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Top20 European Football Rivalries

"Here's 20 Great European Matches and Rivalries, that you must see before you croak it."

 

 

 

1 - BARCELONA v REAL MADRID

 

History *****

On-Pitch ****

In The Stands ***


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In our opinion the greatest footballing rivalry on the planet, but its not just about football. This rivalry goes back a long way taking in political, national identity and civil war issues.

 

The Catalonian Side:
In 1925, the Barcelona crowd at a friendly game played at Les Corts (Barcelona's original ground), jeered the Spanish national anthem ‘The Royal March', and cheered ‘God Save The King', which was being played by the visiting British Royal Marines Band; a spontaneous reaction against Primo de Rivera's dictatorship, based from Madrid. As a reprisal, the Les Corts stadium was closed and club president Joan Gamper, was accused of promoting Catalan nationalism and promptly expelled from Barcelona and Spain itself.
Barcelona now entered a period of footballing decline, in which political and national conflict overshadowed sport throughout society.
Not long after the Spanish Civil War began, Barça's new left-wing president Josep Sunyol was murdered by Francisco Franco's soldiers near to Guadarrama. Then in 1938, the fascists led by Franco dropped a bomb on the club's offices and caused major damage. A few months later and Barcelona was under fascist occupation and as a symbol of the 'undisciplined' Catalanism, the club, now down to just over three thousand members, was facing a fight for its very existence.
After the Spanish Civil War, the Catalan language and flag were banned and football clubs were prohibited from using non-Spanish names. These measures led to the club having its name forcibly changed to Club de Fútbol Barcelona and the removal of the Catalan flag from the club shield. During the Franco dictatorship one of the few places that Catalan could be spoken freely was within the club's stadium. This is why Barcelona, the football club is so very important to the people of the city and Catalonia.
In 1943, Barcelona faced rivals Real Madrid (Real is Spanish for Royal and was Franco's ‘team' and later King Carlos's too) in the semi-finals of the Copa del Generalísimo. The first match at Les Corts was won by Barcelona 3-0. Before the second leg, Barcelona's players had a changing room visit from Franco's director of state security. He 'reminded' them that they were only playing due to the 'generosity of the regime'. Under these conditions, Real Madrid dominated the match, thrashing Barcelona with a 11-1 win and numerous dodgy refereeing decisions.
Despite the difficult political situation, CF Barcelona enjoyed considerable success during the 1940s, winning the La Liga for the first time in sixteen years and carried on this success into the first half of the 1950's.
On a Sunday of 1951 in the pissing rain, the Barcelona crowd left Les Corts stadium after a 2-1 win against Racing Santander by foot, refusing to catch any trams and surprising the Francoist authorities. The reason was simple; at the same time, a tram strike took place in Barcelona, receiving the support of blaugrana fans. Events like this have made FC Barcelona represent much more than just Catalonia and many progressive Spaniards see the club as a staunch defender of rights and freedoms, whereas Real Madrid is seen as the club of the ruling factors; royally and the government, and chasing the most famous players in the world in the transfer market.
The rivalry between the two clubs was intensified during the 1950s when the clubs disputed the signing of Alfredo Di Stefano. Di Stefano had impressed both Barcelona and Real Madrid whilst playing for Club Deportivo Los Millonarios in Bogota, during a players' strike in his native Argentina. Both Real Madrid and Barcelona attempted to sign him and, due to confusion emerging due to the Di Stefano moving to Millonarios from River Plate due to the strike, as both clubs claimed to own his registration. Subsequently, both Barcelona and Real Madrid believed that they had signed him. After intervention from the Spanish FA, Barcelona backed down and Di Stefano moved to Real Madrid. Rumour has it that Barcelona were forced to step down by Franco and lets face it, the rumours were probably true! Di Stefano became integral in the subsequent success achieved by the Real Madrid, scoring twice in his first game against Barcelona. With him, the great Real Madrid side won five European Cups in a row, with the likes of Di Stefano, Puskas and Gento.
The 1960s saw their rivalry reach the European stage when they met twice in the European Cup, Real Madrid winning in 1960 and FC Barcelona winning in 1961. But it was the club from the Spanish capital that dominated the Spanish game domestically.
The 1970's was a different matter with the introduction of three Dutchmen; manager Rinus Michels and two players, Johan Cruyff and Johan Neeskins, culminating in 1974 with Barcelona winning the title for the first time since 1960 and beating Real Madrid 5-0 in their own backyard at the Bernabeu, with a Cruyff masterclass. 1974 also saw the club revert to their FC Barcelona moniker.
The first four years of the 1980's saw another region wanting its own independence winning the La Liga, as first the Basque club Real Sociedad won consecutive titles (Welshman John Toshack managed the side for its first title in 1990) before their near neighbours Athletico Bilbao won the following two La Ligas. Real Madrid dominated the rest of the decade apart from one solitary season in 84/85 when a Terry Venables led Barcelona won the La Liga title. In that winning team was Scot Steve Archibald. The 80's also saw Barcelona players like Bernd Schuster and Michael Laudrup leave the Nou Camp to join their bitter rivals, though this betrayal was nothing compared to when Luis Figo famously left Barcelona for Real Madrid at the turn of the millennium, and was bombarded with missiles and a pig's head when he played in the white of Real at the Nou Camp.
In the season after the title win being celebrated in Barcelona (except the staunchest of Espanyol followers), new signing Gary Lineker had the pleasure of scoring a hat-trick in the El Classico in a 3-2 win, but Real Madrid claimed the title come the end of the season.
Real Madrid had won five La Ligas in a row after that one Barcelona success but then it was Barcelona's turn to dominate from the start to the mid 90's as Cruyff returned to the Catalan club as manager and set about putting together what is known as the ‘Dream Team'. Real Madrid came back to the fore towards the end of the 90's, before Barcelona took back the mantle at the end of the decade, under the stewardship of Louis Van Gaal.
The millennium was a mixed bag for both clubs with Real Madrid starting off with success in Spain and in Europe, even beating Barcelona in the 2002 Champions League semi-final with Steve McManaman claiming a man of the match award. Then as the two heavyweights argued amongst themselves, the La Liga saw the emergence of first Deportivo de La Coruna and then Valencia as contenders to their crown. But by 2004 Barcelona had forced their way back to the top under another Dutchman's guidance in Frank Rijkaard, while Real Madrid went about buying up the world superstars or Galaticos as they were famously known, to try and replicate Cruyff's ‘Dream Team' but the Galaticos for three years never saw any success despite the huge amounts of money spent by the Madrid club. They finally won the title in 2007 under the strict stewardship of Fabio Capello, but then was criminally sacked for not playing the sexy football the board fantasized over and watched being played at the Nou Camp. They ridiculously sacked the successful and popular Del Bosque after guiding them to continuous domestic and European trophies and immediately regretted that. I think they'll soon regret getting shot of Capello, though that seems to be England's gain now.
Barcelona seem to be on top once more, with Catalonian legend and Cruyff's ‘Dream Team' libero Pepe Guardiola in his first season in charge and sweeping all before them in Spain and the Champions League, playing the kind of silky football expected of the great institution.
Early this month they went to the Bernabeu and destroyed Real Madrid 6-2 and all but wrapped up the La Liga title.
Is this another Dream Team and Barcelona dominance in the making?
One things for sure, the intense rivalry between the main clubs of Barcelona and Madrid will always be there and always be a joy to watch. It's very rare that the El Classico is not a classic encounter.

 

 

 


2 - GLASGOW RANGERS v GLASGOW CELTIC

 

History ****

On-Pitch ****

In The Stands ****
 
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The Old Firm:

The Scottish football teams Celtic and Rangers, both based in Glasgow, are collectively referred to as the Old Firm.
The two clubs are the most successful in Scotland, having won between them 68 Scottish Cups and 94 Scottish League championship titles. Interruptions to their ascendancy have occurred infrequently, most recently with the challenge of the New Firm of Aberdeen and Dundee United in the first half of the 1980s and in the 1950s with the capital sides Hibernian and Hearts. Rangers and Celtic have played each other 386 times, with Rangers winning 154 matches, Celtic 139 matches and 93 draws.
The clubs have large support bases around Glasgow, but also have supporters clubs in most towns throughout Scotland and in many cities around the world, especially in Ireland where the North is mainly a Rangers stronghold while the South is Celtic nuts. The presence of Rangers and Celtic has been estimated to be worth £120 million to the Scottish economy.
The competition between the two clubs has roots in more than just a simple footballing rivalry. It is infused with disputes centred on religion (Catholic and Protestant) and Northern Ireland-related politics (Loyalist and Republican). The result has been an enduring enmity between fans that has been manifested in a history laden with sectarian violence.
Rangers' traditional support was largely, but by no means exclusively, from the Protestant community, while Celtic's was, but by no means exclusively, from those of Irish extraction. Celtic have had a historic association with the Catholic peoples of Ireland, and some Celtic fans sing Irish Republican songs. Rangers fans are traditionally loyalists, with terraces chants that reflect that point of view. One effect is that Scottish flags are relatively rare among supporters; Celtic fans are more likely to wave the Irish tricolour while Rangers fans tend to wave the Union Jack Flag. Also songs to be heard from the terraces will include anti-Pope chants from Ibrox and anti-Queen (the monarch not the band!) songs at Celtic Park.
Celtic dominated the mid 1960's to the mid 1970's, winning 9 league titles in a row and collecting the European Cup in 1967 by beating Inter Milan. This was under the legendary leadership of manager Jock Stein. Rangers pulled some pride back by winning the title in consecutive seasons in 74' and 75', but the 80's was a disappointing decade for the Blues as the title was shared around by Celtic, Dundee Utd and Alex Ferguson's Aberdeen.
This was until Graeme Souness arrived at Ibrox from Italy as Player-Manager and set about turning around and revolutionizing the club, bringing quality into the squad from south of the border with the likes of Terry Butcher, Chris Woods, Graham Roberts, Trevor Steven, Gary Stevens, Mark Hateley and for a short time Trevor Francis and Ray Wilkins. Souness won the Championship in his first season before Celtic won it back the following year, as Souness hung up his boots in his manager's office.  
The ferocity of the rivalry has made it rare for a player to represent both teams during his career. Players who have played for both sides of the Old Firm include Alfie Conn, Maurice Johnston, Kenny Miller and Steven Pressley. Rangers' signing of Johnston caused particular controversy because, although he was not the first Catholic to play for Rangers, he was by far the highest-profile openly Catholic player to do so since World War I. In addition to this, it was the belief of many at Celtic Park that Johnston would re-sign for the club, to the extent that it was publicised that Johnston would be signing. Until Graeme Souness signed former Celtic player Mo Johnston, in 1989, Rangers were said by him to have had an "unwritten policy" of not signing any player who was Catholic.
To the delight of their supporters Rangers completely dominated Scottish football and mirrored their bitter city rivals by winning 9 league titles in a row; the first three with Souness and then the next 6 under his assistant Walter Smith, when Souness left to manage Liverpool.
Rangers still had players with star quality in the shape of Brian Laudrup, Jorge Albertz and Paul Gascoigne. Gascoigne signed for Rangers in July 1995, for a fee of £4.3 million. He made an instant impact at Rangers , running almost the length of the pitch to score in the first Old Firm match of the season at Celtic Park.
He further endeared himself to Rangers fans but of course became public enemy No.1 in the green half of Glasgow when in January 1998, Paul Gascoigne found his life being threatened by the IRA after he mimicked playing a flute (symbolic of the flute-playing of Orange Order marchers, offensive to Roman Catholics) during an Old Firm match at Celtic Park, which was televised live on SkySports. He had previously done the same after scoring against Steaua Bucharest in a 1995 pre-season friendly which had gone largely unnoticed. The gesture infuriated Celtic fans and Gascoigne was fined £20,000 by Rangers and was subjected to IRA death threats for around six months after the incident
Both Rangers and Celtic accept that they have a problem with sectarianism, and both admit that a proportion of their supporters have been, and continue to be, guilty of perpetuating partisan, sectarian and cultural intolerance.
In 2006, Rangers were ordered by UEFA to make a public announcement at all of their home games prohibiting the chanting of the song ‘Billy Boys'. Celtic club chairman Brian Quinn dismissed calls to institute a list of what songs are unacceptable at Celtic Park, and chief executive Peter Lawwell defended the singing of ‘Irish ballads' at matches.
On the pitch, after Rangers 9 in a row, the SPL title went back and forth between the two clubs, under a succession of different managers, though one thing was constant, in the goalscoring feats of Celtic's Henrik Larsson.
Currently Celtic are on a run of 3 titles on the run, though last year's triumph was really Rangers losing the title after capitulating in the final fixture back-log after reaching the Uefa Cup Final with Walter Smith back at the helm.
Going into the last week of this season, its both the Glasgow sides contesting the title, with Rangers two points clear of Celtic with one game to go.
The fighting on the pitch and the stands might have subsided in the last year or so, but the intensity is still there as this is more than a footballing rivalry.

 

 

 

 

3 - HADJUK SPLIT v DINAMO ZAGREB

 

History ***

On-Pitch ***

In The Stands *****
 
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This Croatian clash used be just a friendly sporting rivalry. It was the match between Dinamo Zagreb and Red Star Belgrade in the old Yugoslavian league that sported all the hatred. This was during the Yugoslavian civil wars and the Croatian people were fighting for their own identity and survival.
One of the stars at that time for Dinamo was their captain Zvonimir Boban. Boban started his career with Dinamo Zagreb. In the now-infamous game against Red Star Belgrade in May 1990, he attacked a policeman who was beating a Dinamo supporter when a riot broke out between the two sets of fans. This incident made Boban a national hero in Croatia.
Since Croatia's independence from Yugoslavia, the Hadjuk Split v Dinamo Zagreb has taken on a sinister and violent rivalry.
Hajduk is the team of Dalmatia and Dinamo is the team of the Zagreb region. They are both proud to be Croatian and they both hate everything that comes from Belgrade, but the Hadjuk Ultras, Torcida (taken from Brazil) and the Bad Blue Boys Ultras (actually taken from the film!) of Dinamo Zagreb, seemed to have forgotten their previous solidarity and now don't get along at all and fight with as much fervour as they would have done in the old days against the Yugoslavs.
Relations between the clubs were not helped when Dinamo Zagreb's young captain and fans favourite Niko Kranjcar signed for Hadjuk Split in 2005 and promptly won the title with Hadjuk in his first season.

 

 

 


4 - FENERBAHCE v GALATASARAY

 

History ****

On-Pitch ****

In The Stands ****

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The Bosphorus Sea strait separates the Turkish city of Istanbul in an European side and an Asian side. Galatasaray was founded by students of the galatasaray lycee and is on the European side. Fenerbahce is on the Asian side and has a largely working class following. The club used to be the people's club while Galatasaray was supported by the rich and famous. Nowadays Fenerbahce also has the financial support of some very rich fans.
Fenerbahce has been very successful in the past and therefore has a traditional larger fanbase, though in the 1990's Galatasaray became very successful which had its influence on younger fans and are now closing in on Fenerbahce's numbers.
Friday 23 February 1934 was the day when unexpected riots happened at a supposed to be friendly match between Fenerbahçe and Galatasaray played at Taksim Stadium. Both teams wanted to win badly and therefore the match had to be stopped many times because of violent fouls. The high tension on the pitch caused high tension on the stands as well. The game ended with players fighting, the pitch turned out to be a war zone. The referee had no choice except to abandon the match. It was the end of friendly displays between both clubs and start the intense rivalry known today.
Scotland's very own Graeme Souness caused a big stink while managing Galatasaray in the 95/96 season. Fenerbahçe were competing for the title with Trabzonspor while Galatasaray were struggling. When Galatasaray reached the Cup Final against Fenerbahce, everybody thought it would be an easy win for Fenerbahce. There were even some insults as if Galatasaray wasn't a worthy opponent and the Fenerbahce chairman also made some comments about Souness as a coach. Galatasaray surprisingly beat Fenerbahce in the 1st leg by a Dean Saunders penalty. The 2nd leg was played in the hellish atmosphere of the Fenerbahce stadium (in those days it was even more intimidating than Galatasaray's ground). After 90 minutes Fenerbahce were leading 1-0, but in extra time Dean Saunders equalised, winning the cup for Galatasaray. Souness took a giant Galatasaray flag and planted it in the centre of the pitch. This wasn't appreciated by the Fenerbahce fans of course but he was the hero for all Galatasaray fans that day, though Fenerbahce won the title and Souness had to leave Galatasaray because of their poor league position despite winning their enemies and lifting the cup.
Galatasaray then began to dominate domestically and also enjoyed success in Europe, for the next four years under the guidance of Fatih Terim.
For the next 8 years up until this year Fenerbahce have won 4 Super Lig titles, to Galatasaray's 3 titles.
You've seen what the atmosphere at these Turkish grounds are like on European night games, and this Istanbul derby is even more electric, with build-up starting weeks before the fixture, which quite often spills into violence in the streets and at the stadiums.

 



5 - OLYMPIAKOS v PANATHINAIKOS

 

History ***

On-Pitch ****

In The Stands ****


This is the derby between the 'eternal enemies' of Greek football and the most classic match of the capital. In the past Olympiakos Piraeus used to represent the working class while Panathinaikos represented the upper class of Athens. Now the situation has changed. The fanbases of both the clubs are almost similar and they are supported by strong economical and political groups.

 



6 - AJAX v FEYENOORD

 

History ****

On-Pitch ****

In The Stands *****

The matches between Ajax, Feyenoord and PSV are also known as 'Klassiekers'.
Despite the results of PSV Eindhoven in recent years Ajax-Feyenoord is the most important 'Klassieker' in The Netherlands.
Ajax not only dominated Dutch football in the 70's but also Europe also, which they then replicated in the 90's too, after PSV took the 1980's crown, but Feyenoord have just one trophy success since the turn of the new millennium.
Unlike PSV, Ajax and Feyenoord are teams from two of the biggest cities in Holland with a long history and fans all over the country.
Both sets of fans detest each other. The Feyenoord fans call Ajax followers 'Joden' (Yids) because Ajax has some Jewish history, though it isn't a Jewish club though. They are also called 'Neuzen' (Noses) because of the perception that Jewish people have big noses. Ajax call Feyenoord 'Kakkerlakken' (cockroaches).
In recent years there was not very much trouble around the matches because of the large security measures, but the hooligans try to meet on different occasions and locations like in Beverwijk in 1997, where some of the worst ever football violence seen took place, and one life was lost and many seriously injured, in a field next to a highway.
Don't get too mashed and monged in Amsterdam before the game. You'll need your wits about you, for this one!

 

 



7 - RED STAR BELGRADE v PARTIZAN BELGRADE

 

History ***

On-Pitch ****

In The Stands ****

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FK Partizan were founded in 1945 as the football section of the central club of the Yugoslavian Army. Red Star was founded in 1945 as well but it was more the civil club.
Matches between the two are known as the "Eternal Derby".  The record attendance for a Red Star-Partizan match is around 108,000, the lowest 8,000 for a Yugoslav Cup semi-final in 2005. In league matches, the derby has been played 133 times; Red Star winning on 57 occasions and Partizan 34 times. In cup games, Red Star have won 17 of the 31 fixtures, Partizan 10.

In addition to their rivalries, Red Star have two friendship clubs, Olympiacos of Greece and Spartak Moscow of Russia. The fans of the three teams have been dubbed ‘Orthodox Brothers'.
Red Star Belgrade are the more well know club outside of Yugoslavia due to their 1991 European Cup Final win, with the superb midfield quartet of Prosinecki, Savicevic, Jugovic and Mihajlovic, and leading scorer Darko Pancev upfront.

 

 



8 - LAZIO v ROMA

 

History ****

On-Pitch ****

In The Stands ****

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Both teams hate the arrogance from the Northern teams of Inter, AC and Juventus but they despise each other more! AS Roma is the team supported in the popular roman districts while Lazio support is more from the rich roman districts of the city. The politic differences between the fans used to be one of the reasons of this rivalry. The Laziali in general had right-wing fascist idea's while the Roma fans were more left-wing orientated.
The trends of recent years bear this out, with a few right-wing incidents involving Lazio players Mihajlovic and Paulo Di Canio, while the Roma Ultras have been involved in many high profile acts of football violence towards away fans visiting the Eternal City.
The biggest insult towards each other is to say that they are not really from Rome. Lazio fans call AS Roma fans the immigrants from the south of Italy while AS Roma fans say that Lazio fans are from the outskirts of the city.
The worst case of football violence in the Rome derby happened in 1979 when Vincenzo Paparelli (a Lazio supporter) died when visiting the Rome derby of 28 October 1979. He got hit by a missile fired by an AS Roma ultra.
On the pitch both have won the Serie A title twice, Lazio in 1974 and then Roma in 1983, before Italy's capital city dominated the Championship for two years with Lazio's triumph in 2000 under Sven Goran Eriksson and then Roma the following season in 2001 with Fabio Capello managing.

 

 


9 - SAMPDORIA v GENOA

 

History ***

On-Pitch ****

In The Stands ****


Sampdoria was founded in 1946 by the merger of two old Genoese clubs: Sampierdarenese(Sampierdarena is a working-class quarter of Genova) and Andrea Doria (the name is from a famous medieval Genoese admiral). Also the colours became from those teams: Red and black from Samp, blue and white from Doria. Genoa supporters often play jokes at the ‘cousins' four-coloured attire by dubbing them "cyclists" since striped jerseys were often associated with this sport in the 40s and 50s.
Don't fooled by the gayness of this club colours banter. This derby is as intense as any in Italy, apart from maybe the Rome derby.

 

 


10 - BENFICA v SPORTING LISBON

 

History ***

On-Pitch ****

In The Stands ***

The Lisbon derby (Derby da Capital) is the biggest match in Portugal. It's a match between the two Lisbon clubs with great history and very big trophy rooms.
Both Clubs have famous Ultra Groups. Sporting Lisbon has Juventude Leonina, Directivo Ultras XXI and Torcida verde. Benfica has
Diabos Vermelhos and No Name Boys as their main groups. The main rivalry is between Juventude Leonina and No Name Boys.
Amazingly there has been more fighting amongst themselves at Sporting Lisbon, than with their more illustrious and successful neighbours Benfica. An internal problem in Juventude Leonina resulted in the exit of hundreds of ultras giving foundation to another group called ‘Directivo Ultras XXI'. Their aim is now to create more of an atmosphere in the North Stand of the Stadium. In the first year things were very difficult because Juve Leo members and Directivo Members were always fighting due to a rivalry between the two groups but now things seem to be calmed down.

 

 


11 - ST. ETIENNE v LYON

 

History ***

On-Pitch ****

In The Stands ****

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The most authentic derby in France. A 'real' local derby with true hate between the citizens of both cities. Rich merchant city (Lyon) vs poor working class coal mine city (St.Etienne). Only 50 kilometers separate Lyon and St. Etienne so each match they fight for local supremacy. Saint Etienne tries to defend its glorious past as Lyon makes history in France in the modern day.
Clashes between the two teams can get violent in the stands and outside in the streets but there is always a large police force present to try and nip this in the bud.





12 - SUNDERLAND v NEWCASTLE UTD

 

History *****

On-Pitch ***

In The Stands ****

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The History of the Tyne and Wear derby is regarded by many in the North East as the modern day extension of a rivalry between Newcastle and Sunderland that dates back to the English Civil War when protestations over advantages that merchants in Royalist Newcastle had over their Wearside counterparts led to Sunderland becoming a Parliamentarian stronghold.
Tyne and Wear again found themselves on opposite sides during the Jacobite Rebellions, with Newcastle in support of the Hanoverians with the German King George, and Sunderland siding with the British Stuarts.
The industrial revolution and the close proximity of the two, saw them compete against each other in many industrial fields, such as shipbuilding and the coal trade, this was despite the fact Newcastle was not on the site of a coalfield, along with other heavy industry.
Even in the present largely post-industrial times, an animosity extending beyond football exists. Further resentment has been caused by the incorporation of the whole of the north-east England region as being under the Newcastle banner, with the omission of Sunderland and Durham's river, the River Wear, from the name of the regional ITV company, Tyne Tees
Prior to the beginning of the twentieth century, the main rivalries in Newcastle and Sunderland were cross-town affairs. In Newcastle, a fierce rivalry existed during the 1880s between Newcastle East End (later to become Newcastle United) and Newcastle West End, which was ended with West End's bankruptcy in 1892. Meanwhile on Wearside, a group of players broke away from Sunderland, and formed the rival Sunderland Albion in 1888, though Albion was forced to fold four years later.
The first meeting between the two took place in 1883, with the first competitive fixture, an FA Cup tie in 1888. The first league meeting took place at Roker Park on Christmas Eve, 1898. Newcastle drew first blood in a 3-2 victory, but it was Sunderland who were to dominate the early derby period.
During the 1900s, the rivalry began to emerge. The 1901 Good Friday encounter at St James' Park had to be abandoned as up to 70,000 fans made their way into a ground which then had a capacity of 30,000. The news was met with anger, and rioting followed, with a number of fans injured. However, in general, although the derby attracted big crowds - with fans often climbing trees and buildings for views of the game - there is little evidence to suggest any animosity between the two sets of supporters in the pre-war and immediate post-war period.
There have been some classic derbies between the two. 1990 saw the two North East heavyweights face each other in the old 2nd Division Play-Off semi-final. After a goalless draw at Roker Park, Sunderland shocked their hosts at St James Park with a 2-0 victory with goals from Eric Gate and Marco Gabbiadini, which then sparked a riot from Newcastle fans spilling onto the pitch.
Nine years later and Ruud Gullit is Newcastle's manager but has made the ricket of dropping Alan Shearer to the bench as Sunderland come from behind to win 2-1 at a rain sodden St James Park with Niall Quinn and Kevin Phillips goals.  That was the beginning of the end of Gullit.
Then Shearer's last game for Newcastle see them batter Sunderland 4-1 at the Stadium Of Light, including a Shearer penalty and one from future Sunderland striker Michael Chopra just 10 seconds after entering the field of play.
A few players have played for both clubs including Chopra, Chris Waddle and two players Robbie Elliott and Lee Clark who have had two stints at Newcastle Utd. Clark left Sunderland after he was spotted supporting Newcastle in the 1999 FA Cup Final and wearing an anti-Sunderland t-shirt saying ‘Sad Mackem Bastards'! He never played for Sunderland again, before leaving for Fulham and ending up back at his beloved Newcastle.
This weekend's upcoming games see North East sides Sunderland, Newcastle, Middlesbrough and Hull all battling each other to survive the drop from the Premier League. A very sad time for the North East.

 

 


13 - CSKA SOFIA v LEVSKI SOFIA

 

History ***

On-Pitch ****

In The Stands *****

The names of the clubs already show the differences (poor/blue/liberal vs. rich/red/communist) although this is outdated now. In the past CSKA fans were people from intellectual elite whereas Levski had a support among Sofia suburbs. Nowadays both clubs have supporters in all social groups. Levski is named after Bulgarian national hero and revolutionary Vasil Levski. CSKA was founded as the Central Sport Club of the Bulgarian Army while levski was ruled by the Ministries of Information and Industry. The derby of Sofia is not just the biggest derby in Bulgaria, many see this match as the biggest derby in the whole Balkan region.
The hate between the fans is very strong. There are a lot of fights between both sets of fans before the matches. After the death (by bomb) of one fan in 2001 there are extra police forces all over the city on derby days.

 

 



14 - DYNAMO BUCHAREST v STEAU BUCHAREST

 

History ***

On-Pitch ****

In The Stands ***

This is the biggest of many derbies in the city of Bucharest. In the communist period, until 1989, FC Steaua had support from the Ministry of Defence while Dinamo was supported by the Ministry of Police. So in some way, it's Army vs. Police. Steaua had the support of the Ceausescu family as well.

 

 




15 - PARIS ST. GERMAIN v OLYMPIQUE MARSIELLES

 

History **

On-Pitch ****

In The Stands ****

The rivalry was created in the early 90's, when OM was dominating the championship and TV channel Canal+ bought PSG and made it a big team. Also off the pitch it's a huge match as there has always been some kind of aversion towards Paris especially from the South of France.
Why not round off a romantic long-weekend in France's capital city with the missus, by taking in this highly-charged encounter!

 

 

 


16 - BORUSSIA DORTMUND v SHALKE 04

 

History ***

On-Pitch ****

In The Stands ***


The Ruhr area (also called 'das Ruhrgebiet' or 'der Kohlenpott') is home of the most famous derby in German football.
You don't get much trouble at German football stadiums; they're way too organized for that, but if you want a match with high tension and atmosphere, then this is the match for you.

 

 



17 - LIVERPOOL v MANCHESTER UNITED

 

History ****

On-Pitch ****

In The Stands ****

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The rivalry can be considered as a manifestation of one which already had existed between the two cities since industrial times. During this time both were competing with each other for supremacy of the north-west, with Manchester famous for its manufacturing prowess while Liverpool was famous for the importance of its port. Once the Manchester Ship Canal was built, ships could bypass Liverpool and transport goods directly into Manchester. This caused job losses at the Port and resentment from the local people of Liverpool. Both the crests of Manchester United and Manchester City display a ship representing the canal. During the late 1970's and 1980's, the two cities had been in decline due to the downturn of industries. Liverpool FC's domination in this time gave their fans something to cheer but led to local Manchester people feeling annoyed as their team were going through one of their worst periods in history. Since then both Cities have again grown and found success with Manchester now being recognised as a world class city. Recently, Manchester hosted the 2002 Commonwealth Games, while Liverpool was awarded the title of 2008 European Capital of Culture.

Both clubs claim the title of 'the Greatest English Football Club', with Liverpool winning a total of 58 trophies, while Manchester United have 56. Liverpool dominated English football during the 1970s and 1980s, claiming the league title eleven times and the European Cup on four occasions during that period, including winning the first treble of the League, and the League and European cups in 1984. Manchester United however, have dominated the 1990s and 2000s, winning the league title eleven times, a European treble (European Cup, the Premiership and the FA Cup) in 1999, two domestic Doubles and The European Double of the Premier League and European Cup in 2008. Both clubs are also the two most successful English sides in European competition, with Liverpool having been European champions 5 times, and Manchester United 3 times.
This season has seen Liverpool really contest the Premier League title with Man Utd for the first time in a very long time and also do the double over them, but ultimately proved unsuccessful as United chalked up league title number 18 and equal Liverpool's all-time record. Wouldn't it be great to see them battling it out next season for that record, with the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea, Villa and ahem, Pompey challenging at the top.
United have had the edge over Liverpool in FA Cup Finals winning in 1977 2-1 with a dodgy deflected winner and then in 1996 1-0 with a Eric Cantona volleyed stunner. At the 96' FA Cup Final, an unidentified Liverpool fan spat at Cantona and threw a punch at Alex Ferguson as the victorious Manchester United team walked up the steps at Wembley Stadium to collect the trophy from the Royal Box.
As well as competing on the football pitch, both teams are also two of the biggest-earning clubs in the world, based on revenue. The two also have among the largest fanbases both in England and internationally. Manchester United boast a reported 90 million worldwide fans which is the most of any team, while Liverpool have around 45 million worldwide fans.
The rivalry has extended to the players as well. United striker Wayne Rooney, a product of Liverpool's Merseyside rivals Everton described how he grew up hating Liverpool. Liverpool's Steven Gerrard took a film crew on tour of his home where he showed off a collection of football shirts he had swapped with opposing players as part of the after match routine. He pointed out that there was no Manchester United shirts in there and that he would never have one of them in his house. Manchester United's Gary Neville has been publically vocal in the past with regards to his dislike of Liverpool. The rivalry between the two clubs has become so intense that since the 1964 transfer of Phil Chisnall from United to Liverpool, no player has been transferred since. Some players, however, have played for both clubs, but having played elsewhere between each tenure, such as Paul Ince (playing for Inter Milan in between).
In 2007, there was a bid from Liverpool to sign Gabriel Heinze from United, but United refused to allow him to join their biggest rivals due to the ongoing feud. United claimed that it was agreed Heinze would only join a foreign club if he chose to leave. Heinze went public with his request to join Liverpool which was seen as the ultimate betrayal by the Manchester United fans. This summer will be interesting to see if Carlos Tevez will end up at Anfield, as its his contract owner, Media Sports Investment and not Manchester Utd who own him and will decide who he'll sign for if Man Utd don't take up the offer of fully signing him up.

 

 



18 - AC MILAN v INTER MILAN

 

History ***

On-Pitch ***

In The Stands ***

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AC Milan was founded in 1899 by English immigrants. Some members disagreed that only British players could be a member of the club and therefore they founded a new club with the obvious name, Internazionale. Inter used to be the right-wing orientated club (hence the nickname 'bauscia' which means 'nouveau riche') while AC Milan had more working class members (nicknamed 'casciavit' meaning screwdrivers). Nowadays it's all about glory and prestige on football level.
It's a pretty friendly derby. Riots are pretty rare at these games as sometimes people from the same family support different clubs, though sometimes the use of flares can get out of hand. Also, the fans hate each other but both sets of fans hate Juventus more!
Both teams play their matches in the San Siro Stadium. The 'Curva Sud' is home of the Rossoneri and the 'Curva Nord' belongs to the Nerazzurri.
The San Siro stadium is named after a small church in the same neighbourhood. The stadium was opened in 1926 with a match between AC Milan and Inter Milan (3-6). The stadium is owned by AC Milan while Inter was still playing at the old Arena Civica. In 1949 Inter decided to move to San Siro which was now owned by the city of Milan. In 1955 a 2nd tier was build which increased the capacity to 90.000, making San Siro one of the biggest stadia in Europe. In 1980 the city council decided to rename the stadium. It would now be called Giuseppe Meazza, after the legendary player who played for as well AC Milan as Internazionale. But the fans, especially those of AC Milan, could never get used to this new name. The stadium was again renovated for the 1990 World Cup when a 3rd tier and a roof was added.
Both sides were equally successful in through the 50's to the 80's but AC Milan took it to another level in the 90's with their trio of Dutchmen Gullit, Rijkaard and Van Basten. However the last four years has seen Inter Milan win Serie A every season and hold the power over their ageing rivals.

 

 



19 - CLUB BRUGGE v ANDERLECHT

 

History ***

On-Pitch ***

In The Stands ***

Two of Belgium's top clubs are split, as is the nation, between French and Flemish speaking communities. Brussels based Anderlecht is French and ruled during Belgian football in the 1950s and 60s while Flemish Brugge won the league three years on the trot in the 70s. Since then its been fairly ‘Evens-Stevens' between the two which make the rivalry and competition that more exciting.
Its not the most intense of derbies but Brugge is a beautiful city and take in the different cultures of the two clubs; Brugge - working class and down to earth; Anderlecht - middle class, brash and cosmopolitan.

 




20 - CARDIFF CITY v SWANSEA CITY

 

History ***

On-Pitch ***

In The Stands *****

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Said to be the most violent derby in Britain. Both clubs, especially Cardiff, have a reputation when it comes to hooliganism. The fact that Cardiff is the capital of Wales and that the 2nd city of the country, Swansea, is sometimes forgotten feeds the bad feeling from The Jacks towards Cardiff.
The first match between the two sides took place on 7 September 1912 at Swansea's Vetch Field, the match ending in a 1-1 draw. Over the next two decades the clubs met frequently not only in league competition but also in the Welsh Cup as at the time they were two of the best Welsh teams and as such often progressed further into the tournament.
During the last few decades both clubs have been linked with football hooliganism, notably Cardiff whose Soul Crew became notorious through their fighting and matches between the sides have often been marred by violence between the rival sets of supporters.
In September 1988, after seeing their side win in Swansea, a group of around thirty Cardiff fans were chased into Swansea Bay by a larger group of Swansea fans. Since then, Swansea fans frequently suggest to their neighbours that they ‘swim away', in reference to the event.
On 23 December 1993 a match between the two sides was dubbed 'The Battle Of Ninian Park' as Swansea fans were placed in the grandstand for the game. As Cardiff went up 1-0, fans invaded the pitch, before Swansea fans began to tear out seats from the grandstand and use them as missiles. The following day national news showing pictures of the violence shocked the nation, forcing the FAW to ban away fans from this fixture for several years, the first fixture in Britain to do so.
Although in recent years the hooligan violence of both sides has sharply decreased matches between the two sides can still see serious trouble, as such any games between the two teams are normally subject to a much higher level of policing than normal matches. A heavy police presence was also required when Swansea fans travelled to Cardiff when they played at the Millennium Stadium in the Football League Trophy final in 2006.
In recent years the South Wales derby has taken place less frequently as both sides have found themselves moving around the various divisions and have avoided each other. The first derby to take place in just under a decade took place in the Carling Cup on 23 September 2008 with Swansea winning 1-0. The match saw sets of supporters from both clubs clash with police after the match.  The return fixture, on 5 April 2009 at Ninian Park, was marred by referee Mike Dean being hit in the head by a coin thrown from the crowd, as well as Cardiff fans clashing with police after the match. The violence led to 5 arrests on the day and more following due to CCTV.
Be careful going to this one, they're fucking nutters!