Britain is home to some of the most fierce rivalries in the world. Some of these matches are so intense that they are not just played on the pitch but also off it,which sometimes results in violent clashes. Today we will have a look at some of the biggest football rivalries in Britain.
Here are the Top 20 Biggest Football Rivalries In Britain –
20. Hearts vs Hibernian (The Edinburgh derby)
Edinburgh is the home of two of Scotland biggest clubs in Heart of Midlothian and Hibernian. The two football clubs were founded in the late 1800’s with Hearts being founded in 1874 and Hibs a few years later in 1875, that year was to mark the pairs first meeting which Hearts won 1-0 but it was the starting of a rivalry that was to last in the years to come and the pair were to meet more frequently.
Hearts have the better record in derbies, with 144 wins to 95 wins by Hibs in 334 competitive matches. There have been 638 Edinburgh derbies to date, meaning that almost half of all derbies have been played in local competitions and friendlies. Hearts hold a lead of 280 wins to 205 wins by Hibs overall.
19. Chester vs Wrexham (Cross-border Derby)
The derby is called cross-border because Chester is from England while Wrexham is a Welsh club.The clubs are 12 miles apart, though Chester’s Deva Stadium straddles the England–Wales border, and its pitch lies entirely in Wales.
The Cross-border derby is often considered to be one of the biggest rivalries in the lower leagues of English football, due to the close proximity of Wrexham and Chester as they are the largest settlements in the area and the only clubs in that area to have played in The Football League
The Welsh-English divide also makes it unique to other football derbies in Britain, as national identity is a large part of the two teams.Wrexham edged the English-Welsh derby with 70 victories against Chester’s 54.
18. Leeds vs Man United (Roses rivalry)
The rivalry originates from the strong enmity between the historic counties of Lancashire and Yorkshire, which is popularly believed to have its origins in the Wars of the Roses of the 15th century. Although the cities of Leeds and Manchester lie over 40 miles apart, the tradition is upheld and this strong feeling can still be seen between the two clubs
Manchester United has won 47 of these matches compared to Leeds’ 27.
17. Derby County vs Nottingham Forest (East Midlands derby)
Football matches held between Derby County and Nottingham Forest are often called the East Midlands derby, and there is a fierce rivalry between the two East Midlands clubs.
Since 2007 the winner of this fixture has won The Brian Clough Trophy, named after the legendary football boss who managed both sides. According to a survey on football rivalries it is the 11th fiercest rivalry in English football, with 9 out of 10 fans from both clubs pointing to the other as their fiercest rival.
Out of the 99 meetings in major competitions between these teams so far, Nottingham Forest has won 39 matches compared to Derby’s 37.
16. Oxford United vs Swindon Town
Swindon versus Oxford is one of those intense derby games that is rarely appreciated and understood outside of these parts. Here is a match full of passion and with its fair share of violence on and off the pitch over the years.
Lying 30 miles apart, they share a sporting rivalry that has thrived through the years, and is displayed at its most volatile when the two teams meet on the football field.
Swindon has won 23 meetings between these two compared to Oxford’s 17.
15. Bristol City vs Bristol Rovers (Bristol derby)
The fans of each club both consider the other to be their main rivals, leading to a heated atmosphere at these matches. The majority of the meetings between the teams have been in the Football League, and they used to meet annually in the Gloucestershire Cup.
Bristol City has won 105 matches played between these two ,while Bristol Rovers has won 65.
14. Sheffield United vs Sheffield Wednesday (Steel City derby)
Steel City derby is widely considered one of the most passionate and hotly contested derby matches in English football.The teams have met competitively a total of 127 times, with United having won 46 matches which is 4 more than Wednesday.
The teams first met on 15 December 1890 at Wednesday’s Old Olive Grove ground. With Sheffield Wednesday playing a friendly match against the newly formed Sheffield United and the home team won 2–1.
The first competitive Steel City Derby fixture took place on 16 October 1893 during the 1893–94 English Division 1 season , it ended 1–1.
13. Ipswich Town vs Norwich City (East Anglian derby)
Norwich City and Ipswich Town are the only fully professional football clubs in the neighbouring East Anglian counties of Norfolk and Suffolk, respectively.Winning the derby is one measure used to determine which club from the region can declare itself the “Pride of Anglia”.
The series began in the early 20th century, when both clubs were amateur, with the first derby between the two professional clubs taking place in 1939. There have been 142 derbies between these two, with Ipswich winning 60 to Norwich’s 57.
12. West Bromwich Albion vs Wolverhampton Wanderers (Black Country derby)
Black Country derby is one of the oldest in the world, with both clubs founder members of the English Football league. The derby is one of the most passionately contested in the country, with both clubs being of similar size with similar fanbases. The game attracts large crowds at The Hawthorns and Molineux. The record attendance for the derby is 60,945, set on 4 March 1950 in a 1–1 draw at The Hawthorns. That same season 56,661 saw the two sides draw 1–1 at Molineux. Both stand today as record league attendances for both clubs.
The first ever Black Country derby took place on 20 January 1883, when Albion won 4–2 in the third round of the Birmingham Senior Cup. The teams first met in the FA Cup on 2 January 1886, when Albion won 3–1 en route to reaching the final. In all, there have been 159 Black Country Derbies, seeing 64 Albion wins, 53 Wolves wins and 44 draws.
11. Aston Villa vs Birmingham (Second City Derby)
Second City derby is also called the Birmingham Derby as it is contested between two major clubs in the city of Birmingham – Aston Villa FC and Birmingham City FC. The two clubs are generally regarded as each other’s most fierce rivals.
There have been 120 meetings in major competition between the two teams,of which Aston Villa has won 53 and Birmingham City 38.
10. Everton vs Liverpool (Merseyside derby)
It is the longest running top-flight derby in England, having been played continuously since the 1962–63 season. Liverpool holds a lead of 91 wins to 66 wins by Everton overall.
The clubs first met in the Liverpool Senior Cup final which Liverpool won 1–0 in 1893. However, this was an amateur match and is not counted in either club’s records as an official Merseyside derby.
The first ever League meeting was in the 1894–95 season when Everton won 3–0 at Goodison Park; it was only at Liverpool’s sixth attempt that they beat Everton with a 3–1 win in 1897–98 at Anfield.
9. Portsmouth vs Southampton (South Coast Derby)
Portsmouth and Southampton are the two most successful clubs on the southern coast of England, and lie only 19 miles apart.
The first match between the two clubs came in a friendly at Portsmouth’s Fratton Park ground on 6 September 1899. The match was won 2–0 by Portsmouth, with goals from Dan Cunliffe and Harold Clarke.
So far the clubs have met 139 times overall including friendlies,with Portsmouth winning 62 times compared to Southampton’s 56.But in major competitions,the clubs have met 70 times with Saints dominating with 34 victories compared to Pompey’s 21.
8. Blackburn vs Burnley (East Lancashire Derby)
Both of them are former English football Champions with Blackburn winning the League in 1911-12,1913-14 and 1994-95.Burnley won the top division twice in 1920-21 and 1959-1960.Blackburn have also won 6 FA Cups compared to Burnley single FA Cup victory in 1914.
The first ever competitive league match between these two took place at Turf Moor in 1888, Blackburn won the game 7–1. Blackburn also won the return fixture at Ewood Park 4–2.
So far the clubs have met 112 times with Burnley winning 47 games ,which is 2 more than what Blackburn has managed.
7. Cardiff vs Swansea (South Wales Derby)
The South Wales derby is played between Welsh clubs Cardiff City and Swansea City and is regarded as one of the most fierce rivalries in British football.Despite both clubs being in Wales, they play in the English football league system and have won English honours: Cardiff the FA Cup in 1927 and Swansea the Football League Cup in 2013.
In the 1990s this was one of the toughest fixtures to police, and Swansea fans still wear swimming caps and armbands after they chased Cardiff fans into the sea after a particularly gruesome fixture in Swansea in 1988.
The first match between the two sides took place on 7 September 1912 at Swansea Town’s Vetch Field, a Southern Football League Division Two match ending in a 1–1 draw. So far the clubs have met 107 times with Cardiff winning 44 times and Swansea 35.
6. Manchester City vs Manchester United (Manchester Derby)
Manchester City and Manchester United are two of the biggest clubs in England.These clubs have millions of supporters worldwide.This huge fan base makes this game one of the most anticipated fixture,not only in Manchester or England but in the whole world.
The first meeting between the two teams occurred on 12 November 1881, when St. Mark’s – who would later become Manchester City – hosted Newton Heath – who would later become Manchester United. The game finished 3–0 in favour of Newton Heath.
So far the clubs have played 174 matches in all competitions, United winning 72, City 50, and the remaining 52 having been drawn.
The biggest victories have been to City who have won 6–1 on two occasions ,both times in the away fixture at Old Trafford, on 23 January 1926 and 23 October 2011
5. Millwall vs West Ham
Millwall and West Ham United rivalry is also known as Dockers derby and is one of the longest-standing and most bitter rivalries in English football.
The two teams, then known as Millwall Athletic and Thames Ironworks, both originated in the East End of London, and were located under three miles apart. They first played each other in the 1899–1900 FA Cup. In 1910 Millwall moved south of the River Thames and the teams were no longer East London neighbours. Even so, the derbies retained their passion and both sets of supporters still consider the other club their main rival.
The teams, however, didn’t meet much as West Ham was mostly in a division or two higher than Millwall. However, whenever they did, hell broke lose. The 70s and 80s were the dark ages of English Football. That was a time when football hooliganism was at its peak across England, and sections of the fan base were more interested in clashing with the rival firms than letting their teams fight it out on the pitch. A nadir was reached when a Millwall fan was killed in 1976 after a brawl with the West Ham fans at the New Cross Station. In the aftermath of his death, leaflets were handed out in The Den which declared ‘A West Ham Fan Must Die To Avenge His Death’ a week before the match.
So far the clubs have met 99 times with Millwall winning 38 of those compared to West Ham’s 34.
4. Arsenal vs Tottenham (North London Derby)
North London Derby is one of the biggest games in the English football.Both Arsenal and Tottenham fans have recognised each other as one of their biggest rivals and the derby is one of the fiercest in English football.
The first meeting between the two teams was a friendly on 19 November 1887, when Arsenal were known as Royal Arsenal. The match was abandoned 15 minutes before it was due to end due to darkness with Spurs leading 2–1.The first League match between the clubs was in the First Division, on 4 December 1909; Arsenal won 1–0.
However, a proper rivalry between the two teams did not begin until 1913, when Arsenal moved from the Manor Ground, Plumstead to Arsenal Stadium, Highbury, just four miles from Tottenham’s White Hart Lane; by doing so, they became Tottenham’s nearest neighbours and thus began a natural local rivalry.
There have been 183 competitive first-class meetings between the two teams since the first league meeting in 1909, of which Arsenal has won 80 and Tottenham 62.
3. Newcastle vs Sunderland (Tyne-Wear derby)
Tyne-Wear derby is an inter-city rivalry in North East England with the two cities of Sunderland and Newcastle just twelve miles apart.
Newcastle and Sunderland are two of the best supported clubs in the country in a region where everyone, whether they like football or not, is aware of what is happening at the two biggest clubs.The first meeting of the two sides took place in 1883, with the first competitive fixture being an 1888 FA Cup tie, which Sunderland won 2–1.Out of 155 meetings between these two both teams have won the fixture 53 times.
Despite all the support both these clubs have suffered from lack of Silverware. Sunderland have not won a major trophy since the FA Cup in 1973, Newcastle have not won one since the Fairs Cup in 1969. They are two of English football’s greatest underachievers.
2. Man Utd vs Liverpool
The rivalry runs much deeper than football, a natural consequence of having two major cities 35 miles apart – they vie with each other in terms of culture, commerce, science and just about everything else as well.Most people date the rivalry back to the building of the Manchester Ship Canal in 1894 leading to huge job losses in Merseyside.
Players, fans and the media alike often consider games between the two clubs to be their biggest rivalry, above even their own local derby competitions with Everton and Manchester City, respectively.
They are the two clubs are the most successful English teams in both domestic and European competitions; and between them they have won 38 league titles, 8 European Cups, 3 UEFA Cups, 4 UEFA Super Cups, 19 FA Cups, 13 League Cups, 1 FIFA Club World Cup, 1 Intercontinental Cup and 36 FA Community Shields.
Manchester United has won 79 games compared to Liverpool’s 65 in the 198 meetings between these teams so far.
1. Celtic vs Rangers (Old Firm derby)
The Old Firm is the collective name for the Scottish football clubs Celtic and Rangers, who are both based in Glasgow.The rivalry between the two clubs has become deeply embedded in Scottish culture and has contributed to the political, social and religious division in Scotland and also beyond
The clubs have large fan bases around Glasgow but also supporters clubs in most towns throughout Scotland and Northern Ireland and in many cities around the world.
The two clubs are the most successful in Scotland, between them having won 102 Scottish League championships, Rangers with 54 and Celtic with 48, 69 Scottish Cups and 43 Scottish League Cups.
Rangers and Celtic have played each other 408 times in major competitions: Rangers has won 159 matches, Celtic 152 matches and 98 ended in a draw.