Greedy and industrious soul that I am, this week is a double shift week. Breakfast in Huddersfield, drivetime in Stockport. So I've been staying at my good friend Tim's house in Halifax to save on the miles and keep up the required quota of zeds.
Last night we went to his local to watch the Carling Cup semi-final second leg between the two Manc clubs, a game which has usurped all other English club matches for sheer hype. The blue half had the chance to get to a final for the first time in almost 30 years and it was beyond all conceivable importance that beating their local adversaries to do so would make the end of the wait so much sweeter. For the red half, it was simply about foiling their rivals and marching on towards another trophy.
I couldn't care less about either club or the result but as a football fan, it was a most intriguing game. So off we decamped to the pub. And, even though I gave the folk of Halifax (a town I really like) the benefit of the doubt as I considered exactly who would be watching the match, I was disappointed again.
Glory hunters. One of my greatest hates. I've mentioned them before. The place was chocka with them. Manchester United fans with broad wessie accents who probably wouldn't know who Nobby Stiles was if he chucked his dentures at them.
There were Manchester City fans too, who I'm prepared to believe may have had more of a connection with Burnage and Rusholme than the plastic United lot had ever managed with Salford or Eccles. After all, being a "glory hunting" Manchester City fan is an oxymoron, given that they have been trophyless since 1976. The atmosphere was friendly, which suggests a lack of real empathy with the occasion as any Manc derby, but especially this one, is anything but friendly.
A mile and a half down the road from this pub is the Shay, home of Halifax Town FC. Or at least it was, until the club with a proud century of history went to the wall a couple of years back after spectacular lack of support from those for whom football clubs are formed - its local public.
A group of souls hardier than I could ever be have formed a new club in the town called Halifax AFC. They are far worthier as football supporters than any spiritless bloke who barely knows a corner flag from a crossbar, and wouldn't have the foggiest which tram to catch for Old Trafford were he ever to land at Piccadilly station, but still somehow manages to support Manchester United. It remains the most crying of crying shames that many people don't consider their own local club when jumping on a footballing bandwagon and just aim, without reason or intellect, for the one they see on the telly and has that talented balding Scouser playing for them.