Football League

Obscure Football Rivalries

Every football fan relishes the appearance of a local derby on the fixture list. It makes the game just that more exciting. But, locality is not the only reason that rivalry erupts in the beautiful game. Below are just seven examples of when feuds have spilled over between two seemingly unrelated clubs.

Sheffield United vs. West Ham United
Distance: 177.4 miles

Dodgy… Carlos Tevez’ goal consigned The Blades to relegation

The rivalry between the two Uniteds erupted back in 2007. The Blades had won an unexpected promotion to the top flight and were battling out with three other clubs for survival, including the Hammers. Sheffield United lost narrowly at home to Wigan Athletic, who leapfrogged them in to 17th. However, had West Ham lost, the Blades would have been saved.  However, West Ham won at newly-crowned champions, Manchester United by the virtue of a Carlos Tevez goal. This might sound like sour grapes from the Blades’ fans for holding a grudge over a relegation scrap, but the signing of Tevez and in fact Javier Mascherano were illegal, meaning had a point deduction been dished out, the Sheffield outfit may be two divisions higher than they are now. The Blades have yet to receive the opportunity to exact revenge on the East London club but it promises to be a fiery affair.

Norwich City vs. Wolverhampton Wanderers
Distance: 171.8 miles

Lonely… The Canaries see Wolves as the best alternative to Ipswich

The rivalry between the Canaries and Wolves came about over a bad tackle. Seriously, that’s it. In fairness to Norwich City, there aren’t many clubs in their neck of the woods to pick a fight with. Even their famous ‘Old Farm’ derby against Ipswich Town features a round trip of over 100 miles for away fans, so it’s no surprise when games against the Tractor Boys are in short supply that the Canaries have to look elsewhere for a bit of spice. The tackle that started it off was one by Kevin Muscat that led to Craig Bellamy breaking his leg, a free-for-all ensued and the animosity carried through to their succeeding play-off games. It’s safe to say, most Wolves fans are over this run-in but the Canaries are still chirping on.

Coventry City vs. Sunderland
Distance: 200.3 miles

Grudge… Sunderland savoured Cov’s relegation 35 years after theirs.

Okay, okay, I know it’s hard to believe but Coventry City were actually involved in a rivalry with a notable club many moons ago. This one occurred due to yet another relegation battle. Coventry, Bristol City and Sunderland had been battling to avoid relegation on the last day. Coventry and Bristol City had been playing each other when news broke that Sunderland had lost, subsequently they seemed to resign the game to a draw and allow the Black Cats to finish the 1976-77 season in the bottom three. However, the Mackems had their revenge as they flocked to the Sky Blues Talk forum at the end of 2011-12 season to mock Coventry’s descent to the third tier.

Huddersfield Town vs. Peterborough United
Distance: 124.0 miles

Drama… Posh and Huddersfield have been thorns in eachother’s sides for the past 3 seasons.

West Yorkshire met East Anglia in the 2010-11 League One play-off final at Old Trafford. Town fans had outnumbered the Posh army by 2:1 but a 7-minute goal fest stunned the favourites as United ran out 3-o victors. Huddersfield achieved promotion the season after setting up a showdown in the 2012-13 season. Huddersfield’s revenge was put on hold as Posh took four points from their league meetings but The Terriers had the last laugh as Posh fell to a 3-2 defeat at Selhurst Park on the final day. Huddersfield and Barnsley played out a 2-2 draw to keep them both in the division as Peterborough were relegated. Reports broke on Twitter that Huddersfield and Barnsley had emulated Coventry and Bristol City of 1977 and purposely kept the score level to ensure Posh’s relegation. There are still legs in this one.

Boston United vs. Dagenham & Redbridge
Distance: 124.7 miles

Robbed… Boston stole promotion but the Daggers had the last laugh.

In terms of footballing quality, this one is far from comparable with El Clasico but there is a genuine ill-feeling between to the two lower-league clubs. Boston and the Daggers led the Conference Premier back in 2001/02. United clinched the title in controversial fashion as they were accused of making illegal payments to players and as a result Dagenham finished second on goal difference, condemning them to the play-offs. Had the FA gone through with a points deduction that season, United would have swapped positions with the Daggers but they didn’t. They instead incurred a 4 point deduction the season after. Of course, had Dag & Red won the play-offs this would be a forgotten issue but that honour fell to Yeovil Town. Although, the Daggers never got to enact their redemption themselves, they can now sleep smugly knowing that they reside in the Football League while Boston United are consigned to Conference North relegation battles.

Colchester United vs. Wycombe Wanderers
Distance: 98.3 miles

Odd… Few understand this sometimes farcical rivalry.

The closest pair of rivals of this list are Colchester and Wycombe. This is another rivalry that was intensified by a close run Conference Premier title race however, it originated at a feisty 1985 FA Cup tie marred by crowd trouble. Six years later, the duo were over 20 points clear of the rest of the challenging clubs but Colchester nicked the title on goal difference and thus, won automatic promotion. Wandererers’ fans seemed to take particular offence to a defeat to Col U that involved conceding a goal direct from a goal kick. Either way, any animosity would be avoided if Wycombe won the play-offs. Of course, they didn’t.

Chelsea vs. Leicester City
Distance: 102.1 miles

Bloody… Chelsea and Leicester have a violent vendetta.

The battle in blue is an old rivalry back from the 1970s and 1980s. In a season where Chelsea were leading the charge for promotion to the top flight, the Blues travelled to Filbert Street backed by 10,000 raucous supporters. However, the Foxes rained on their parade with a 1-o win, in a match that featured a whole host of missed penalties from Chelsea. This resulted in outbreaks of violence in the stands. Leicester went on to win the league whilst Chelsea remained in the second tier. In fact, the club’s firms; the Head Hunters and The Baby Squad would have several run-ins in the years that followed. On occasion the firms would travel down to each other’s stomping yards even when the clubs weren’t playing, to scrap. Today, while it sounds a particularly ferocious fixture, most fans of both clubs are unaware or unaffected by the rivalry. However, some keep the fire burning in the terraces. Leicester’s ‘Hark Now Hear’ chant features Chelsea while the Blues started the ‘Over land and sea! AND LEICESTER!’ trend. In fact, in a recent FA Cup tie at Stamford Bridge in 2012, City fans were turned away from certain pubs being told “You don’t want to go in there. You have no idea how much they hate you.”

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Out of the Blue : A Dawning Rivalry?

When Leicester meet Peterborough on Saturday during the nPower Championship’s season opener both will be gunning for three points but for one set of supporters, a victory will mean so much more.

All blue affair… Leicester and Posh are Championship comrades once more

History

Historically, the Foxes meetings with the Posh have been few and far between with Saturday’s encounter only the 16th competitive

Sour grapes…Some Posh fans still envy Leicester’s League One triumph

meeting between the two clubs. Typically, Leicester are considered a much bigger club than their Eastern blue counterparts with Leicester traditionally competing in the top two tiers of English Football and Posh in the basement divisions  of the Football League. This could explain Leicester fan’s disillusion to the rivalry believing that Peterborough’s history is beneath them. In fact, United’s highest ever finish in the league ladder was 10th place in the 2nd tier (currently the nPower Championship), one place below Leicester’s standing from last season, a season the Foxes faithful considered a failure. But meetings between the two are becoming more and more frequent with 40% of the fixtures between the two being played since 2008.

Why?

The first flickers of rivalry arose in the 2008-09 League One season in which both clubs found themselves towards the top of the table with Peterborough finishing runners-up to champions, Leicester. Accompanied by two convincing home wins that season by both clubs (4-0 at Leicester and 2-0 at Peterborough),  an on-the-pitch gulf in class was becoming shorter as Posh would go on to spend the two of the next three seasons at Leicester’s side even totting up some shock victories as they became City’s bogey team. Peterborough’s seemingly inability to roll over and die at the feet of Leicester is perhaps the only reason any dislike is felt on the Foxes side whereas Posh fans seem to harbour much more.

Big day out… Posh always travel well to Leicester

Geographically, the cities of Leicester and Peterborough are only 41 miles apart and with Leicester supporters scattered in towns such as Corby, Stamford and Kettering, it is clear to see why there might be friction with the neighbouring Posh fans. Especially as their traditional rivals Cambridge United and Northampton Town seemed to have disintegrated in to Sunday League outfits. However, despite being the closest club to Posh in the Championship, Leicester are not short of rivals in the congested East Midlands with their sights firmly fixated on Derby and Forest. In fact, a football rivalry survey I conducted in March of this year revealed Posh considered the Foxes among their top 3 rivals whereas Peterborough stood a lowly 8th place for Leicester fans behind the likes of Aston Villa and Leeds United.

How Leicester see it

Quotes from FoxesTalk forum;

Tinpot. Small time. Deluded supporters, a team that no-one really takes much notice of. “

“I like their terrace. But otherwise I don’t think much of them, just another team in the league that we’ll play at some point.”

“Third or fourth tier club who’ve done very well in the past few years, that we unfortunately lose a number of points to, presumably from not treating the game seriously enough/them putting in a good performance.”

“Underestimate anyone at your peril! Of course they don’t have a particularly illustrious history but they seem like a good, albeit old fashioned, football club.”

“It’s a decent day for a drink up plus they have a terrace. Shame their fans don’t make the most of it.”

“Very efficient train station”

The general consensus among Leicester fans seems to be that Posh are not considered rivals.  Having stumped up a lowly eighth place in the Foxes rivalry ranking, it is clear that only a very few fans consider Posh to be a rivalry. Of course those roaming the streets of the major Northamptonshire and Cambridgeshire towns may look at Posh with a healthy contempt but in reality The Foxes have bigger fish to (Barry) fry.

How Peterborough see it

“Big club, with a big fan base but too over-rated , think they can buy the league and they lose or draw to teams which they should be beating, and we consider them as rivals cus of all the meetings they had in League 1 and Championship”

“I think for some we have lost all rivalry with other clubs due to our rise in leagues so they are looking for a new rival…Leicester is relatively close to Peterborough so for some I think they want to create a rivalry, for others its a money thing”

“Hmm, I know there are a few Posh fans who think Leicester as a rivalry but I reckon it’s more to do with the fact that Leicester got the League One title instead of us! And there’s the obvious geographical but we don’t really class Leicester as rivals. They’re a decent club, and I reckon they could get a top 10 finish this season!”

“I appreciate that the feeling isn’t really mutual, but most Posh fans would love to beat Leicester!”

However for Peterborough fans the fixture seems to be increasingly more important. Evidence for this includes one fan naming Leicester as the team they would most like to beat this season, the chants of ‘If you all hate Leicester clap your hands!’ and ‘Shoot the Leicester scum!’ at the King Power Stadium and an FA Cup tie in which Posh faced Sunderland last season. Reports spread on Twitter at the end of April that Peterborough fans were chanting anti-Leicester songs as they passed through the city on their way to Pride Park to face Derby County and the Peterborough Telegraph even described the opening day fixture as a ‘mouth-watering derby trip’ on the day of the fixtures’ release.

So when the thousands of blue clad supporters descend upon the King Power Stadium this Saturday. It will be a battle for 3 points for one but a fight for pride for the other. But who knows, maybe something extraordinary will happen and we can all enjoy a rivalry that both clubs partake in equally. But given the gulf in the extent of our histories and traditions, I’d say it’s fairly unlikely.

Peterborough beware… The Foxes lie in wait