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Up The Tigers! Up The Iron!

By: Dan Humphrey
Date: 03/08/2002

I am fed up with Town not having any proper rivals. The Fishy is operated on Who are our rivals? Hmmmm.

Home > Features > Up The Tigers! Up The Iron!

So this season, I have decided to cheer on both Hull City and Scunthorpe United. Its about time this two got their act together and started heading up the league.

Both have come infuriatingly close in recent times. To their credit, Brian Laws' boys seem to have out-performed the Tigers, which pleases me a little. Good to see the smaller club succeed. Or nearly succeed. Indeed, I have a suspicion that the Iron got promoted not too long ago, but I was not really paying attention to them to be honest.

I have been trying to see if can name a few Hull or Scunny players, to see who I am cheering on. Beyond Peter Beagrie and Andy Dawson at Glanford Park, and Matt Bloomer who never plays and Alexander who scores loads for the Tigers, I am struggling.

As much as I dislike the two Sheffield teams, and have very little (if any) sympathy for Bradford's self-inflicted current plight, I do not see them as PROPER rivals. They are fully-fledged Yorkies who have never been Humbersiders. They are bigger clubs, from bigger cities. It is hardly surprising that those three teams out-perform the Mariners... Just our luck that Rotherham should be promoted, to dilute the potential Sheffield rivalry.


Rivalry in football is usually either local or competitive. At present Town can boast neither. It seems everyone else can. (Note to smart-arses; let's just forget Carlisle for now.)

The greedy clubs at the top end of the league sometimes have both forms of rivalry. Everyone hates Manchester United. Leeds United hate everyone, and most Premiership supporters dislike Chelsea for their ridiculous away pricing.

Pick any club in the North West, the Midlands, Tyne and Wear, Yorkshire - except maybe Hull, all over London... they all have rivals in one of these categories. Think of Bristol. Of Port Vale and Stoke. Of Cardiff and Swansea.

In Division One this season, a South coast duo have been reunited after years apart. (Brighton, Portsmouth) On the West coast, another small group battle year on year (Plymouth, Torquay, Exeter) I mean, even Lincoln have Boston this year!

This is why we should support the Tigers and the Iron. For purely selfish financial reasons. To experience the extra passion of meaningful derby. And because no one else hates us enough.


Furthermore, there is a convincing argument that you are defined by your rivals. Town have no proper rivals, so lack a true identity. Apart from fish jibes from opponents.

I am based in Liverpool. You are a Red or a Blue. You have to be. I am an adopted Blue.

In Merseyside last October Grimsby gained 30,000 extra (Blue) fans for a week or so, simply for the famous Cup victory over the Red Shite (known as 'Liverpool' to non-Evertonians). This would not happen if Hull lost to a non-league side, because Hull are too far down the league to matter. Mariners fans would chuckle, but they would not really care, unless Hull were in Division One or Two.

So, the suggested pre-season resolution is simple.

You are permitted to cheer on Scunthorpe and/or Hull subject to the following basic rules;

  • They are not permitted to win the Division, that is unnecessary.

  • You must not ever purchase anything from either club, nor attend any of their games.

  • You need not love either side, that is taking things too far. You can postpone your HCFC/SUFC hatred for one season. Think of it as a trial. Then we can revisit this issue next season.

  • When the Tigers and the Iron are in Division 2, and the Mighty Mariners are waiting for them in Division 1!

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