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. Let us have a look at some of the biggest football rivalries in Britain.
Here are the 30 biggest football rivalries in Britain.
30. AFC Wimbledon vs MK Dons
With the gall of a tribute band claiming to be the original, MK Dons controversially seized Wimbledon’s history and league position. MK Dons won over some neutrals by being relegated in 2006 and handing the trophies back to AFC Wimbledon in 2007, but they’re still reviled. It is now one of the biggest football rivalries in Britain.
29. Scunthorpe United vs Hull City vs Grimsby Town (Humber Derby)
The clubs are based in the River Humber region, with Hull based on the north bank in Yorkshire and Scunthorpe and Grimsby on the south bank in Lincolnshire. The Humber derby is one of the forgotten rivalries in English football, as nowadays it is so rarely contested. With all three teams in different divisions, they have to rely on cup games to face each other.
28. Luton Town vs Watford (Beds–Herts Derby)
South-eastern English football clubs Luton Town and Watford have been rivals since their respective formations in the late 19th century. In the 1990s, Watford’s signing of former Luton legend Kerry Dixon created a schism amongst the club’s fans, who actually ended up fighting each other over the issue during one home game.
27. Exeter vs Plymouth Argyle (Devon derby)
Devon derby, which is played between Exeter City and Plymouth Argyle, is one of the biggest football rivalries in England. Fans of both the clubs consider each other as their main rivals. The Pilgrims were the first of the Devon clubs to become professional in 1903. Exeter, traditionally, a rugby city, followed five years later. And they have been rivals since.
26. Blackpool vs Preston North End (West Lancashire derby)
When it comes to Lancashire we have some pretty tasty rivalries but few come close to the fabled West Lancashire Derby; also known as the M55 derby. These two clubs and their fans despise each other. This derby has taken place across all four tiers of English football, but not in the Premier League yet.
25. Dundee FC vs Dundee United FC
The Dundee derby is a football match between Dundee and Dundee United. The clubs are based yards apart in the city of Dundee, the fourth-largest city in Scotland. Dundee is the older of the two, having been founded in 1893, compared to Dundee United which was founded in 1909 as Dundee Hibernian following the demise of Dundee Harp, a club founded by Irish immigrants in 1879.
24. Brighton vs Crystal Palace
The origins of the tension between Palace and Brighton stems from a series of incidents between the clubs in the 1970s when former team-mate managers and arch-rivals Alan Mullery and Terry Venables were bossing Brighton and Palace respectively. There were cup ties, controversies, coffee thrown from the stands. Thus a deep antagonism was born.
23. 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 1800s 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.
22. 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 Welsh-English divide also makes it unique to other football derbies in Britain, as national identity is a large part of the two teams.
21. Leeds vs Man United (Roses rivalry)
It is among one of the oldest and biggest football rivalries In Britain. 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.