Manchester Derby is one of the most happening events in the North-West Britain
A derby is a sporting contest between rivals from the same district. The origin of the name “Derby” has itself led to controversies with various theories being put out; no wonder the derby matches are hell lot more intense than the normal fixtures.
There are various intense derbies around the world, the El-Classico (Real Madrid vs Barcelona) in Spain, the Rhône-Alpes Derby (Lyon vs Saint-Étienne) in France, the Derby della Madonnina (Internazionale vs AC Milan) in Italy, Ajax vs PSV in Netherlands along with the Merseyside Derby (Liverpool vs Everton), Birmingham Derby (Bermingham vs Aston Villa), London Derby (Chelsea vs Spurs and Arsenal vs Spurs) being amongst the most awaited ones.
Manchester United, perhaps the most famous club in the world, too has its fair share of Derby matches with Liverpool, Manchester City, Celtic and Leeds United A.F.C. being their “bitter rivals”.
1. The War of Reds (vs. Liverpool):
It is probably one of the fiercest rivalries in English football, rather in world football. Liverpool and Manchester United are two of the biggest sporting clubs in the world. They are both proud sides with a glorious history and the fans of both teams are equally passionate about their club. The clubs have won a staggering 116 titles, 58 each, between them. The fixture is usually played at midday to discourage fans from drinking before the game.
The origins of this rivalry point towards the rivalries of the two cities since industrial times. Liverpool and Manchester were challenging for supremacy of the north west of England. Manchester was renowned for its excellent manufacturing capabilities, whilst Liverpool had long been a major city due to its port. However, once the Manchester Ship Canal was built, ships were able to bypass Liverpool to carry goods directly to Manchester. The loss in jobs in Liverpool no doubt strengthened the hostilities between the two cities.
The first match between the clubs was on 12 October 1895 which Liverpool won 7-1. There have been 152 league matches since. Manchester United have won 58, Liverpool 51 and there have been 43 draws.
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. Manchester United however, have dominated the 1990s and 2000s, winning the league title eleven times, a European Continental 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 sets of players relish playing against each other and the build up to the match day includes intense mind games with taunts and comments flying around. Wayne Rooney, a product of Liverpool’s city rivals Everton described how, although he is from Liverpool, he grew up hating them. 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 shirt in there and that he would never have one of them in his house. In his autobiography, he also said, “during 90 minutes of football, I want United to die.”
"He hates SCOUSERS"
Gary Neville a.k.a. the “Scouse Hater” has been publicly vocal in the past with regards to his dislike of Liverpool. Following a fixture where John O’Shea scored a stoppage time winner in front of the Kop in 2007, Neville described O’Shea’s achievement as “a lifelong dream” for himself. Neville was booed by Liverpool fans for his role in celebrating in front of them in 2006, kissing the crest on his jersey and appearing to shout angrily towards the fans. The look of passionate hate on his face led to an FA review. He has headbutted Steve McManaman in the past leading to the fans singing a song proclaiming “he hates scousers”.
Nothing drives Sir Alex Ferguson more than this rivalry. During his reign as the United manager, he has seen off Kenny Dalglish, Ronnie Moran, Graeme Souness, Roy Evans, Gerard Houllier and Rafa Benitez and not one of them has won the league on his watch.
The rivalry between the two clubs is so intense that since the 1964 transfer of Phil Chisnall from United to Liverpool, no player has been directly transferred.
The fans of both the teams have been involved in various regrettable incidents too. At the 1996 FA Cup Final, a Liverpool fan spat at Eric Cantona and threw a punch at Alex Ferguson as a victorious Manchester United team walked up the steps at Wembley Stadium to collect the trophy. After an FA Cup match in 2006 between the clubs, an ambulance carrying Alan Smith, who had broken his leg during the match, was attacked on its way to the hospital by Liverpool fans. At Anfield, fans are banned from going near the away team entrance on Match day following an incident in the late 1990′s where a Liverpool fan threw an egg at Alex Ferguson.
To sum up the rivalry, Sir Alex’s comment says it all:
“My greatest challenge was knocking Liverpool off their f*****g perch”
2. The Manchester derby:
The rivalry between Manchester United and Manchester City goes back a long way, almost as far back as the beginning of football in England. And the two clubs have been contesting a local derby, on and off, for nearly 130 years.
The first derby was played on the 12th of November 1881. A newspaper at the time called the contest “a pleasant match.” In those days the derbies between the two Manchesters lacked the intensity we see today. Indeed, it was common in the first half of the last century for fans in the Manchester area to support both clubs, attending one team’s match one week and the other team’s match the next.
Though with time the matches began to get fiercer. In 1970, for instance, George Best broke the leg of City’s Glyn Pardoe with a tackle. Pardoe’s leg break was so bad doctors feared they’d have to remove it. Pardoe was out of the game for nearly two years as a result of the injury.
In 1974, City’s Mike Doyle and United’s Lou Macari were both red-carded in a derby, yet both refused to leave the field! Only after the referee ordered the teams off the pitch did they finally accept their punishment.
Though there have been some moments that will never be forgotten for their soberness. Denis Law who played for City, then for United and then again for City refused to celebrate his goal for City against United. He was substituted almost immediately after scoring and left the pitch in sadness, his head hanging low. He never played professional club football again and retired from the game soon after.
United vs City games are always full of action and drama
City’s trophy cabinet is a smaller one than United’s and this has made City the second team in Manchester. The results of the Manchester Derby over the years prove United’s dominance. (132 games played, with United winning 52 of them, City 36, and 44 draws.)
In recent years, however, “The Noisy Neighbors” have been making noise with the injection of foreign cash to buy big name players, and their presence in the English Premier League may now be almost taken for granted.
Last season City finished 5th to United’s 2nd, and contended for a higher finish almost the entire campaign.
If the cash-rich City manages to achieve their goal and topple United from their perch as Manchester’s better team, the Manchester Derby will assume a greater importance than ever.
3. Roses Rivalry (vs. Leeds United A.F.C.)
This rivalry is considered to be a sporting manifestation of the established rivalry between the counties of Yorkshire and Lancashire, which can be traced back to the Wars of the Roses, a series of civil wars fought between the House of York and the House of Lancaster for the throne of England during the 15th century.
Both sets of fans topped in Hooliganism in the 1970s and their clashes led to some of the most violent clashes in British football. The Industrial Revolution in Britain during the 18th and 19th centuries added fuel to the fire. Manchester’s cotton industry was highly successful and it also ruined the traditional Yorkshire woolen industry, due to cotton being far cheaper to produce. This left the weavers in Yorkshire feeling undercut and a loathing for the new wealth in Manchester began to set in.
The Lancashire Rose
The Yorkshire White
There have been forgettable incidents in the rivalry. In 1994, on the death of Sir Matt Busby, a minute’s silence was held, and impeccably observed, at almost every ground. But not at Ewood Park. There, hundreds of Leeds United fans disrupted the tribute to the formerManchester United manager by chanting: “There’s only one Don Revie.”
The transfers from Leeds of Joe Jordan and Gordon McQueen in 1978 made matters worse. Then there was Eric Cantona was transferred from Leeds and became a fan favorite at Old Trafford almost instantly. The hostility directed at Cantona on his returns to Elland Road was palpable. Other notable transfers from Leeds to Manchester include Rio Ferdinand and Alan Smith.
4. Battle of Britain (vs. Celtic):
The name is applied to games played between English and Scottish teams. The reason of the rivalry is unknown but theories suggest that the influence and popularity of Manchester United in Ireland has led to both sets of fans getting jealous of each other.Also, two of the most illustrious figures at OT, Sir Matt Busby and Sir Alex are Scottish and the fact did nothing to reduce the rivalry. Since the two teams are in separate leagues, their on-pitch clashes are limited to Champions League ties.