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30 Biggest Football Rivalries In Britain

20. Derby County vs Nottingham Forest (East Midlands derby)

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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.

19. Oxford United vs Swindon Town

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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.

18. Bristol City vs Bristol Rovers (Bristol derby)

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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.

17. Sheffield United vs Sheffield Wednesday (Steel City derby)

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Steel City derby is one of the most passionate and hotly contested derby matches in English football. 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.

16. Manchester City vs Liverpool

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This is probably the newest rivalry of all mentioned in this post. Over the past couple of seasons, matches between these two have provided enough fireworks to earn them a place among the biggest football rivalries in the UK. The supporters are more charged up for this game than their local derbies over the past few years. With both the teams competing for the Premier League title, it only makes the battle more interesting.

15. Ipswich Town vs Norwich City (East Anglian derby)

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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.

14. West Bromwich Albion vs Wolverhampton Wanderers (Black Country derby)

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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.

13. Chelsea vs Arsenal

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While they never considered each other primary rivals, as two of the biggest and most successful clubs in London there has always been a strong needle between the fans dating back to the 1930s. Matches between them would often attract large attendances. The Arsenal and Chelsea rivalry has been more recently considered an important derby, after Chelsea’s rise to the top class of the Premier League in the 2000s, when the two started to compete constantly for the Premier League title.

12. Aston Villa vs Birmingham (Second City Derby)

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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.

Back in the Victorian era, both teams represented townships – Aston Villa represented Aston and the area of Perry Barr, while BCFC, known as Small Heath Alliance, gathered a following from Small Heath and the growing town of Birmingham. Birmingham grew in size and absorbed much of the surrounding area – including Aston, and it still continues to do just that – with population and area growth. This derby is 12th in our list of ‘biggest football rivalries In Britain’.

11. Everton vs Liverpool (Merseyside derby)

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Merseyside derby is also known as the ‘friendly derby’, but there is nothing much friendly between these two nowadays. It is the longest-running top-flight derby in England, having been played continuously since the 1962–63 season.

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.

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A sports addict! @subhamchaurasia

12 thoughts on “30 Biggest Football Rivalries In Britain

  • Anonymous

    There is no dld firm. Rangers died in 2012

  • James Beattie

    Rangers were liquidated in 2012

  • Steel River Bhoy

    Rangers? Sorry mate, they were liquidated back in 2012.

  • Would it not be more correct to say the Celtic v “the Rangers” rivalry is the *result* of the ethnic and religious divisions in Glasgow, rather than a contributor? In fact, the divisions are so strong that they need the rivalry, to the point that it managed to survive the death of one of the teams; if the rivalry led to the divisions, the divisions would have become less significant when Rangers died, instead those divisions led to the creation of a new Rangers side that everyone pretends is the same team.

  • Who writes this. Think you have missed Palace v Brighton one of the biggest in English football.

  • Gqrdon Robinson RSE

    #1 should of been Sunderland v Newcastle

  • Thanx for the detailed discussion about this topic and being a Manchester United fan myself, it was quite overwhelming for me give this a read. But let me tell you about a different kind of rivalry which is also one of the oldest of all time. Hope you have heard about it, It’s between East Bengal and Mohun Bagan. If you haven’t, I have written a piece myself. u can give it a try if you want.

    From Subhra

    Blog Link: https://www.bengoalie.in/asias-biggest-rivalry-east-bengal-vs-mohun-bagan/

  • Graham Bluenose

    Your unwashed readers just need to check the official records. It’s no 10IAR for celtic and 55 titles for the worlds most successful team whether you like it or not. Well done Rangers.

  • Burnley v Blackburn bigger than Blues Villa.bollox

  • Stephen scogings

    The Ipswich v Norwich derby should be a lot higher because of the long history. Many listed are not derbys , but mere recent rivalrys

  • How is Man United vs Arsenal not included but Man City vs Liverpool is?

  • John Doherty

    You haven’t got a clue .Steve Bruce has managed and played in a lot if them derby’s.. He’s words Blues v villa never experienced any thing like it in England, Compared the first meeting to Gallatasry. He said Newcastle v Sunderland tasty.He said celtic v rangers, Fair enough. Manchester derby all media hype.I remember when it was tasty, Years ago. Liverpool v Everton use to stand together at the height of football violence. Spurs v Arsenal sit next to each other With a rope like you see at the pitures separating them..Other derby s that are still real ,West ham v millwall, 2nd to the Birmingham derby for arrests and disorder. Also up there is pompey v saints

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