Rivalry

Leicester is better than Nottingham

The title says it all. Leicester is better than Nottingham and that’s all there is to it. Today, the Leicester Mercury published an opinion piece from budding journalist Catherine Hancock (who I’m sure is lovely by the way) detailing why she thought that Nottingham was the top city in the East Midlands. Of course, you can’t expect me to read that and not respond, so let’s travel through Catherine’s arguments and unhinge them bit by bit.

Like Catherine, we’ll start with sport. Leicester has a Premier League football team. Nottingham doesn’t. Those are the facts. Actually, our northern neighbours haven’t graced the top-flight since 1999, a time when S Club 7 and Steps were still dominating the charts. Forest fans, as we all know, love a good history lesson but their triumphs under Brian Clough are not really relevant now. Not only does Leicester boast a Premier League football team, we’re also the home of the Rugby Union’s most successful ever club, the Leicester Tigers, with ten Premiership titles to their name. Add the only cricket club to have won the Twenty20 Cup more than once and the country’s oldest basketball club (and current cup champions) in to the mix and you’ve got a true sporting city,unlike the underachieving Nottingham.

And if we’re simply talking sporting icons, how can you look further than England legends Gary Lineker and Peter Shilton, who both hail from the city? And who can forget the Jester from Leicester Mark Selby who won 2014’s World Snooker Championship?

When we’re talking music, Leicester once again reigns supreme. How can you argue with Showaddywaddy, Mark Morrison, Engelbert Humperdinck, X Factor champ Sam Bailey and of course, the crème de la crème; Kasabian? Are we to submit all of these music icons to that miserable Jake Bugg? I don’t think so.

Let’s not forget that Leicester was also the city that brought up the legendary Attenborough brothers – you’re welcome, Earth.

Apparently, Nottingham is also ‘the city of history’ too, because it’s the ‘home’ of Robin Hood, who could well be fictional. Leicester’s local Maryland Chicken chains have more history than that. Leicester can boast to be one of the country’s oldest settlements, as well as one of it’s most populated (more than Nottingham). It was also, the place Richard III met his maker, and was discovered some 530 years after he died – he wasn’t fictional.

Catherine also said that Quentin Tarantino chose Nottingham to be the location of one of Pulp Fiction’s premières – which I admit is quite cool. However, it doesn’t quite have the same honour as Queen Elizabeth II hand-picking Leicester as the first stop on her Diamond jubilee tour in 2012.

In fact if the cities were to go head-to-head Nottingham would be knocked out in the second round. Nottingham is the country’s singleton, bad breath and crime capital – quite a resumé, I know. We could stretch even further and call Nottingham the obese capital, if we were to include Bassetlaw in north Notts.  There’s actually such a gap in quality between the two cities that your life expectancy increases five years if you travel 30 miles south via the A46.

Let’s face it Nottingham cannot compare. How can you stand a few good ice skaters against the city responsible for Walkers crisps, the largest outdoor market in Europe, being Britain’s first environment city, the birth of local BBC radio and more importantly than anything else, the modern English language, and expect to win?

Neither are bad-looking cities by the way, not particularly beautiful but not ugly either. For me, Leicester edges that too but I’m sure others will disagree. In truth, there are several thousand reasons why Leicester is better than Nottingham, maybe the most relevant one is that nobody from Leicester would ever write in a Nottingham newspaper just about how great our city is. There you go, add humility to the list of things we do better too!

If you’re keeping score, don’t bother. It’s game, set and match to Leicester.

(P.S. – You can read Catherine’s blog at http://www.catherinescolumn.com)
Advertisements

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.”

Football club opinion survey

Just under 300 football fans answered a survey on their hopes for the promotions and relegations of England’s top 5 divisions come May and who neutral fans prefer in the country’s fiercest rivalry.

Who do you want to win the Premier League?

Manchester City (57.14%)

Blue moon…The majority of neutrals are hoping that the Citizens can retain their title

Manchester United (34.92%)
Chelsea (7.94%)

Who do you want to be relegated from the Premier League?

SOTV… Neutrals are hoping that hapless Villa’s time is up.

Queens Park Rangers (27.5%)

Aston Villa (20.9%)

Reading (13.2%)

Others (38.4%)

Who do you want to win promotion from the Championship?

Leicester City (22.6%)

On the hunt… Leicester are hoping to out-fox their promotion rivals.

Cardiff City (12.3%)

Crystal Palace (11.6%)

Others (52.5%)

Who do you want to be relegated from the Championship?

 

Adieu… The Championship wants rid of the Molineux

Peterborough United (17.3%)

Wolverhampton Wanderers (14.2%)

Bristol City (13.6%)

Others (54.9%)

Who do you want to be promoted from League One?

Bournemouth (11.7%)

Up the cherries… Fans want the south coast club to travel north in the league ladder.

Swindon Town (11.2%)

Notts County (11.2%)

Others (65.9%)

Who do you want to be relegated from League One?

Bury (14.4%)

Pay up Pompey… Fans are unsympathetic towards Pompey’s plight.

Portsmouth (13.7%)

Hartlepool United (13.0%)

Scunthorpe United (13.0%)

Others (55.9%)

Who do you want to be promoted from League Two?

BREWERS… Burton are wanted in League One.

Burton Albion (14.7%)

Bradford City (14.0%)

Port Vale (12.7%)

Gillingham (11.3%)

Others (47.3%)

Who do you want to be relegated from League Two?

Aldershot Town (25.2%)

Under the hill… Fans want Edgar Davids playing non-league football

Barnet (19.8%)

Others (55.0%)

Who do you want to be promoted from the Blue Square Premier?

Giant killers… Fans would savour a Luton league return.

Grimsby Town (19.5%)

Luton Town (19.1%)

Others (61.4%)

For the results pertaining to cup competitions and/or rivalries please feel free to contact me on Twitter http://www.twitter.com/ChrisRWhiting and ask for the results. I don’t have time to put them all on here at the moment but they will probably be posted soon.

El Clasico, me duck

Fester vs. Shottingham, The Bin Dippers vs. The Trees, Leicester vs. Forest

It may not be the biggest rivalry in East Midlands football but a significant rivalry exists nonetheless. The cities of Leicester and Nottingham are the urban heavyweights of the East Midlands and with the eerie alignment of off-field circumstances, next Saturday’s East Midlands derby could prove to be a very interesting one.

Rivals… Leicester City face Nottingham Forest.

History… Leicester have spent many years in Nottingham’s shadow

Even the most die-hard Leicester fans would struggle to argue that Leicester–Forest was the fiercest rivalry in the East Midlands. It’s no secret that Forest hold a much more ferocious disliking of Derby County but that’s not to say that Leicester and Forest don’t have a rivalry of their own. In fact, when it comes to the city rivalry of the region, Derby barely feature. Nottingham is recognised as a major English settlement whereas Leicester is regarded to be an outstanding example of a 21st century city. It’s probably fair to say that the inhabitants of Leicester have long looked at their northern neighbours from Nottingham with some disdain, due to the frequent disregard of their own city. Although, Nottingham is famous for Robin Hood nowadays its surpassed by Leicester in almost every way;  Leicester’s population as of the 2011 census stood at 327,000 compared to Nottingham’s 305,000 inhabitants, Leicester has the stronger economy of the two cities and the life expectancy of Leicesterians is some five years higher at 77 than those living in Nottingham at 72, the city with the highest crime rate per capita in the country.

Deforestation… Leicester have beaten Forest 7 times at their new home

Of course, the rivalry has ultimately transcended in to football. The clubs have met competitively on 102 occasions with Leicester holding the slight upper hand with 39 wins compared to Forest’s 38. To the pain of the Foxes, Forest recorded Leicester City’s biggest ever defeat back in April 1909 when City crashed out 12–0 to the Tricky Trees, in fact the performances by the men in blue were so terrible, the FA launched an inquiry, unearthing that the Leicester players had been hungover from a wedding reception the night before. Both sides seem to have a mutual lack of fortune at the other’s home ground. Since Leicester moved to the King Power Stadium in 2002, Forest have suffered 7 defeats in 9 visits, only scoring one goal in the process back in 2005. Leicester’s travelling woes are even worse with Leicester’s last league victory at the City Ground coming in 1972, a game in which both Keith Weller and Alan Birchenall scored. Although, you only have to travel back to 2007 for Leicester’s last win at the City Ground, a controversial 3–2 league cup win, remembered for Forest’s ‘free goal’, a gesture to represent the scoreline when the game was abandoned the first time around due to Clive Clark’s heart attack.

Comeback… Schmeichel sees red as Forest come back from two goals down at the City Ground

In fact, Leicester and Forest’s meetings haven’t been short of controversy in recent years, particularly at the City Ground. Last season, saw Leicester surrender a two goal lead at the City Ground after a controversial penalty and at best a dubious red card for Kasper Schmeichel. However, the fans of Nottingham Forest would take some heavy criticism following claims of racist chanting during a 0–0 draw during the 3rd round of the FA Cup. But perhaps the most intriguing thing about games between Leicester and Nottingham Forest is the differences in the fans’ attitudes. While, it’s true that the vast majority of Leicester fans consider Forest to be their main rivals the same isn’t true for the fans of the Tricky Trees. Leicester come a distant second to Derby County, a rivalry they seem bizarrely protective over. Actually, the most peculiar aspect of Forest’s approach to the Foxes is their persistence that they ‘don’t care’ about Leicester whilst simultaneously revelling in the Foxes misfortunes. In reality, Leicester are still a main target for Forest’s terrace chants and the Reds’ fans of Loughborough, Melton Mowbray and yesteryear would tell you there is a significant rivalry between the two clubs. What has always puzzled me is Forest’s decision not to embrace a second fierce rivalry to accompany the Derby one. In fact, Forest fans can appear arrogant in their dismissal of City, as if they’re above them when in truth, both clubs are equal nowadays with the Foxes having greater success in recent years. Although as much as Forest downplay the fixture, Leicester fans seem to amplify it when in reality it doesn’t deserve to sit among the fiercest derbies in the country.

On Both Sides… former Forest favourite, Wes Morgan is now captain of Leicester City

On the pitch, the battle between the two East Midlands giants is set to be close. In a bizarre twist of fate, Leicester and Forest seem to have had remarkably similar fortunes in recent seasons. Both reached and were knocked out of the play-off semi-finals in 2009/10, Leicester went on to appoint former England boss, Sven-Goran Eriksson to the manager’s position and Forest followed suit by hiring Steve McClaren. Now, the two are backed by multi-millionaire foreign owners and both expect to be back in the Premier League sooner rather than later. Leicester have lived up to pre-season expectations so far, sitting in the top four, having only lost one game at home this season. Forest travel to the King Power Stadium in great form and are (with Blackburn and Crystal Palace) the toughest team to beat in the league having lost just three times this season and in true competitive spirit, both clubs’ fans are buoyant with confidence, both hoping that this is the year that these two great clubs finally make it back to the big time.

Blue Side of the Trent

King Power Confidence… Leicester boast an impressive home record.

“Our season started out a bit rocky to say the least, good performances that resulted in nothing and we fully deserve to be where we are now if not with a few more points. Recent form has shown we’re capable of being up there with the best in the league. The rivalry is very played up in my opinion. I think it’s a bigger rivalry than Derby but that’s because my uncle supports Forest, they always make a massive thing of the games before they happen as do most Forest fans I’ve ever unfortunately come into contact with. In my eyes the rivalry is the biggest we’ve got but is pretty tame as rivalries go although it’s always nice to beat them. Not being able to go to the game is a real downer for me but in every other way I’m looking forward to a game that should generate a bit of atmosphere everywhere in the ground which will be good not only for fans but for the players too. This could be a fierce game with Forest hovering just outside the play-offs and Leicester in the run with Cardiff for 1st place, with both teams on a good run both with 2 losses in the last 10, the only separation is that Forest have had considerably more draws than Leicester . I predict a good game, few goals a spectacular goal is called for a Gally free kick maybe?” – @YouKnowLily_

———————————————————————–

“This could be the match to get the Foxes back on track. After going on a surging run of 7 unbeaten games, which included a 5-match winning streak, Leicester have come unstuck in recent matches vs Crystal Palace and Watford; losing both matches 2-1. You can already sense the anticipation in the Foxes ranks for this match as it is one of the matches that both sets of fans (no matter how much they’d like to hide it) look out for when the fixtures are released in summer. As our home record is fairly strong, coupled with their poor record at the King Power, I’m going in to this game with some confidence.
Not many Leicester fans could complain about how this season has gone so far. From the beginning, it looked like the inconsistencies of not being able to win 2 in a row would continue to haunt us. However, since the departure of a couple of key players, our squad got their act together and starting to win more than 1 game at a time! It set us up for a brief stint at the top of the league which had felt like an eternity to come. However, the past week hasn’t been so rosy which is why I believe beating Forest at home would get us back on the right track and get us back to the top again. It’s refreshing to see some creative players with flair and some entertainment back in the side – Anthony Knockaert especially. Wes Morgan though has been one of Pearson’s best signings. Solid as a rock at the back and would be fitting for him to score and lead the Foxes to a sweet victory over his old club.
Personally, I think Nottingham Forest have been our main rivals ahead of anyone else. I have seen them as a far superior threat than the likes of Derby and Coventry since I’ve supported Leicester. It does give me great pleasure each time we beat them, no doubt about that. And I’m sure it’s the same each time they beat us no matter how much they’d like to deny it. I was surprised to see them lose 4-1 at home to Millwall, but it just emphasises how unpredictable this league can be.
I’d love to give them a right thrashing on home turf. To be honest though, 3 points would be welcome in any particular fashion. I fancy Knockaert and King (should they play) to be on top form. I fully expect Wes Morgan to play the captain’s role once again. He’s been my player of the season so far. Very influential and commanding in central defence. I’ll go for 3-1; Nugent, King and Morgan for us; Billy Sharp for them. ” – @StanLCFC

———————————————————————–

“A very positive start to the season at the Kingpower, dominant till The Eagles took flight and capitalised. Away games started very poorly but certainly improved on this. We’ve created enough chances to win every game just that killer hitman would make us (and with no bias) the perfect team. Pearson putting us top of the league with very influential performances home and away has left all of the LCFC faithful feeling very positive, a feeling of satisfaction. Forest under new management and new investment is a very big positive now at the City Ground, will get the fans backing back after an ever so woeful season last campaign for the trees. Billy Sharp and Simon Cox looking strong and Jermaine Jenas being a playmaker on his second bite of the cherry with them, a new and stronger looking team for NFFC in my eyes and very dangerous. The rivalry… My Mum is a city fan, I grew up with that and that is never going to change, my Dad on the other hand a forest fan… Gets very sour with Papa Wainwright. The rivalry means a lot to me due to the family bragging rights. Forest thrashing us by 5 goals to the good left me feeling red faced but our stunning home performances against the Red Army leaving him under the blues quite literally every time. My overall prediction is a win, at all costs. Regaining that mentality to be winning every game will be drilled into the player’s heads by Nige… A challenge, but we will be the one’s winning on the tele, again.” – @_samwainwright

———————————————————————–

Red Side of the Trent

Rejuvenated Reds… Forest fans are hoping for a fox hunt.

“Forest vs Leicester is a game I always look forward too despite the fact that I don’t hate them as much as Derby. The games always seem to be memorable. Such as when we beat Leicester 5-1 or when Leicester beat us 4-0. The fact that Wes Morgan is now captain of Leicester makes next Saturday a little emotional for us Forest fans as we all still love that man and I for one will always love him.
The banter between Forest and Leicester fans is brilliant. Because all of us Forest fans go on like we don’t care about Leicester but in fact I think we all do, we just love to annoy the Leicester fans.
The way Leicester have started the season genuinely has surprised me, their squad doesn’t look as impressive as last season but they have got the results. On the other hand our start to the season has been impressive too which gets me so excited for the 10th November as I feel it will be a very close game just like the 0-0 last season. I am praying that next Saturday I will be celebrating our first victory at Leicester’s ground for a very long time rather than having to see all of the Leicester fan’s celebrating and more importantly seeing Wes Morgan celebrating.” – @zackgrundy26

———————————————————————–

“Robbie Findley with an incredible chance to score in a cup replay against bitter rivals Leicester City, somehow from no more than a few yards out puts the ball over the bar instead, of tucking away what seemed a certain goal. This was a moment that perfectly defined the 11/12 season for Nottingham Forest, a goal down away from home, again. A meager 1600 fans tucked away in the far corner of the ground, cursing their luck and reminiscing old managers and past seasons as they watch one of their 3 fit forwards squander a chance that seems harder to miss. Stood in the corner of that ground was one of the lowest points of my time following Forest, even down in League One we had some fight about us, passion. People wanted to watch us, 5000 fans travelled to places such as Oldham to watch their team, now, without even half of the allocation received 40 minutes down the road at Leicester, one of our 2 main rivals. A season plagued by tragedy, with the death of Nigel Doughty, injury, over paid primadonnas and sheer bad luck.
A few months down the line and what a difference a summer makes, with the Al-Hasawi family taking over in the summer and heavily investing in the squad, and most importantly the ideals of one Sean o’Driscoll things are looking up again on the red side of the Trent, with 5 games unbeaten (before Millwall at home this weekend) and big wins over title favourites Cardiff and a 4-1 win at a tough side in Barnsley the optimism is back for many Forest fans, along with the away followings, and most importantly the pride and willingness to play for the shirt. On Saturday 10th November, we face one of the sternest tests so far when we once again face bitter rivals Leicester City, who themselves are having a fantastic start to the season.
After a questionable start to the season which has seen media speculation regarding the future of Nigel Pearson (wrongly) Leicester have started to achieve the results that their performances had already been meriting, with some of the strongest teams in the league such as Blackpool being added to the impressive home record at the KP stadium. Fan favorite, and the ever-present David Nugent will be one of many players Forest must keep a keen eye on if they are to achieve any form of result at the KP this November, his pace is a match for any defence, never mind one that has recently been hit with injuries and is also only a few months in the making. A particular area of concern for me is the wide players at Leicester, Anthony Knockaert has shown what he is about with 2 world-class goals, and Lloyd Dyer, although inconsistent always seems to play havoc down the wing against Forest. This is an area which many teams have highlighted as a weak point in our defence with the generally narrow game that Forest play. Reminiscent of Stuart Pearce during the Clough Era the full backs will often over lap the supposed wide midfielder, whilst players such as Chris Cohen and Andy Reid will cut inside rather than hitting the byline like a typical winger. This has had its successes and failures, the most notable being the defeat at the hands of Derby County, and problems caused by two of the most exciting wingers in the league in Zaha and Redmond. In order to get anything out of this game Forest must play the game their own way and if Messer’s Halford or Harding do go on a Pearce style run then we need to make sure cover is available in the full back position . I’m confident that Forest have the ability and goals in the team to cause Leicester are a real problem at the KP, however I think any Forest fan would snatch a hand off for a draw before the game kicks off.” – @ImAshleyyyyyyyy

2012-13 Football Rivalry Survey Results

The survey was carried out between August 2012 and February 2013 and was answered by just under 2,100 football fans.

Rivalry… English football’s hate stakes revealed

Headline statistics

  • 17 clubs’ main rivals have changed since 2003.
  • Leeds United  have the most teams considering them as main rivals with four. Manchester United and Nottingham Forest are joint second with three each.
  • Gillingham  have the fewest rivals, appearing in no club’s top three rivalries.
  • 52.2% of fans believe that geographical proximity is the cause of their main rivalry. 34.7% blame it on history whereas 8.2% think it’s down to league position.
  • 73.9% of football fans claim they would miss their rivals if they ceased to exist.

Changing rivalries

Since 2003, 17 club’s main rivals have changed. They are as follows;

Team Old Rival New Rival
AFC Bournemouth Reading Southampton
Arsenal Manchester United Tottenham Hotspur
Bolton Wanderers Manchester United Wigan Athletic
Brentford Queens Park Rangers Fulham
Carlisle United Middlesbrough Preston North End
Chelsea Arsenal Tottenham Hotspur
Colchester United Wycombe Wanderers Southend United
Coventry City Aston Villa Leicester City
Crewe Alexandra Stoke City Port Vale
Doncaster Rovers Rotherham United Leeds United
Fulham Chelsea Queens Park Rangers
Huddersfield Town Bradford City Leeds United
Oldham Athletic Manchester City Rochdale
Reading Swindon Town Aldershot Town
Torquay United Exeter City Plymouth Argyle
Tranmere Rovers Bolton Wanderers Oldham Athletic

Clubs with the most rivals

With 3 points allocated for having one main rival and two for having a secondary rival etc., here is a ranking of clubs with the most rivals in the Football League.

Rank Club Points
1 Leeds 25
2 Chelsea 15
Manchester United 15
4 Bolton 14
Swindon 14
Wolves 14
7 Burnley 12
Millwall 12
Sheff Wed 12
10 Crystal Palace 11
Leicester 11
MK Dons 11
13 Aston Villa 10
Blackburn 10
Brighton 10
16 Bristol Rovers 9
Liverpool 9
Nott’m Forest 9
Oxford 9
Reading 9
West Brom 9
West Ham 9
23 Arsenal 8
Preston 8
Tottenham Hotspur 8
26 Birmingham 7
Bristol City 7
Cardiff 7
Colchester 7
Derby 7
Exeter 7
Port Vale 7
Sheff Utd 7
Southampton 7
35 Huddersfield 6
Hull 6
Morecambe 6
Newcastle 6
Peterborough 6
Plymouth 6
Portsmouth 6
QPR 6
Southend 6
Stoke 6
45 Accrington 5
AFC Wimbledon 5
Barnet 5
Barnsley 5
Chesterfield 5
Dag & Red 5
Fulham 5
Middlesbrough 5
Northampton 5
Oldham 5
Rochdale 5
Sunderland 5
Wigan 5
58 Blackpool 4
Bradford 4
Brentford 4
Charlton 4
Doncaster 4
Everton 4
Ipswich 4
Leyton Orient 4
Torquay 4
67 Aldershot 3
Bury 3
Carlisle 3
Manchester City 3
Norwich 3
Rotherham 3
Stevenage 3
Swansea 3
Walsall 3
Wycombe 3
77 Crewe 2
Hartlepool 2
Shrewsbury 2
80 Bournemouth 1
Coventry 1
Crawley 1
Notts County 1
Scunthorpe 1
Yeovil 1
86 Burton 0
Cheltenham 0
Fleetwood 0
Gillingham 0
Tranmere 0
Watford 0
York 0

Rivalries – Who are they?

Here is a complete list of the 92 Premier League and Football League clubs’ top three rivalries;

Team Main rivals Second rivals Third rivals
Accrington Stanley Morecambe Blackburn Rovers Burnley
AFC Bournemouth Southampton Reading Brighton & Hove Albion
AFC Wimbledon Milton Keynes Dons Crystal Palace Crawley Town
Aldershot Town Reading Woking Swindon Town
Arsenal Tottenham Hotspur Chelsea Manchester United
Aston Villa Birmingham City West Bromwich Albion Wolves
Barnet Stevenage Dagenham & Redbridge Northampton Town / Carlisle United
Barnsley Sheffield Wednesday Sheffield United Leeds United / Huddersfield Town
Birmingham City Aston Villa Wolves West Bromwich Albion
Blackburn Rovers Burnley Bolton Wanderers Manchester United
Blackpool Preston North End Bolton Wanderers Burnley
Bolton Wanderers Wigan Athletic Burnley Blackburn Rovers
Bradford City Huddersfield Town Leeds United Rotherham United
Brentford Fulham Queens Park Rangers Chelsea
Brighton & Hove Albion Crystal Palace Portsmouth Southampton
Bristol City Bristol Rovers Cardiff City Swindon Town
Bristol Rovers Bristol City Swindon Town Cardiff City
Burnley Blackburn Rovers Bolton Wanderers Blackpool / Preston North End
Burton Albion Chesterfield Derby County Notts County
Bury Bolton Wanderers Rochdale Oldham Athletic
Cardiff City Swansea City Bristol City Leeds United
Carlisle United Preston North End Hartlepool United Middlesbrough
Charlton Athletic Crystal Palace Millwall West Ham United
Chelsea Tottenham Hotspur Arsenal Manchester United
Cheltenham Town Swindon Town Oxford United Shrewsbury Town / Kidderminster Harriers
Chesterfield Mansfield Town Rotherham United Sheffield Wednesday
Colchester United Southend United Wycombe Wanderers Ipswich Town
Coventry City Leicester City Aston Villa Birmingham City
Crawley Town AFC Wimbledon Brighton & Hove Albion Swindon Town
Crewe Alexandra Port Vale Stoke City
Crystal Palace Brighton & Hove Albion Millwall Charlton Athletic
Dagenham & Redbridge Barnet Leyton Orient Brentford
Derby County Nottingham Forest Leeds United Leicester City
Doncaster Rovers Leeds United Barnsley Sheffield United / Sheffield Wednesday
Everton Liverpool Manchester United Manchester City
Exeter City Plymouth Argyle Torquay United Bristol Rovers / Yeovil Town
Fleetwood Town Morecambe Accrington Stanley Barrow
Fulham Queens Park Rangers Chelsea Brentford
Gillingham Millwall Charlton Athletic Swindon Town
Hartlepool United Darlington Carlisle United Sheffield Wednesday
Huddersfield Town Leeds United Bradford City Sheffield Wednesday
Hull City Leeds United Leicester City Scunthorpe United / Grimsby Town
Ipswich Town Norwich City West Ham United Colchester United
Leeds United Manchester United Chelsea Huddersfield Town / Millwall
Leicester City Nottingham Forest Derby County Coventry City
Leyton Orient Southend United Brentford Dagenham & Redbridge / West Ham United
Liverpool Manchester United Everton Chelsea
Manchester City Manchester United Liverpool Everton
Manchester United Liverpool Manchester City Chelsea
Middlesbrough Newcastle United Sunderland Leeds United
Millwall West Ham United Crystal Palace Charlton Athletic
Milton Keynes Dons Peterborough United AFC Wimbledon Northampton Town
Morecambe Accrington Stanley Burnley Bradford City
Newcastle United Sunderland Middlesbrough Manchester United
Northampton Town Peterborough United Milton Keynes Dons Leicester City / Oxford United
Norwich City Ipswich Town Wolves Leeds United
Nottingham Forest Derby County Leicester City Sheffield United
Notts County Nottingham Forest Mansfield Town Chesterfield
Oldham Athletic Rochdale Wigan Athletic Huddersfield Town
Oxford United Swindon Town Reading Wycombe Wanderers
Peterborough United Northampton Town Cambridge United Leicester City / Milton Keynes Dons
Plymouth Argyle Exeter City Torquay United Portsmouth
Port Vale Stoke City Crewe Alexandra Shrewsbury Town
Portsmouth Southampton Brighton & Hove Albion Millwall / Leicester City
Preston North End Blackpool Blackburn Rovers Burnley
Queens Park Rangers Chelsea Fulham Cardiff City / Stoke City
Reading Aldershot Town Swindon Town Oxford United
Rochdale Bury Burnley Oldham Athletic
Rotherham United Doncaster Rovers Sheffield Wednesday Chesterfield
Scunthorpe United Hull City Grimsby Town Doncaster Rovers
Sheffield United Sheffield Wednesday Leeds United Barnsley / West Ham United
Sheffield Wednesday Sheffield United Barnsley Leeds United
Shrewsbury Town Walsall Wolves Port Vale
Southampton Portsmouth Brighton & Hove Albion Bournemouth
Southend United Colchester United Leyton Orient Dagenham & Redbridge
Stevenage Milton Keynes Dons Barnet Dagenham & Redbridge
Stoke City Port Vale West Bromwich Albion Wolves
Sunderland Newcastle United Middlesbrough Leeds United
Swansea City Cardiff City Reading Bristol City
Swindon Town Oxford United Reading Bristol City / Bristol Rovers
Torquay United Plymouth Argyle Exeter City Bristol Rovers
Tottenham Hotspur Arsenal Chelsea West Ham United
Tranmere Rovers Oldham Athletic Bolton Wanderers Everton / Liverpool
Walsall Wolves Aston Villa West Bromwich Albion
Watford Luton Town Leeds United Crystal Palace / Queens Park Rangers
West Bromwich Albion Wolves Aston Villa Birmingham City
West Ham United Millwall Tottenham Hotspur Arsenal / Chelsea
Wigan Athletic Bolton Wanderers Blackburn Rovers Preston North End
Wolves West Bromwich Albion Birmingham City Aston Villa
Wycombe Wanderers Colchester United Milton Keynes Dons Oxford United
Yeovil Town Bristol Rovers Exeter City
York City Hull City Leeds United Bradford City

Neutral opinion

The 20 most offensive clubs to the neutral football fan;

  1. Manchester United

    Hated… Manchester United are the most disliked English football club

  2. Liverpool
  3. Leeds United
  4. Chelsea
  5. West Ham United
  6. Stoke City
  7. Millwall
  8. Milton Keynes Dons
  9. Cardiff City
  10. Queens Park Rangers
  11. Manchester City
  12. Arsenal
  13. Tottenham Hotspur
  14. Crawley Town
  15. Birmingham City
  16. Aston Villa
  17. Hull City
  18. Nottingham Forest
  19. Reading
  20. Portsmouth

The 20 least offensive clubs to the neutral football fan were;

  1. Brentford

    Buzzing… The Bees are the Football League’s least offensive club

  2. Aldershot Town
  3. Burton Albion
  4. Bury
  5. Yeovil Town
  6. Cheltenham Town
  7. Dagenham & Redbridge
  8. Exeter City
  9. Torquay United
  10. Fulham
  11. Bournemouth
  12. Colchester United
  13. Leyton Orient
  14. Rochdale
  15. York City
  16. Carlisle United
  17. Crewe Alexandra
  18. Hartlepool United
  19. Tranmere Rovers
  20. Accrington Stanley

All stats compared with 2003 Football Fans Census : Rivalry Uncovered. However, this survey is not affiliated with the Football Fans Survey.

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

The Apathy Derby : Coventry vs. Leicester

 

M69 rivals Leicester and Coventry are separated by just 19.1 miles. The cities’ populations are almost identical with Coventry’s at 303,475 and Leicester’s just eclipsing that with 330,574 inhabitants and with these two similar cities separated by a single road it would make sense for the two to be the greatest of rivals. But that just isn’t the case.

Battle in blue… Leicester and Coventry are M69 rivals

Historically, the two clubs have set their hateful eyes on those within their own regions. Leicester seeing East Midlands’ clubs Nottingham Forest and Derby County as the enemy with Coventry viewing Brummie neighbours Villa and Birmingham City as their main West Midlands foes. This viewpoint was picked up on in the 2003 Football fans census. Pre-Brian Clough, the main rivalry in the

Unrequited… Coventry viewed Aston Villa as their main rivals.

East Midlands had been between Leicester and Forest,  a hostility that is currently rejuvenating between the two clubs. However, excluding the dwellers of Loughborough, Melton Mowbray and yesteryear. The tricky trees attention has been firmly on the Rams since the 1970s. In fact, Leicester had had a rivalry with Derby themselves stemming from a 1994 play-off final win by the Foxes  and several shared seasons in the Premier League during the late 1990s. Sharing a division could also be attributed to the birth of the Coventry-Villa feud, two clubs who shared the top flight for more than 30 years.

However, following Coventry’s and Leicester’s relegations from the Premier League in 2001 and 2004 respectively, the attention of the fans began to turn elsewhere. Coventry were under a massive disillusion that Villa and Birmingham still saw them as rivals. Unfortunately for them, they only had eyes for each other and as early as 2003, neither club saw them as one of their main three rivals. Leicester’s branch of supporters in the south west Leicestershire town of Hinckley became more vocal of their hatred for neighbouring Coventry. Whereas, Foxes elsewhere retained their disdain for Forest and Derby who remained rooted in the 2nd tier with them. Within, the following seasons the media began to pick up on the ‘rivalry’ between the two clubs dubbing it the ‘M69 derby’ after the extensive piece of tarmac connecting the two clubs. The rivalry began to increase in intensity particularly for the Coventry fans who had nowhere else to turn in the sense of a rivals culminating in Leicester’s first ever relegation to the third tier in 2008 with the subsequent repreival of Coventry.

As the rivalry between the two clubs grew, rivalries between Leicester & Forest and Leicester & Derby seemed to diminish with neither

Indifferent… Forest don’t hate Leicester anymore

of them claiming to ‘care’ about the Foxes. A similar mantra that has since been adopted by some of the Sky Blues faithful in an effort to stamp a footballing superiority complex on Leicester. Although, it is fair to say that Leicester fans have in turn voiced their apathy towards Coventry with many of the Leicester followers still seeing Forest as the enemy, often chanting “We hate Forest! We hate Derby! Who the f**k are Coventry!” at home and away fixtures.

Evidence that the rivalry between the two had been growing up until 2011-12 with Coventry’s relegation to League One is apparent through the attendance figures;

English: Ricoh Arena, Coventry, England, durin...

English: Ricoh Arena, Coventry, England, during a football match. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Empty seats… Although attendances increase. The M69 derby is never a sell-out

Coventry2011/12Average league attendance : 15, 118    Attendance vs. Leicester – 21,102
2010/11 – Average league attendance : 16, 409    Attendance vs. Leicester – 20,06o
2009/10 – Average league attendance : 17,305    Attendance vs. Leicester – 22,209

Leicester2011/12 Average league attendance: 23,036     Attendance vs. Coventry 25,487
2010/11 Average league attendance: 23,666  Attendance vs. Coventry –  25,356
2009/10 Average league attendance: 24,542  Attendance vs. Coventry –  23,093

These figures show that in the last 3 seasons Coventry’s home attendance increases by around 5,000 every time Leicester come to town. The Foxes home gate has increased by 1,500 for the Sky Blues visit and has even been a higher attended fixture in the 2011/12 then either of the visits by Derby or Forest. However, Leicester did take 8,000 fans to the City Ground in the FA Cup.

However, a smaller survey I carried out in March 2012 revealed that nowadays, Coventry City fans do view Leicester as their main rivals. Whereas, Leicester still only view Coventry as their 3rd greatest enemies with Derby in 2nd and Forest in 1st. Neither, Aston Villa nor Birmingham reciprocated any sort of rivalry towards the Sky Blues but Forest and Derby both placed Leicester among their top 3 rivals in 2nd and 3rd respectively.

Sky Blue view – @_CharlieHarris 

Rivals… Coventry have nowhere to turn after their relegation from the top-flight

“I hate the M69 derby. In fact I despise it. We never win and the match just turns into contest of “We hate you less than you hate us”, frankly it gets a little embarrassing. Before long the cringe-worthy, and nonsensical ‘interbred’ chant is started by the Coventry fans and Leicester respond with the equally poor “Who the f*ck are Coventry”. If the matches played between Algeria and Egypt are known as the “Match of Hate” they the M69 derby should be known as the “Match of mild discontentment” or the match of “We hate someone else more than you anyway”.

With Coventry the rivalry is very much a generational thing. As of recent times, Leicester have been seen as the biggest rival, mainly due to being the most local team in the the same divisions as Coventry for prolonged amount of times. Most  younger Sky Blues recognise Leicester as the “enemy” and are those responsible for the cringey afore mentioned ‘interbred’ chant. For the younger fan base, the M69 derby was always the first game to look out for upon release of the new fixture lists, and voted at 26th in a list compiled of the fiercest derbies suggests that it’s not only those few Coventry and Leicester fans that see this game as a rivalry.

There is a group of more senior Coventry fans who have a similar approach to the match as the majority of Leicester fans, to them Leicester are simply a third rate rival behind the likes of Birmingham and Villa, in the same trail of thought as those Leicester fans who see Coventry as third rate behind Nottingham Forest an Derby. The Coventry fans whom posses this mindset tend to be those who were brought up believing that Leicester where smaller club during the time in which Coventry where Premier League mainstays and FA Cup winners, while Leicester where more commonly found in Division Two.

For a derby that is constantly downplayed by both sets of fans – albeit more from Leicester than Coventry – the tie has a history of recent violence. In 2008 fights broke out on Earlsdon High Street , Coventry, before a 2-0 Coventry victory. Violence also occurred before a 2004 meeting in Coventry when missiles where launched at the police. Even this is relatively frequent occurrence for a rivalry in which the two teams apparently  don’t care about each other.

Personally, I grew up being taught that Leicester were the rivals. I despised them until around the age of 12, mainly because I was told too. Growing up and hearing older City fans opinions on the rivalry and the opinions of Leicester fans made me realise it wasn’t as big a deal. Nowadays the only time I’ve properly hated Leicester was when they first got their investment and their fans were giving it the big’un over social networking about how they would walk the league etc. Obviously now it would be a bit hypocritical of me to think this way seeing the way some of our slightly less educated fans have acted upon or relegation to League One. Social network has allowed me to connect with more Leicester fans than previously and after meeting some decent people it hard to adopt the same hatred as felt before. The same reason I don’t feel the same any hatred towards Villa like many City fans, and also a reason I don’t particularly hate Birmingham either. Hooray for social networking and all that. ”

Through a Fox’s eyes– @deangoodsell

Underrated… Leicester fans play down the rivalry with the Sky Blues

The M69 derby may not be one held in such high regards as Nottingham Forest and Derby are; however, it is not one that should be dismissed completely. Bordering many neighbours, all at a similar footballing standard does mean that Coventry get overlooked more often than they should. One of the biggest aspects of football rivalry for fans is having bragging rights over your colleagues, your friends and your neighbours. Living in Melton Mowbray, I have interaction with Forest fans on a daily basis, therefore I have always considered Forest to be our ‘main’ rivalry but that all depends on where you reside in Leicestershire. More often that not, you’ll find people closer to the Coventry border, such as Hinckley, will regard them as our biggest rivals.
Leicester and Coventry fans have always had a rivalry, the friction between the two is often higher than it is with both Forest and Derby. As a regular tweeter, I witness the mocking and taunting between both fans quite regularly. However, the history between both sets of fans goes a bit further than a few mean words. Back in 2008, fans from both sides took to the streets to participate in a brawl. Up to 100 fans clashed on the streets outside a Coventry pub after a recent football match. Eleven men ended up arrested with knives and other weaponry being confiscated by officers, one man suffered head injuries in the fight. It was the biggest scene of violence that Leicester fans have been involved in over the past few years.
Personally, I have always considered Coventry as the rivalry it deserves to be. Whilst it may not be up to El Clasico standard, it is certainly a rivalry that makes an otherwise dull game more interesting. Up until this season, Forest, Derby and Coventry were all games I looked for first upon the release of the fixture lists each season. It was a few years before I actually experienced an M69 derby, the history of violence between both sets of fans meant that, when I was younger, my parents would refuse to let me go. Ever since, I’ve considered Coventry as our second biggest rivalry. One moment I will certainly never forget about our rivalry with Coventry, is watching a video shortly after our relegation to League One with Coventry fans chanting: ‘Leicester’s going down!’ For me, that left more of a sour taste in my mouth than relegation itself.
Overall, the M69 derby is certainly one that will be missed by most fans this season. Although it is not the biggest, the most talked about or most attended derby game, it can certainly be ranked up there with the best East Midlands derbies.

Speaking strictly from a Leicester perspective; the Foxes faithful will moan and begrudge the Trees and Sheep for downplaying our rivalry with claims of apathy when it is painfully clear that despite not being their main rivals, there is a mutual dislike among our supporters. It’s a defence mechanism that aims to protect the stature of one club as more prestigious than the other, an almost belittling viewpoint. So maybe, Leicester don’t see Coventry as important as games against Forest or Derby but does that mean that M69 derby wins don’t mean more than beating the likes of Watford? We can sing our ‘Who the f**k are Coventry’ chants long in to the night just as long as you’re aware that really all we’re doing is emulating the red scum to the north in their pathetic tirade of superiority. And as far as Coventry fans go, if you ever find yourself disillusioned with who your rivals are; look east.