Bitter rivals Aylesbury United and Aylesbury FC will go head to head for the first time competitively next season after the Ducks’ promotion to the Southern League was rubber stamped at the weekend.
United faced an anxious wait to learn their promotion fate after finishing second in the South Midlands League Premier Division.
The Ducks had been in a state of limbo while teams who were also vying for best runners-up promotions from various equivalent leagues finished their respective seasons.
And their superior points-per-game ratio saw them finally promoted to Step 4 of the football pyramid. Crucially the FA have put the Ducks in the same league as FC which sets up mouthwatering local derbies in 2013/14, much to the delight of United boss Tony Joyce.
“Is there going to be a derby against them (FC)? I hadn’t noticed,” Joyce said with his tongue firmly planted in his cheek.
“Seriously, though, it’s just what we wanted and to be in the Southern League is a great bonus. We’re pleased when you look at the travelling, there’s lots of local derbies and some nice games.
“For me, the players and the staff and for their (FC) players and staff it will be exciting because hopefully it will be a big crowd and it has captured the imagination of the town but that’s all it is, just another game in a long season.
“The supporters will get a buzz out of it and hopefully both teams will be doing well and we can have some good games against eachother.”
Another man who has taken a great deal of pride in the club’s success this season – they also won the Premier Division Cup, their first silverware for 13 years – is chairman Graham Read.
Read has been fighting to turn the Ducks around since they were evicted from Buckingham Road in 2006 and says Joyce has found the magic formula he has been looking for during the seven years in exile at Chesham and Leighton Town.
Read said: “It’s been an unbelievable season and I’m really proud of all of them.
“The team that Tony has built and the combination they have is a magic formula.
“The players want to play for us, they enjoy winning and they are proper Aylesbury United players.
“We had a good idea we were going up, but to get it sorted and be in the Southern League is fantastic.
“The icing on the cake now would be coming back to Aylesbury,” he added.
Joyce says the promotion bodes well for the future as the club looks to re-establish itself as a non-league force.
“We are back on the first rung of what I consider serious non-league football and we’re looking forward to it,” he added.
The club will also have relatively local derbies against the likes of landlords Leighton, Beaconsfield, Chalfont, Dunstable, Marlow, Slough and Uxbridge should the initial league constitution be confirmed.
Meanwhile, United will play Winslow (July 23) and Tring Athletic (August 3) as part of its pre-season schedule.