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.
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
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)
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 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
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)
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)
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.