There was a class of cultures in the footballing world yesterday, when Crystal Palace, the big city slickers from the capital, travelled 'upcountry' to meet their counterparts from the Northern wastelands, Doncaster Rovers, in their FA Cup fifth round tie.
The two teams couldn't have been more evenly mis-matched: Palace, their players in pin-striped suits and brogues, with briefcases looking very business-like; Rovers, the ragamuffins with curly, toussled hair covering their large heads, and mischief in their eyes!
The contrasts were stark. Despite the fact that the coal mines in this area were closed many years ago, lots of the Rovers fans and, indeed, their players, turned up to the game with unruly and unkempt hair, and coal dust all over their faces and under their fingernails. Palace, as their name suggests, the Royal manicured-hand of football, with their slicked-back Brylcreem style which matched their silky football skills.
There was almost a controversy before the game even got underway. Palace, who haven't played at Doncaster for more than 70 years, got lost just north of Mansfield, and their coach driver, who had become confused and disoriented by the rarified air had to stop and ask some gypsies for directions.
Once they had arrived, however, there was no debating the gulf in class between the London boys and the northern oiks, Palace eventually winning the tie with two goals scored by their players.