tale, though, comes from the author’s early days at Radio Hallam when, during the Silver Jubilee visit of the Queen in 1977, he told the listeners at home that Her Majesty was “probably the most famous person ever to have visited Chesterfield”. I’d love to know who Biggs felt may be more deserving of the title.