20. 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.
19. 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.
18. 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.
17. Sheffield United vs Sheffield Wednesday (Steel City derby)
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
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)
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)
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
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)
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)
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.