Sheffield

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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2013–14 Football League Championship Fans’ Preview (Part 2)

With little time left before the clubs of the 2nd tier return to their hallowed turf. The fans of all 24 clubs have a chance to voice their dreams, opinions and concerns for the 10-month battle that lies ahead.

Ipswich Town
@S_BaileyITFC

False dawns… Ipswich have remained in the Championship for 12 consecutive seasons.

Home ground: Portman Road (Capacity: 30,309)
Nickname: The Tractor Boys
Rivals: Norwich City, Colchester United
Last season: 14th
Odds: 22/1

1. What’s your greatest hope for the new season?
Greatest hope would have to be going up as Champions. Other than that, just promotion!

2.What’s your biggest fear?
Another mediocre season. Things finally seem on the up for us and it would be typical Ipswich if we had another boring, average season.

3. In which areas does your team most need to strengthen?
We need a couple of wingers, a goalkeeper and a centre back.

4. Who do you most want to beat this season?
All 23 teams. Twice, haha. QPR maybe. It would be nice to finally see us win at the City Ground, I suppose.

5. Players in your squad to look out for…
Aaron Cresswell, promising left back with Premier League teams sniffing around. Tommy Smith, young international centre back. Frank Nouble,striker. Has been around the block for someone so young but can really push on next season and will hopefully score a shed load.

6. Who will win the league?
QPR, if they can hold on to a few of their top players and manage to bond as a team they should be unstoppable.

7. Who will go down?
As always, a tough one to call. Yeovil will be on everyone’s list but promoted teams usually surprise. I’ll go with Barnsley, Huddersfield and Millwall.

8. Who will be this season’s ‘dark horses’?
It’s the Championship, Yeovil could win the league and QPR could go down. I think Bournemouth might surprise a few people. Maybe a top ten finish.

9. Where will you finish?
Top 6, hopefully. Although we’ve said that for the last 12 years.

 

Leeds United
@AlexMetcalfLUFC

Sleeping giant… Investment will be key for Leeds United

Home ground: Elland Road (Capacity: 39,460)
Nickname: The Lilywhites
Rivals: Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool, Sheffield Wednesday
Last season: 13th
Odds: 18/1

1. What’s your greatest hope for the new season?
The dream would be automatic promotion obviously, would settle for playoffs.

2.What’s your biggest fear?
Being the same old Leeds, selling best talent and being in a relegation battle.

3. In which areas does your team most need to strengthen?
We’re desperate for wingers, and a creative presence in midfield.

4. Who do you most want to beat this season?
Always nice to beat Yorkshire rivals like Wednesday and Huddersfield, would be nice to beat Reading for Brian.

5. Players in your squad to look out for…
Sam Byram, best young defender in the league. Chris Dawson is a young lad with a lot of potential if he gets game time. Matt Smith could surprise a few people too.

6. Who will win the league?
I fancy QPR if they keep the majority of their squad.

7. Who will go down?
Barnsley, Yeovil & Huddersfield or Millwall.

8. Who will be this season’s ‘dark horses’?
Bournemouth will do better than most people fancy I think. Also think Bolton could do quite well.

9. Where will you finish?
10th without a whole lot of investment. 5/6th if we get a couple of decent signings.

Leicester City

@BertLCFC

Vengeful… The Foxes are ready to swat the Hornets.

Home ground: King Power Stadium (Capacity: 32,262)
Nickname: The Foxes
Rivals: Nottingham Forest, Derby County, Coventry City
Last season: 6th
Odds: 11/1

1. What’s your greatest hope for the new season?
That we get promotion! It’s been too long.

2.What’s your biggest fear?
That our Thai owners pull out. Don’t want us going the same way as Portsmouth.

3. In which areas does your team most need to strengthen?
I’d say in the midfield area the most, although we need a new centre back to partner big Wes Morgan.

4. Who do you most want to beat this season?
That’s easy, Watford.

5. Players in your squad to look out for…
Obviously I’d say Anthony Knockaert, he’ll have a better seen than the last. Matty James & Chris Wood as well.

6. Who will win the league?
A toss-up between Reading and QPR, I’d say Reading. Decent squad for this league and a manager that knows how to get out of the league.

7. Who will go down?
Yeovil, Barnsley And Doncaster. Other than Yeovil it was a tough call.

8. Who will be this season’s ‘dark horses’?
Ipswich. Finished very strong towards the end of the season and have a good manager.

9. Where will you finish?
Somewhere in the top six, but I’m hoping in the top two.

Middlesbrough
@JackWithoutJill

Bottle… Boro fan Jack Harris fears the Smoggies may be in trouble.

Home ground: Riverside Stadium (Capacity: 34,988)
Nickname: Boro
Rivals: Newcastle United, Sunderland, Leeds United
Last season: 16th
Odds: 33/1

1. What’s your greatest hope for the new season?
Looking back at least season, I’d be happy to get a top half finish. I think it’s going to be difficult for us to stay afloat this year.

2.What’s your biggest fear?
Relegation. We aren’t a team that can bounce straight back, if e go down, we will stay down for a long time.

3. In which areas does your team most need to strengthen?
We need a good centre back. A proper captain. Someone who can lead a team week in, week out. A proven goal scorer is always nice though.

4. Who do you most want to beat this season?
Everyone hates Leeds, right? I always love it when we beat them, especially at their place.

5. Players in your squad to look out for…
If we keep him and he’s fit, Muzzy Carayol. One of the few players who can actually run at a defender and isn’t scared of a 1-on-1.

6. Who will win the league?
I think it will be between Bolton and Reading. Bolton finished strong last year and Reading just seem to be making the right signings.

7. Who will go down?
Yeovil, Doncaster and Barnsley. Maybe us depending on the first half of the season.

8. Who will be this season’s ‘dark horses’?
I think Bournemouth may cause a few upsets.

9. Where will you finish?
18th.

Millwall
@AlfieIrving

Sustainable… Jackett-less Millwall hope they can challenge.

Home ground: The Den (Capacity: 20,146)
Nickname: The Lions
Rivals: West Ham United, Crystal Palace, Charlton Athletic
Last season: 20th
Odds: 80/1

1. What’s your greatest hope for the new season?
To comfortably avoid relegation, and make it in to the top half of the table. As well as finishing above Charlton!

2.What’s your biggest fear?
Fans abusing Lomas, atmosphere turns sour, results begin to go against us and we end up on a manager merry-go-round with no stability.

3. In which areas does your team most need to strengthen?
Striker, strikers and more strikers. Serious lack of goals in 2013, from 5th to 20th, almost relegated.

4. Who do you most want to beat this season?
Got to be Charlton, definitely.

5. Players in your squad to look out for…
Andy Keogh and Liam Trotter. Both had poor seasons last time round, but I believe Lomas can get the best out of them!

6. Who will win the league?
For me, QPR. Very strong squad, lots of depth and a great manager. Twitch.

7. Who will go down?
Yeovil, Doncaster and Huddersfield.

8. Who will be this season’s ‘dark horses’?
Ipswich Town.

9. Where will you finish?
13th-15th.

Nottingham Forest
@Harry_Martin_14

Fearful… Forest are wary of their East Midlands rivals.

Home ground: City Ground (Capacity: 30,576)
Nickname: The Reds, The Tricky Trees
Rivals: Derby County, Leicester City, Sheffield United, Notts County
Last season: 8th
Odds: 12/1

1. What’s your greatest hope for the new season?
Obviously, like any other fan; promotion.

2.What’s your biggest fear?
Derby doing well, as I can see that happening.

3. In which areas does your team most need to strengthen?
A new striker for sure, a couple of wingers and a goal keeper.

4. Who do you most want to beat this season?
LEICESTER!

5. Players in your squad to look out for…
Henri Lansbury, Adlene Guedioura, Simon Cox, Greg Halford and Karl Darlow.

6. Who will win the league?
In my opinion, you can’t predict anything in this league.

7. Who will go down?
Like I said, I have no clue.

8. Who will be this season’s ‘dark horses’?
Charlton & Ipswich.

9. Where will you finish?
1st.

Queens Park Rangers

@Adz_Graham

Favourites… QPR fans are cautiously optimistic

Home ground: Loftus Road (Capacity: 18,360)
Nickname: The Hoops
Rivals: Chelsea, Fulham
Last season: 20th (Premier League)
Odds: 6/1

1. What’s your greatest hope for the new season?
To contend for a top 6 finish giving us a slight hope of promotion.

2.What’s your biggest fear?
Biggest fear has to be doing a Wolverhampton.

3. In which areas does your team most need to strengthen?
Midfield.

4. Who do you most want to beat this season?
Leeds United for ruining our last day of the season promotion party!

5. Players in your squad to look out for…
Depending on who stays… Taraabt, Andy Johnson.

6. Who will win the league?
I believe this season may be Watford’s.

7. Who will go down?
Bournemouth, Yeovil and Millwall.

8. Who will be this season’s ‘dark horses’?
Once again Watford may be not expected to win the title.

9. Where will you finish?
5th.

Reading
@AdamTucker_

Fancied… The Royals are predicted success.

Home ground: Madejski Stadium (Capacity: 24,224)
Nickname: The Royals
Rivals: Swindon Town, Oxford United, Aldershot Town
Last season: 19th (Premier League)
Odds: 11/1

1. What’s your greatest hope for the new season?
Winning the league title and returning to the Premier League.

2.What’s your biggest fear?
Replicating Wolves and suffering successive relegations.

3. In which areas does your team most need to strengthen?
The midfield, last season in the premier league the service to the frontmen was below par.

4. Who do you most want to beat this season?
Probably Leeds, due to Brian Mcdermott!

5. Players in your squad to look out for…
Adam Le Fondre and Hal Robson Kanu, both stand out players last season.

6. Who will win the league?
Nottingham Forest or Reading.

7. Who will go down?
Yeovil, Huddersfield and Doncaster

8. Who will be this season’s ‘dark horses’?
Derby or Ipswich.

9. Where will you finish?
1st/2nd.

Sheffield Wednesday
@AlexandraSWFC

Safety… The Owls have survival on their minds.

Home ground: Hillsborough (Capacity: 39,812)
Nickname: The Owls
Rivals: Sheffield United, Barnsley, Leeds United
Last season: 18th
Odds: 66/1

1. What’s your greatest hope for the new season?
To have a fresh start, get some creativity into the team, cement our place in the league.

2.What’s your biggest fear?
A relegation scrap again, but it’s likely.

3. In which areas does your team most need to strengthen?
Going forward definitely. A prolific goal scorer is needed. Then perhaps a centre back.

4. Who do you most want to beat this season?
Leeds or Barnsley.

5. Players in your squad to look out for…
Michail Antonio, Lewis Buxton.

6. Who will win the league?
Forest or Wigan.

7. Who will go down?
Yeovil, Huddersfield, and either Bournemouth or Millwall.

8. Who will be this season’s ‘dark horses’?
Ipswich.

9. Where will you finish?
Hopefully around 14th-17th.

Watford
@david_wfc

Borrowers… Watford will be impacted by new loan rules.

Home ground: Vicarage Road (Capacity: 17,477)
Nickname: The Hornets
Rivals: Luton Town, QPR, Crystal Palace
Last season: 3rd
Odds: 14/1

1. What’s your greatest hope for the new season?
That we can get promoted.

2.What’s your biggest fear?
Not retaining key players such as Abdi.

3. In which areas does your team most need to strengthen?
We need a CB , CM and ST as an option.

4. Who do you most want to beat this season?
QPR , Leeds , Blackpool.

5. Players in your squad to look out for…
Forestieri and Battocchio.

6. Who will win the league?
Hmm… Reading?

7. Who will go down?
Sheff Wed , Yeovil , Doncaster.

8. Who will be this season’s ‘dark horses’?
AFC Bournemouth.

9. Where will you finish?
I hate this question… 9th?

Wigan Athletic
@CharleyH91

Distracted… The Latics’ European venture could hinder them

Home ground: DW Stadium (Capacity: 25,133)
Nickname: The Latics
Rivals: Bolton Wanderers
Last season: 18th (Premier League)
Odds: 12/1

1. What’s your greatest hope for the new season?
To go straight back up, or another miracle cup run.

2.What’s your biggest fear?
To take a double drop and get relegated again.

3. In which areas does your team most need to strengthen?
This is a difficult one because we have a much changed squad but we could definitely use a better defensive record.

4. Who do you most want to beat this season?
Bolton.

5. Players in your squad to look out for…
Shaun Maloney and Callum McManaman. If we can keep hold of that pairing then I’m confident we’ll do well in this league.

6. Who will win the league?
It’s been quite a few years since I last followed the championship closely and it’s a very competitive and unpredictable league so I really couldn’t say. There’s no stand out teams for me.

7. Who will go down?
Same as above.

8. Who will be this season’s ‘dark horses’?
I can see Bournemouth surprising a few people and doing quite well this season.

9. Where will you finish?
This could go either way, dependent on the new manager and which players we keep/sign… anywhere in the top half.

Yeovil Town
@DazRTaylor

Underdogs… The Glovers are desperate to disprove their doubters.

Home ground: Huish Park (Capacity: 9,565)
Nickname: The Glovers
Rivals: Weymouth, Bournemouth
Last season: 4th (League One)
Odds: 250/1

1. What’s your greatest hope for the new season?
Survival! We are being written off already, just like we were for our eight seasons in League One.

2.What’s your biggest fear?
Relegation. The club have worked so hard to get where we are, I would like a few years at this level.

3. In which areas does your team most need to strengthen?
I would say centre back especially. We lost Dan Burn back to his parent club and that is a big hole to fill.

4. Who do you most want to beat this season?
QPR. Last season, our playing budget for the entire season was £950,000. They have players who earn that in ten weeks.

5. Players in your squad to look out for…
Marek Stech in goal. Czech Under 21 international and will play in the top flight one day. Paddy Madden up front. Ed Upson in midfield.

6. Who will win the league?
It *should* be QPR, but I think they will crash & burn. So I will go for Leicester City.

7. Who will go down?
Barnsley, Doncaster & Bournemouth.

8. Who will be this season’s ‘dark horses’?
Ipswich Town. Mick McCarthy has done it all before.

9. Where will you finish?
20th.