I wrote the above letter to my hometown paper, The Sheffield Star, following the Steel City Derby - a football match between the two major clubs in the city, Sheffield Wednesday FC and Sheffield United FC. The current rivalry between the clubs is particularly fierce as this season they are both competing for promotion from League One, the third tier of English football, which arguably is a position that places them both as 'fallen giants' - and at risk of eventual financial collapse.
I've been a Sheffield Wednesday fan from a young age, but grew up in a Sheffield United household, and experience a mix of feelings about the nature of the rivalry. Naturally I wish to see my beloved Owls succeed on the field, and that includes gaining victory over Sheffield United. But I am also concerned we do not see the rivalry taken too far in terms of violence or the kind of daily hatred that arises from the Old Firm Derby in Glasgow. And so on Sunday, having attended Sheffield Quaker meeting and then cheered my team onto victory over the 'old enemy' at Hillsborough, I returned home to Manchester and decided to offer a gesture of friendship.