Biggest Football Rivalries In Britain – Top 25

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.

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.

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. Both fancy themselves as the biggest and most successful.

Arsenal have won 13 league titles and 14 FA Cups, while Chelsea are the only British club to have bagged all three European trophies; the Cup Winners’ Cup, the Champions League and the Europa League. It’s swings and roundabouts. As such, they don’t get on very well.

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 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.

10. West Ham vs Tottenham

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While many Irons and Spurs supporters would consider Millwall and Arsenal respectively to be their arch-enemies, this derby has also proven to be pretty fierce for a number of decades. Spurs belittle the Irons, West Ham fights to prove their relevance. But the rivalry has nevertheless proven to be a reliable source of entertaining plot points and intriguing narratives.

9. Portsmouth vs Southampton (South Coast Derby)

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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.

Exactly when the fierce rivalry between the supporters of the two clubs began is not entirely clear. Until as recently as the early 1970s, many fans would go and watch the other team when their side was playing away, indicating anything but hatred. Some ascribe the growing rivalry since then to the cities’ diverging economic fortunes.

8. Blackburn vs Burnley (East Lancashire Derby)

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Eight miles separate the East Lancashire town of Burnley from Blackburn. Blackburn won their first honour in 1884 with victory in the FA Cup. Burnley’s first honour came in 1914 by winning the FA Cup.

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.

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A sports addict! @subhamchaurasia

8 thoughts on “Biggest Football Rivalries In Britain – Top 25

  • May 12, 2017 at 10:18 am

    There is no dld firm. Rangers died in 2012

  • August 7, 2017 at 10:42 pm

    Rangers were liquidated in 2012

  • November 14, 2017 at 6:07 pm

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

  • January 25, 2018 at 5:27 pm

    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.

  • December 21, 2020 at 4:55 pm

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

  • December 22, 2020 at 4:12 am

    #1 should of been Sunderland v Newcastle

  • February 18, 2021 at 6:41 am

    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/

  • March 26, 2021 at 6:33 pm

    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.

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