Norwich

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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Ten Years on Filbert Way : The 10 Greatest Matches

August 2012 marks the tenth anniversary of the first competitive fixture played at Leicester City’s new home, The King Power Stadium. We’ve seen ups, downs, drunken fans attacking goalkeepers, Newcastle players knocked unconscious from a sharp free-kick, wordly strikes from Nalis to Gudjonsson and a 12-month-cameo by a super Swede. But here are the 10 picks for Leicester’s greatest match at our new home.

10. Leicester City 4–0 Norwich City

2007/08 Coca-Cola Championship        Att:  25,854

The first on the list is an oddity of sorts. A win under Ian Holloway in the dreaded 2007/08 season and on top of that DJ Campbell found himself on the scoresheet for the Foxes. It may not be the Foxes’ fan’s favourite win over the six-fingered faithful from Norwich but at the time, it was quite a scalp. Norwich had been on a 13-game-unbeaten run and Leicester were staring a relegation scrap straight in the face. The game also sparked violence from the Norwich fans in the city centre which led to Leicester fans being unjustly and nonsensically labelled ‘high risk’ for 2012’s FA Cup fixture. Cue David Nugent.

Trounced… High-risk Howard punishes the canaries.

9. Leicester City 3–0 Coventry City

2006/07 Coca-Cola Championship      Att: 25,816

What a difference a chairman makes! Number 9 on the list is Leicester’s first game under sneaky Serb, Milan Mandaric and it was a fruitful affair indeed. The Foxes kicked off Mandaric’s manager-chopping reign with a dominant win over M69 rivals, Coventry City. One the Hinckley-dwelling Foxes will savour for years to come.

Handful… City’s scorers embrace.

8. Leicester City 4–0 Nottingham Forest

2011/12 FA Cup 3rd Round Replay      Att: 16,210

It was inevitable really, the 8th best game on Filbert Way was the classic FA Cup replay of January 2012. In truth, Leicester dismissed Forest with ease. In some respects, the scoreline was flattering to the away side who couldn’t even hit the back of the net from 3 yards with an open goal. It says it all that hat-trick hero, Jermaine Beckford scored 3 times despite suffering from a cold. I’m starting to think, that Alan Birchenall could have taken to the pitch and scored himself. However, if there is one downside; this game seemed to be the turning point that saved Forest from relegation.

Rout… But it’s okay. Forest only hate Derby, remember?

7. Leicester City 2–0 Brighton & Hove Albion

2002/03 Nationwide Division One     Att: 31,909

Number 7 on the countdown is the 90 minutes that confirmed a controversial promotion for the Foxes. Having suffered relegation at Filbert Street 12 months earlier, Leicester bounced back to the big time at the first attempt after beating the Seagulls two-nil. Of course as Neil Warnock would have it, Leicester’s remarkable 92 point tally was condemned as ‘farcical’ due to financial issues. News flash, Neil – If the Foxes had had a 10 point deduction, they would have still finished in an automatic promotion spot.

Promotion…Jordan Stewart scored the crucial goal that sent Leicester up

6. Leicester City 4–0 Derby County

2011/12 nPower Championship    Att: 22,496

They say history never repeats itself and that was proven to be false in October 2011 as the 1994 classic ‘Silence of the Rams’ churned out a thrilling sequel at the King Power Stadium. The Foxes and the Rams had had unexpected starts to the season; Promotion favourites, Leicester had found themselves in the bottom half whilst Derby were leading an unlikely play-off charge. However, a convincing 4 goal winning margin in the East Midlands derby brought the feel good factor back to Leicester and left a handful of travelling sheep slunking back to Derby with nothing but a spanking.

Baaaaaad luck… Vassell sends the home crowd in to raptures.

5. Leicester City 2–2 Manchester City

2010/11 FA Cup 3rd Round     Att: 31,200

The only draw to make the countdown is the FA Cup third round clash against Man City. To fit the old cliché, it was a classic cup tie; two sets of passionate fans, two big spenders and a fascinating teacher vs. pupil battle in the dugout between Leicester’s Sven-Goran Eriksson and Man City’s Roberto Mancini. However, Leicester not only took the game to the Premier League club, they were unlucky to only get a replay. Bamba bundled the ball across the line in the first 50 seconds before Leicester let their lead slip. Andy King found the equaliser in the 64th minute with the search for the winner continuing in to the last minute. Even former fox, Mancini revealed he was ‘relieved’ to escape with a draw.

Premier League? You’re Having a laugh… Bamba makes a name for himself

4. Leicester City 3–2 Tottenham Hotspur

2005/06 FA Cup 3rd Round     Att: 19,844

The Gary Lineker derby as it was affectionately dubbed on the day is perhaps one of the most infamous victories of Leicester’s recent history. Having been two-nil down by the 41st minute, The Foxes who were 21st in the Championship at the time embarked on a remarkable second half comeback led by the Elvis Hammond and Steven Hughes. The Foxes were back in it by the hour mark, leaving Mark ‘donkey’ de Vries to score the 90th minute winner and dump Premier League Spurs out of the cup.

Scalp… De Vries’ placed shot sends City through

3. Leicester City 3–0 Nottingham Forest

2009/10 Coca-Cola Championship     Att: 31,759

The first ‘El Clasico me duck’ thrashing came in February 2010. Both Leicester and Forest were locked in a battle for promotion and having been on the receiving end of a 5-1 defeat at the City Ground, it was time for the Foxes to get some revenge. The two East Midlands’ giants played out a dull hour with no real chances before a fifteen minute deforestation would get the Walkers rocking. A goal each from Bruno Berner and Andy King and a memorable free kick from Paul Gallagher ensured 3 points as the Foxes sank their teeth in to their bitter rivals, knocking them out of the top two.

Tale of two thrashings… Leicester exact their revenge on the Tricky Trees

2. Leicester City 1–0 Leeds United

2008/09 Coca-Cola League One     Att: 25,507

It was the battle of the big clubs in April 2009 as the Foxes edged closer and closer towards a remarkable turn in fortunes. Following years of decline, the Foxes were finally back on the up after a dramatic last minute header spread vibes of delirium around the Walkers Stadium. In truth, the game was a rugged affair and to fit the old cliché; a tremendous advert for England’s third tier. But it was Leicester who stood tall as Howard headed Gradel’s corner in to the back of the net, writing off the 2008/09 season as Leicester’s one and ONLY third tier tour.

Classic… ‘Super’ Steve Howard practically seals Leicester’s Championship return

1. Leicester City 4–0 Leeds United

2003/04 Barclays Premier League     Att: 30,460

The greatest game to ever unfold before our eyes at the King Power Stadium is the famous four-nil drubbing of Leeds United. The victory seen by millions on Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football captured all the best Leicester’s most recent Premier League team had to offer. From the first whistle, the Foxes were on the hunt and the scoreline was one the home side had earned. Complete with four tremendous goals, in particular, a jaw-dropping 30-yard volley from Lilian Nalis, Leicester saw off a Leeds United team that had graced Europe just one season before. The victory was celebrated by fans alike including Chris Moyles’ breakfast show colleagues who concocted a jingle mocking Leeds’ (Moyles’ team) defeat to City. The win was the first of only five Premier League wins that season but boy was it a sweet one.

Rankings based on the votes by members of the FoxesTalk forum.