In this article, we will be having a look at some of the biggest football rivalries in Midlands. Let’s start by splitting the region down the middle. To make it simple, we’re dividing the Midlands into two halves; East Midlands and West Midlands.
The big clubs in the East Midlands are Nottingham Forest, Derby County, and Leicester City. Also in the region: Notts County, Chesterfield and Northampton Town. The West Midlands, on the other hand, features Aston Villa, Birmingham City, Wolverhampton Wanderers, West Bromwich Albion, Stoke City, Shrewsbury Town, Walsall, Coventry City and a few others.
Let us begin with our list of 10 biggest football rivalries in Midlands.
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10. Birmingham City vs Wolves
When it comes to West Midlands derby matches, there’s plenty of needle to be found on the park whenever any of the area’s big four sides play each other. The Second City derby, Aston Villa v Birmingham City, is more than matched in competitiveness and intensity by the Black Country derby, between Wolves and West Bromwich Albion.
Even though they are not bitter rivals but there is dislike betwen the two for each other. The bragging at stake makes it an intense affair. This game could be regarded as one of the biggest football rivalries in Midlands.
So far, the clubs have faced 141 times, with Wolves winning 67 of them, while Villa won 41.
9. West Brom vs Birmingham City
It might not be a hotly-contested rivalry but it’s a local derby and both teams are trying to win. The main rivals of both the clubs are Wolves and Aston Villa respectively. Emotions also get pretty stirred up when there is a clash of the two clubs who take their names from the two main cities of the West Midlands. Similar is the case when West Brom and Birmingham City face each other.
In the 132 games played between the two, West Brom has won 60 and Birmingham City has won 35.
8. Stoke City vs Port Vale
The Potteries Derby is the local derby between the Potters and fellow Stoke-on-Trent based outfit Port Vale. The fans of each club both consider the other to be their main rivals, this has led to a heated atmosphere at these matches.
The two teams have met a total of 185 times, with Stoke winning 101 of them compared to Port Vale’s 44. One study in 2019 ranked it as the joint-28th biggest rivalry in English professional football, level with the Manchester derby.
7. Derby County vs Leicester City
This fixture between Leicester City and Derby County is a major football rivalry in the East Midlands. The fixture is often called an East Midlands derby and is one of the biggest football rivalries in Midlands. Although both clubs have a strong mutual dislike of each other, they both consider Nottingham Forest their main rivals.
Derby have a better record against Leicester beating them 46 times in 108 meetings. Leicester have won 34 meetings with 28 ending in draws. However, in recent years Leicester have dominated the fixture, having won 9 of the last 11 meetings.
6. Aston Villa vs West Brom
Aston Villa vs West Brom is one of the West Midlands derbies. While the younger generation typically tend to save their most abusive language for Birmingham City and Wolverhampton Wanderers, there’s still a section of supporters who see this as THE big West Midlands derby.
Their stadiums, Villa Park and The Hawthorns respectively, are four miles away from each other. Both clubs have bigger rivals—Birmingham City for the former in the Second City derby, and Wolverhampton Wanderers for the latter in the Black Country derby.
A 2010 article in The Daily Telegraph ranked the rivalry between Aston Villa and West Bromwich Albion as the third most fierce in the region, behind the two aforementioned derbies. Both the clubs have met 145 times, with Villa winning 68 compared to West Brom’s 47.
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5. Wolves vs Aston Villa
It is one which could well become more heightened in the coming years, with both clubs harbouring the same ambitions and facing some common problems in how precisely to achieve them.
Villa are obviously several steps behind Wolves, who needed only one campaign back in the top flight to break into European competition. But ultimately, the desired destination remains the same and both clubs know they will likely have to tread a similar path in order to reach it.
With both the clubs from the West Midlands region, expect this game to grow in stature. In the 127 games played between the two, Aston Villa has won 55, while Wolves has won 40.
4. Leicester City vs Nottingham Forest
The East Midlands is a funny place to determine local rivalries. Traditionally, a successful area of the country in terms of footballing heritage, being the home of Nottingham Forest, Derby County and of course, Leicester City. However, although there is little room for disputing the legitimacy of the ‘East Midlands Big 3’. There is significantly more doubt over the issue of who hates whom.
In 2003, the Football Fans Census aimed to highlight who football fans considered their clubs biggest rivals and there were no surprises in the East Midlands with all three naming each other as their two biggest rivals. Leicester ranks Forest as their number one rivals, while Forest also rates Leicester as their biggest rivals after Derby County.
So far 104 games have been played between them, with Leicester winning 40 and Forest winning 39.
3. Derby County vs Nottingham Forest
Nottingham Forest’s rivalry with Derby County is one steeped in history. 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.
Both clubs have had the privilege of being managed by legendary boss Brian Clough, with the Reds with enjoying their greatest era under his stewardship. The Rams also enjoyed success, winning the first division title. Since 2007 whenever the two teams meet the winner has been awarded the Brian Clough Trophy, in memory of Brian Clough
There have been a total of 405 meetings between them, with Forest winning 42 and Derby winning 37.
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2. Wolves vs West Brom
The black country derby between Wolves and West Brom is one of the most fierce football rivalry in English Football. One in four fans from both clubs claims that their rivalry went much deeper than football.
With both West Bromwich Albion and Wolverhampton Wanderers being founder members of the Football League in 1888, the Black Country derby between these two teams is one of the oldest in the world. The fixture was contested in each of the first 13 league seasons from 1888 to 1901.
West Brom shade the head-to-head record over the years. The Baggies have 64 wins to Wolves’ 53 and there have also been 43 draws in one of the biggest football rivalries in Midlands.
1. Aston Villa vs Birmingham City
The rivalry between Aston Villa and Birmingham City is known as the Second City Derby based on Birmingham being referred to as the second city of the United Kingdom. The two clubs are generally regarded as each other’s most fierce rivals.
The Second City derby has a rich and rocky history: it is English football’s equivalent of a clan dispute, passed on from generation to generation like the family silver. Like most local derbies, it is one that lives most vividly just not on the pitch, or even in the stadium, but in Birmingham’s surrogate battlegrounds: its shops and offices, its school playgrounds and building sites.
Washwood Heath Road, the old boundary between Birmingham and Aston, is generally regarded as the unofficial divide. To the north: Erdington, Kingstanding, Perry Barr and Sutton Coldfield are all regarded as Villa territory. To the south, Small Heath, King’s Heath, Bordesley Green, Solihull: blue and white turf.
The first meeting between them was in 1887, which was won by Villa 1-0. There have been 127 meetings in major competition between the two teams since then, of which Aston Villa have won 57 and Birmingham City 38.