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Defeat Is No Option


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Barry Ferguson recently stated that the reason for his need to return to Rangers was when he realalised that the Lancashire derby between Rovers and Bolton paled in to insignificance against an Old Firm game. Ferguson was quoted as saying.

"There were 27,038 at the Reebok and I have to be brutally honest. That's when I looked round and Rangers really started tugging,"

This Sunday for two sets of supporters no more than 10 miles apart along the M65 the real Lancashire derby takes place, although for Rovers supporters the opposition are classed as a small town in Yorkshire, whose supporters were once suggested by a prominent MP, to be able to eat bananas with their feet.

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For Rovers and Dingle supporters the Old Firm game pales in to insignificance with rivalry going back to when the football league was formed, and even though the clubs are now leagues apart the rivalry continues, with each club supporter ready to rub the others nose in the dirt after any defeat or poor publicity.

Rovers' supporters even at one point when Burnley was threatened with relegation from the football league chartered a plane to fly over the Dingle Dome pulling a banner stating "Staying Down for Ever."

Whilst the Old Firm game takes place 4 or 5 times a season the East Lancs derby is a rare event and in recent history when ever the clubs have met Rovers have come away victorious, their most recent victory being the 5-0 thrashing of Burnley on the 1st April 2001, in fact its over 25 years since Rovers last lost to Burnley in the League. However a more significant statistic is that Rovers haven't lost to Burnley in the FA Cup for more than 45 years, back on the 28th January 1959, Rovers first season back in the old First Division after ten years out of the top flight. Rovers however got their revenge the following season knocking Burnley out of the Cup 2-0 in the quarter final replay after a pulling back from 3-0 down to draw in the first game.

This Sunday 3955 Rovers supporters will be transported in around 70 coaches supplied free by the club, flanked by police outriders along the M65 to the Dingle Dome, like Royalty visiting to poor and needy, ready to cheer on the players fortunate enough to be given the famous blue and white shirt in Mark Hughes master plan to extend Rovers statistical dominance of East Lancs derbies. For most of the players this will be their first experience of one of these derbies, only Brad Friedel, Matt Jansen and Craig Short are still on the books as players, who played in the last encounters. However Mark Hughes will know what this game is all about and what it means to the supporters, having played for the Rovers in the last two derbies in the 2000-2001 season, which Rovers won 2-0 at the Dingle Dome and 5-0 at Ewood Park.

Make no mistake, the atmosphere will be electric on Sunday and the roar as the players enter the arena will be heard 10 miles back down the M65, where those unfortunate not to have been successful in obtaining a ticket will fill ever bar and club or in the comfort of their living rooms watching live TV coverage.

And when the final whistle goes Ferguson will hear the roar of 3955 Rovers supporters overshadow the Hamden roar as they celebrate.

Defeat is not being considered nor is it an option.

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