Events at Dundee and Dundee United this season mean a cloud now hangs over Tannadice Street in the shape of both facing campaigns in the second tier of Scottish football next term.
It will be only the fourth season ever that football fans in the city have had to face the prospect of not seeing top-flight football on their own doorstep.
Previously it happened for two seasons either side of the Second World War after the Dark Blues had been relegated at a time when United were Second Division fixtures.
The scenario was repeated for 1995/96 when the Tangerines went down to join their closest rivals, who’d dropped a year earlier.
There must now be a very few who can remember the campaigns in the 1930s and 40s which saw clashes in the old Second Division but there are plenty who were regulars at Dens and Tannadice the last time the city had no Premier League representation.
Even so, 23 years on there will be plenty watching the teams battle it out in the Championship for the first time. And if they expect to be watching a close promotion race between teams in tangerine and dark blue, that mid-90s season tells us it might not happen.
Because although, for a time, Dundee did keep pace with their neighbours, and even reached the 1995 League Cup Final, they fell away badly in the second half of the season and finished fifth.
United’s main rivals for the automatic promotion spot were Dunfermline, Morton and St Johnstone.
Heading into the final two games it looked as if that spot could be secured by Billy Kirkwood’s side but a home defeat at the hands of the Pars saw them miss out.
It left United heading for a play-off against Partick Thistle and, thanks in no small part to a Brian Welsh equaliser in the second leg at Tannadice, an extra-time win over the Jags saw promotion secured.
By then, Dundee were off the pace and had to settle for what was, to that point, their lowest league finish in the modern era.
Things had looked more hopeful in the early part of the campaign as Jim Duffy’s young side stormed to that League Cup Final and, just a week before their Hampden date, won at Tannadice.
For all the cup run that end in a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Aberdeen, provided some welcome cash, the club was in a financial crisis. That saw Danish midfielder Morten Wieghorst sold to Celtic at the turn of the year to raise much-needed funds. But for furious fans’ protests, a young Neil McCann would also have been sold to United.
That the Dens board, who’d been left to their own devices by Canadian owner Ron Dixon, even contemplated such a move was a sign of how dire their financial situation was.
When it came to derbies, United held the upper hand. The first came at Dens at the end of September when a Billy McKinlay hat-trick proved enough to edge out the home side, for whom Jim Hamilton notched a double.
Then came the December meeting at Tannadice which saw Dundee win 3-2. United won 2-0 at Dens in early January and recorded a victory by the same score at Tannadice in March.
What may interest the clubs’ American owners more than the scores from those games, is the fact, despite being in the second tier, the derby crowd held up well.
In fact, the aggregate attendance for the four games of 40,177 was over 2,000 higher than when they’d met at Premier League level two seasons earlier.
That may ease the financial pain for the owners but time will tell what the effect on long-suffering fans on both sides of Tannadice Street will be.