The tradition of a Boxing Day derby clash in Atherton will be revived tomorrow (weather permitting) as Collieries host LR….
…..in the North West Counties League in what is now being styled as the `Flat Cap Derby`.
It’s the first league meeting between the teams since the 2008/09 season, at the end of which Colls were relegated, and LR joined them in the First Division this season.
The last competitive meeting between the two sides was in the FA Vase last year at Crilly Park, when LR won 3-2 after extra-time, but the game was also notable for the birth of the name ‘Flat Cap Derby’.
Colls` programme editor Joe Gibbons explained: “The term came from Tony and Johnny, two groundhoppers from Droylsden, who have been travelling the country following FA competitions for the last two seasons, and took in last season’s meeting between the two sides in the FA Vase.
“Tony and Johnny can often be found in a pub in Droylsden when the cup draws are made. They get straight down to business, and plot their next groundhop, which they write about on their groundhopping blog www.1legonthecup.com.
“They set up a blog about the game, and picked the name `Flat Cap Derby` and were surprised and pleased to find out that the people of Atherton had actually adopted their name for the match.
“To celebrate the launch of the `Flat Cap Derby`, we will award the man of the match with a flat cap. It will be like no other prize the players have ever won, and will surely be the pinnacle of their career!”
Colls` secretary Emil Anderson says everyone at the club is relishing the chance to resume old rivalries with their near neighbours.
“Relations have improved between the clubs in recent years. In the years preceding, there was an awful lot of animosity, which in retrospect could have been avoided,” he said.
“I think we have both missed the rivalry of regular league match up’s, and have realised there is room for both teams in the town. Life would certainly be much duller without the other. Of course there will be a bit of banter during the game, but after the game we will have a drink.
“Everybody at Alder House is looking forward to this local derby, and if you are a neutral and looking for a game on Boxing Day afternoon, weather permitting, you are more than welcome whether you are donning a flat cap or not.”