A season of seismic cup shocks could produce further giant-killing acts – at the Simplyhealth Great Birmingham 10k.
The region’s football clubs are limbering up for the ultimate ‘David versus Goliath’ contest when they battle it out for Ding Dong Derby Cup glory over the 6.2-mile route on Sunday, April 30.
From the Premier League at the tip of the footballing pyramid right down to Sunday league at grassroots level, clubs of all sizes are being invited to enter running teams and compete for silverware.
Blues were the winners of last year’s inaugural Ding Dong Derby Cup, pipping Villa, West Brom, Wolves, Walsall and Coventry across the Birmingham City Centre finish line.
But the St Andrew’s side will have to produce another terrific 10k time to defend their title.
As well as facing more stiff competition from the pro clubs, the likes of non-league Solihull Moors and Stourbridge are also aiming to give them a run for their money.
Both sides have caused huge FA Cup shocks this season by knocking out league opposition and are aiming to cause another upset at the Great Birmingham 10k.
Any football club can compete for the Ding Dong Derby Cup by entering a team of at least four runners, up to a maximum of eight.
The four fastest times posted by each team will be accumulated to determine who is the fittest and fastest club in the region – and secure the ultimate derby bragging rights!
More than 7,000 runners are due to take part in this year’s Great Birmingham 10K. Starting on Jennens Road near Millennium Point, the race takes in sights such as Selfridges, Edgbaston Stadium and Cannon Hill Park before a city centre finish in front of thousands of cheering spectators.
The event is also seen as the ideal training run for anyone entering the Simplyhealth Great Birmingham Run or inaugural Birmingham International Marathon, both taking place on Sunday, October 15.
Elliott Woolmer, Blues’ Academy Sports Scientist and a key member of last year’s victorious team, said: “We were really pleased to be the first winners of the Ding Dong Derby Cup and we’re determined to hang onto the trophy in April.
“But with more clubs entering this year, we’ll have to produce a fast time.
“It’s a really great event to be involved in, and Birmingham’s a brilliant city to run in.”
Tom Ross (Broadcaster), Elliott Woolmer (Birmingham City), Matthew Gould (Stourbridge) and Ant Hasker (Solihull Moors)
Determined to steal the silverware from their near-neighbours are National League side Solihull Moors, who reached the FA Cup second round for the first time in November by toppling League Two Yeovil.
Leading their running team are Moors’ community development manager Ant Hasker and his son Jamie, assistant coach of the club’s under-tens side.
“The Ding Dong Derby Cup is a great idea because it’s not just for the big boys – non-league and grassroots teams can compete against them for a trophy,” said Hasker Snr.
“As we’re getting bigger and bigger as a club, it’s great to be involved in something like this and put Solihull Moors even more on the map.”
NPL Premier Division side Stourbridge, who pushed League Two Wycombe Wanderers all the way in the FA Cup third round after humbling League One Northampton, are also eyeing another shock.
“We like being underdogs and wouldn’t it be nice if a non-professional team beat all the big clubs and took the trophy off Birmingham City?” said Stourbridge goalkeeper Matthew Gould.
But the grandson of former Wolves, Albion and Coventry striker Bobby Gould, and son of Baggies goalkeeping coach Jonathan, doesn’t even know if he’s going to make midfielder and club-record appearance maker Leon Broadhurst’s running team!
Broadhurst has so far recruited wife Emma and brother and ex-Glassboys midfielder Nathan, who both ran the London Marathon with him last year, plus another former club player, centre-half Steve Frost.
With midfielders on average covering 12-13km during a match, and Broadhurst having made over 650 appearances for Stourbridge, he has certainly got pedigree over that distance!
“Keepers are not renowned for their running ability so I’m not sure if Leon will require my services!” quipped Gould, who is currently training with Albion.
“Leon is a box-to-box midfielder and is very competitive. If you look at how Stourbridge have done in recent years, he’s got that winning mentality when it comes to cups – the FA Cup and now hopefully the Ding Dong Derby Cup!”
The Ding Dong Derby Cup gets its name from a phrase made famous by much-loved West Midlands broadcaster Tom Ross in describing local affairs down the years.
Tom, who hosts the Goalzone on Made in Birmingham (Sky Channel 117) on Fridays from 7pm, said: “Being a Birmingham fan, I was obviously delighted with the outcome of the first-ever Ding Dong Derby Cup last year.
“But it would be great if a non-league or grassroots club could push the big boys all the way this year – or even win it.
“With so many local clubs competing, it promises to be one hell of a Ding Dong Derby at the Great Birmingham 10k!”
David Hart, Communications Director at The Great Run Company, said: “This is a great chance for the hundreds of local clubs in the region, from all levels of the game, to come together and compete for silverware at the Simplyhealth Great Birmingham 10k. May the fittest club win!”