Biggest Football Rivalries In Britain – Top 25

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 25 biggest football rivalries in Britain.

25. Dundee FC vs Dundee United FC

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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. Chelsea vs Leeds

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Given that around 200 miles separate Elland Road from Stamford Bridge, this is no local derby. Yet it carries that intensity and has done for decades. This is an accepted fact in English football, yet why?

The rivalry first emerged in the 1960s after a series of fiercely contested and controversial matches. The two clubs were frequently involved in the pursuit of domestic and European honours culminating in the 1970 FA Cup Final, which is regarded as one of the most physical matches in English football history.

In the Official Chelsea Biography, Leeds were cited as one of Chelsea’s major rivalries. It is unarguably, one of the biggest football rivalries in Britain.

23. Hearts vs Hibernian (The Edinburgh derby)

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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.

Hearts have a better record in derbies, with 143 wins to 86 wins by Hibs in 325 competitive matches. There have been 650 Edinburgh derbies to date, meaning that almost half of all derbies have been played in local competitions and friendlies. Hearts hold a lead of 285 wins to 206 wins by Hibs overall.

22. Chester vs Wrexham (Cross-border Derby)

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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 Cross-border derby is often considered to be one of the biggest rivalries in the lower leagues of English football, due to the close proximity of Wrexham and Chester as they are the largest settlements in the area and the only clubs in that area to have played in The Football League.

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)

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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.

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. According to a survey on football rivalries, it is the 11th fiercest rivalry in English football, with 9 out of 10 fans from both clubs pointing to the other as their fiercest rival.

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.

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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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