The best derbies in English football – ranked

The best derbies in English football – ranked

Without fans the occasion has been dimmed, but we’re all still in agreement that there is nothing better than derby day.

Local clubs going head to head with three points or progression to the next round of the cup on the line, with fans knowing that local pride is also on the line for them too? It doesn’t get much better than that.

But derbies are the best of the best in English football? Lets rank them…

Wilfried ZahaWilfried Zaha
Crystal Palace v Brighton & Hove Albion – Premier League | Alex Pantling/Getty Images

A weird one, considering how far apart the two clubs are geographically, but it has existed since the 1970s. Brighton didn’t have a professional rival until Crawley’s promotion to the Football League in 2011. That left Palace as their most local team, and a rivalry was born.

It’s a rivalry that is talked about by fans and media alike as being heated, and Palace legend Wilfried Zaha has previously claimed it’s one of the games he looks out for every year because of his love for the club.

Robert Glatzel, Matt GrimesRobert Glatzel, Matt Grimes
Yes, they’re Welsh | Michael Steele/Getty Images

Let’s address the elephant in the room straight away: yes, they’re Welsh. But they both reside in the English football league and thus qualify for this list.

Both teams have competed in the Premier League and Swansea actually won the Carabao Cup back in 2013 – although they now both compete in the Championship.

The rivalry is best summed up by the fact Swansea fans often wear swimming caps and armbands to the game to remind Cardiff fans of a particular incident in 1988, where fans chased their rivals into the sea after a game. It gets a bit fiery.

Graeme Le SauxGraeme Le Saux
It’s always been fiery between these two London clubs | ADRIAN DENNIS/Getty Images

The two most successful sides in London.

From cup finals, to competing for league titles, to managerial feuds, this rivalry has had it all over the years. The Gunners had the upper hand for the most of it, but in the last 20 years the Blues have really risen up to the challenge and even got one over their great rivals by becoming the first London team to win the Champions League.

The two biggest teams in Birmingham, this game is always a spectacle when fans are in the stadium.

The sides have often been in and around each other on the football pyramid which means matches have been frequent. Villa have recently pulled away with a spell in the Premier League and are certainly the bigger club (they’ve won the European Cup), but it’s Birmingham who most recently added a trophy to their cabinet.

Just two seasons ago a game was marred by a fan running onto the pitch to attack Villa skipper Jack Grealish, who brushed the incident off with the winning goal at St. Andrews.

Danny Simpson, James McLeanDanny Simpson, James McLean
Tyne-Wear derbies are always feisty | Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

The Tyne-Wear derby is one that is always met with a raucous reception inside the grounds when Newcastle and Sunderland square off.

This one isn’t littered with any sort of controversy, it’s just simply the two biggest clubs in the region fighting for local pride. The fans make this one spectacular and the football matches that take place often live up to the hype too.

West Ham United v Millwall - Carling CupWest Ham United v Millwall - Carling Cup
Maybe the most violent derby of them all | Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

This rivalry is arguably more known for it’s hatred off the pitch than on it, but it always makes for a fantastic game of football.

The London sides have never got along and the rivalry was even the subject of the legendary movie ‘Green Street’, which focused on football hooliganism at its worst.

On the pitch, it’s not been as competitive as you’d think because the Hammers have generally been playing in divisions above the Lions, but when they do clash it’s always a spectacle. The Carling Cup meeting in 2009 sparked a riot as West Ham beat their rivals 3-1 AET at Upton Park and fans stormed the pitch to taunt each other. Crazy.

Jack Rodwell, Luis Suarez, Martin AtkinsonJack Rodwell, Luis Suarez, Martin Atkinson
This local derby has everything | Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Whether it’s goals, brawls, red cards or just simply a stunning atmosphere, this derby tends to have it all.

Liverpool are by far the more successful of the two clubs and haven’t lost a derby to the Toffees since 2010, while also winning trophies regularly in comparison to Everton, who haven’t won a trophy since 1995.

Images From The Book "In The Moment' - By Tom JenkinsImages From The Book "In The Moment' - By Tom Jenkins
A rivalry steeped in history | Tom Jenkins/Getty Images

The two biggest clubs in Manchester now compete regularly against one another for silverware.

It wasn’t always that way though, with the Red Devils dominating English football for the best part of 20 years from the 90s onwards, but City’s billions have seen them catapult themselves into the title mix over the last decade.

They were dubbed the ‘noisy neighbours’ by legendary United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, and the rivalry peaked in the early 2010s when they embarked on some truly classic moments in English football history including that Wayne Rooney goal, and that Sergio Aguero moment.

Eric DierEric Dier
The north London derby is one of the most anticipated every season | James Williamson – AMA/Getty Images

The most entertaining derby on the pitch in English football, the north London derby is one not to miss.

And we have a stat to back up the claim, as its the highest scoring derby in English football.

Some of the best games in Premier League history have been NLDs, including the incredible 4-4 draw at the Emirates Stadium in 2008.

Gary Neville, Jamie CarragherGary Neville, Jamie Carragher
The biggest rivalry in England | Michael Regan/Getty Images

The north west derby.

The two biggest clubs in English football.

Of course this is number one.

On the pitch, Liverpool and Man Utd have won 39 league titles, nine European Cup/Champions League titles and countless other domestic trophies. Consistently at the top end of the table, these two sides are always at loggerheads and the games almost alway dictate where the league title is heading that season.

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