Newcastle vs. Sunderland and the Most Intense Rivalries in British Football

Mark Jones@@Mark_Jones86Featured ColumnistDecember 19, 2014

Newcastle vs. Sunderland and the Most Intense Rivalries in British Football

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    Sunday sees the latest meeting of fierce rivals Newcastle United and Sunderland, with the Mackems returning to St James' Park after winning 30 there on both of their previous visits.

    The defeats were tough for the Magpies fans to take, and so revenge will be eyed in what is always one of British football's most compelling rivalries.

    It is far from alone, though, and here are some more matches which are always feisty affairs.

Liverpool vs. Everton

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    The most recent meeting between Liverpool and Everton at the end of September was the 223rd Merseyside derby, with Phil Jagielka's spectacular last-minute equaliser just the latest element of drama.

    With their stadiums separated by a short walk across Stanley Park, these two rivals have had to learn to live with the other on their doorstep, something they've managed to do pretty successfully at the summit of the English game for over a century.

Celtic vs. Rangers

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    The draw for the semifinals of the Scottish League Cup has finally given us a first Old Firm derby in three years, with Rangers and Celtic set to meet for the first time since the former slid down the divisions following their financial implosion.

    The deep religious divide between the two Glasgow giants always ensures that every match is heated, and the latest will be no exception, and, if anything, made all the more special because of the wait.

Swansea City vs. Cardiff City

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    The South Wales derby was seen in the Premier League last season, as Cardiff City beat Swansea at home and the Swans saw off the Bluebirds at the Liberty Stadium; a match which pushed their opponents closer to relegation.

    Swansea are busy trying to establish themselves in the Premier League this season, but their rivalry with the team from the Welsh capital some 40 miles away is never too far away from the surface, and often comes to the boil.

Manchester City vs. Manchester United

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    Once merely a local squabble, the Manchester derby has taken on more significance at the top of the Premier League in recent seasons, and it is City who have often had the better of it.

    Recent matches have been marked by big City wins, and with both them and United looking likely to stick around in the top few positions in the table this season, the next clash at Old Trafford in mid-April could have a huge say in the title race.

West Ham United vs. Millwall

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    In August 2009, a League Cup clash between West Ham United and Millwall erupted in violence when supporters clashed outside Upton Park, and a Millwall fan ended up being stabbed

    The clashes were an example of the bitter rivalry which exists between West Ham, in the east end of London, and Millwall, from the south-east, which still continues despite the former often being in a higher division.

Arsenal vs. Tottenham Hotspur

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    North London rivals Arsenal and Tottenham have a long-held and often bitter rivalry which manifests itself when the pair meet in their local derby; a treat for Premier League fans every season due to the teams' constant presence in the top flight.

    It is the Gunners who often get the better of these matches, with Arsenal supporters even glorying in a "St. Totteringham's Day" every season on the date that Spurs can no longer finish above Arsenal in the league.

Hearts vs. Hibernian

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    This season has seen the almost bizarre sight of both Hearts and Hibernian in the Scottish second tier after both were relegated in 2013/14.

    The two relegations have at least kept the Edinburgh derby alive, though, with one of Scottish football's oldest rivalries continually serving up dramatic moments such as Alim Ozturk's last-minute equaliser at Easter Road earlier this season.

Manchester United vs. Liverpool

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    Always one of the biggest games in any English season, Manchester United versus Liverpool brings together the country's two most successful teams and clubs with enormous, passionate fanbases.

    Throw in the geographical element and the fact that the two cities have never really seen eye-to-eye, and you've got a classic rivalry which has spanned the generations and often been crucial in determining the destination of trophies. 

Aston Villa vs. Birmingham City

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    They've been in separate divisions for a while now, but the Birmingham, or "Second City" derby between Aston Villa and Birmingham City always adds spice and an element of controversy to any campaign.

    In recent times the Premier League meetings between the pair have been incredibly passionate, feisty affairs, as a rivalry which dates back to 1879 frequently threatens to boil over.

Chelsea vs. Arsenal

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    It's not a traditional example of one of England's local rivalries, but the animosity between Arsenal and Chelsea has risen in recent years due to the latter's newfound wealth and success.

    You can be certain that both clubs will always be found near the top end of the Premier League, and so that only adds another element of spice to this London derby.

Sheffield United vs. Sheffield Wednesday

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    A traditional rivalry which can trace its roots back to 1890, the Steel City derby evokes memories of English football at its purest form. Challenges fly in, no holds are barred and you are playing for the pride of your city.

    Sheffield Wednesday and Sheffield United might spend a lot of their time popping up and down the division, but when they meet, it matters, and their city comes to a standstill. 

Southampton vs. Portsmouth

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    Lying only 17 miles apart, both Southampton and Portsmouth compete to be seen as the kings of the south coast.

    In recent years this derby has become less and less common as the Saints have headed upwards and Pompey down, but it is still a proud, traditional derby rivalry which was last played when both clubs were in the Championship in 2011/12.

Liverpool vs. Chelsea

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    These two clubs essentially see themselves as opposites, with Liverpool's history and tradition coming up against Chelsea's very modern, very ruthless approach to football.

    A series of high-profile meetings when Rafael Benitez was in charge of Liverpool served to create and develop this rivalry, which also came to the fore at the end of last season when Chelsea's win at Anfield went a long way towards preventing Liverpool from winning the Premier League. 

Derby County vs. Nottingham Forest

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    In a rivalry which has seemingly found a home in the second tier, Derby County and Nottingham Forest keenly contest the East Midlands derby.

    The one thing that both clubs can agree on is the genius of Brian Clough, who managed both, and so a Brian Clough trophy is now contested each and every time they meet, with Derby the current holders following a 5-0 win in March and September's 1-1 draw. 

Blackburn Rovers vs. Burnley

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    As two founding members of the Football League, both Blackburn Rovers and Burnley can trace their East Lancashire derby roots way back to 1888.

    That ensures that there will always be a place in the English football landscape for these local skirmishes, which came to a halt this summer as Burnley were promoted to the Premier League.

Arsenal vs. Manchester United

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    It may no longer be about Arsene Wenger vs. Sir Alex Ferguson, Patrick Vieira vs. Roy Keane or indeed the title race, given the recent improvements of Chelsea and Manchester City, but there is little doubt that there are few rivalries which have encapsulated the Premier League era quite like Arsenal against Manchester United.

    Titanic matches between two of English football's heavyweights are always worth watching, and everyone always takes their seats when these two face off.

Newcastle United vs. Sunderland

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    We'll finish where we started, and the meeting between Newcastle United and Sunderland which is named after the rivers which flow through both cities.

    The Tyne-Wear derby is always a highlight of any Premier League season, and it manages to keep alive the sense that it is crucial to both teams' seasons despite the fact that neither frequently troubles the top few places in the table.

    Indeed, in the last two seasons two 3-0 wins at Newcastle have proved crucial in Sunderland's battles to stay up, meaning that the hosts will be all the more determined to win when the Mackems come to St James' Park on Sunday.

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