Leeds Rhinos versus Bradford Bulls, 20,000 plus spectators crammed into old, traditional rugbyleague grounds, with an intense, but generally friendly rivalry, all supporting the 26 (34) gladiators battling it out to become “kings of Yorkshire”.
Bradford had their years of dominance, I still loved those games, they were always close, but Leeds always seemed to come up short

Our airport derby never had the “hate” of the Hull derby or the “spite” of the Saints Wigan affair, but it was ours, it had the biggest attendances and it was great!

That’s how I remember it anyway. Rose tinted glasses perhaps?

Sadly in recent times, due to the crazy goings on with the management at the Bulls club, all the way back to the Harris affair (I remain embarrassed by the actions of Leeds over this), our derby has become more and more limp and last night it became a complete non entity.

Yesterday the Bradford players laid down arms and surrendered. That is not good enough. Whatever has gone on has gone on, you are getting paid to do a job that many of us would do for nothing if we had one tenth of your talent. Yesterday you disrespected (hate that term) the 10,000 or so people who paid their money to watch you perform and in doing so, ruined what was in it’s day one of the showcase games of the season.

As a Leeds fan of course I’m glad we won, but as a rugby league fan I’m saddened by the demise of a top club and feel most for some of the great Bradford fans who have had to witness the heart ripped out of their beloved club.

Throughout the past years of shambolic management they have in the main stayed positive, stayed faithful and most of all had belief that “it will be all-right in the end” (and if it is not yet alright, it is not yet the end). Yesterday I got the feeling that that attitude changed, there was little banter, the turnout was poor, there was an air of acceptance of defeat before a ball was played. Frankly I don’t blame them, there is surely only so much you can take.

Still, it is not yet the end. There is a new professional management team with new ideas and new enthusiasm resurrecting the Bulls yes? No, the day after such an embarrassing battering by their near neighbours, the new CEO posts pictures of himself completing the very important executive management task of hoovering the club shop.

With incompetent clowns like this at the top of a multi million pound business, maybe I was a bit harsh on the players earlier!

So RIP Airport Derby, you were fun while you lasted. Leeds will now sit alongside Huddersfield, London & les Catalans as a team having no derby day, and the Leeds Rhinos will be much poorer for it.

As for Bradford I just don’t see a way out. Relegation will kill them and their magnificent fans deserve so much better.

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