Over the years, Leeds have had many intense rivalries. Some dating back to as early as the 1900s, and some more recent. These aren’t necessarily local rivalries, as most Leeds fans wouldn’t consider their local clubs, as biggest rivals. In this article, we will have a look at some of the most hated rivals of Leeds United.
Considering history, fans opinion, game atmosphere and intensity, here are the 5 most hated rivals of Leeds United.
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5. Leeds United vs Huddersfield Town
Leeds United are one of the most well-known teams in the history of English football, but in recent times they have become a shadow of the juggernaut they once were.
It is their long-standing bitter rivalry with local side Huddersfield Town that has really come to the forefront in the last few years.
Back in the 1920s, Huddersfield became the first side in English football to win three consecutive top flight titles. As well as this they claimed an FA Cup and a Charity Shield, solidifying their place in the history books.
Under legendary manager Don Revie, the Whites became one of the most feared sides in Europe as they won two league championships, an FA Cup, a League Cup, two European Fairs Cups and the Charity Shield. Huddersfield could merely watch from afar as Leeds continued to excel at the highest level.
All this resulted in the birth of a rivalry and the clash to have the bragging rights.
4. Leeds United vs Derby County
Where did this rivalry start off? It all started off because of two men – Brian Clough and Don Revie.
The Rams had pipped Leeds to the Division One title in 1972 on the final game of the season thanks to the brilliant management of Clough. He then had a fallout with the Derby board and a short stint at Brighton saw him take over at Elland Road take over from his old rival Revie – who had been hired as England boss.
Clough’s infamous reign in charge of the Whites came to a close after just 44 days in 1974. It came after a bitter war of words between the two while Clough was in charge of Derby, where he branded Leeds’ successful style of play as ‘dirty’ and ‘cheating’.
After Clough was sacked by Leeds, him and Revie debated one another on Yorkshire Television’s Calendar on that very evening on September 12 1974. However, Clough had the last laugh – leading Nottingham Forest to two European Cups while Revie ultimately failed as England manager.
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3. Leeds United vs Millwall
The rivalry between Leeds United and Millwall is a bitter North–South divide rivalry in English football. The rivalry began in League One during the 2007–08 season, with disorder and violent clashes between both sets of fans and the police at Elland Road. It continued into the 2008–09 season; where the teams were vying for promotion to the Championship, culminating in Millwall knocking Leeds out of the League One playoffs at the semi-final stage.
Millwall is undoubtedly, one of the most hated rivals of Leeds United. The rivalry between the teams is intensified by both clubs passionate fans and association with football hooliganism. Leeds and Millwall are two of the most hated clubs in England, with supporters of other teams still attaching a stigma of trouble to the clubs and their fans.
According to a survey conducted during the 2012–13 season, Leeds fans consider Millwall to be their joint-third biggest rival along with West Yorkshire side Huddersfield Town. Millwall’s main rival is fellow London club West Ham United, with Leeds on second position.
2. Leeds United vs Chelsea
Chelsea is among the most hated rivals of Leeds United.Starting in the 1960s, Chelsea vs. Leeds was one of the most controversial fixtures in the English footballing calendar.
The rivalry was dubbed “Yorkshire grit vs. flash Cockney.” This was due to Leeds being known as a “dirty” team, but Chelsea were also known for their aggression and strong tackling.
This combination of aggression and passion culminated in many fiercely-contested games between the clubs.m Unfortunately, this aggression made its way to the fans, resulting in a lot of hooligan activity at Chelsea vs. Leeds fixtures.
This fierce rivalry carried on for three decades, with Leeds fans naming Chelsea as their second-biggest rivals after Manchester United in a poll taken in 2003.
But since the clubs have taken different paths in their fortunes, the hatred between them has died down—but if Leeds were to grab a place in the top-flight again, it could be reignited.
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1. Leeds United vs Man Utd
Manchester United have an intense rivalry with Leeds United that began as early as 1906 but has its roots much further back in history.
The War of the Roses in the 15th Century, fought between the House of Lancaster (the red rose) and the House of York (the white rose) created a sense of bitterness between the two areas from either side of the Pennines that has never truly disappeared.
The fact one team plays in red and the other in white (well, since 1961 anyway) only accentuates that link. It is also a fact that Manchester and Leeds were rivals for business during the Industrial Revolution during the 18th and 19th centuries, and even now compete for new companies investing in the cities.
Games between the Uniteds, such as this 1970 FA Cup semi-final at Hillsborough, always draw in the crowds.
In footballing terms, it all began with a 3-0 win for Leeds at Bank Street in Division Two, back in January 1906. The Reds gained revenge in a first outing at Elland Road a few months later, securing a 3-1 victory, but trips to the West Yorkshire ground would become ones to face with trepidation.
Due to the Whites’ prolonged stint outside the Premier League, there has only been one more clash in the last nine years – a League Cup tie at Elland Road in 2011, when Michael Owen scored twice in the Reds’ 3-1 success. That latest encounter showed that hostility remains as strong as ever.