As a football fan, every game is important. The feeling of seeing your team win is hands-down one of the best moments of your week. But when the local rivals come to town? Well it becomes a whole different story. And as we brace ourselves for another season of derby day disasters and triumphs, Teams on Tour have done the homework and come up with the biggest derby days on planet Earth.
The Old Firm Derby – Celtic vs Rangers
Ironically the tie between Celtic and Rangers came about from the commentators for the first fixture between the two referring to the sides as “like two old, firm friends”. This could not be further from the truth. The Old Firm Derby has thrown up some unforgettable moments in its long history, and this season we expect many, many more.
The Tyne-Wear Derby – Newcastle United vs Sunderland FC
The battle for the Tyne-Wear is one for the ages. Arguably the North East’s greatest match day, when Sunderland come to St. James’ Park or Newcastle find their way to the Stadium of Light, madness ensues. Who can forget Ruud Gullit dropping Alan Shearer, Pardew taking on Martin O’Neill and Steven Taylor’s comments about stamps? Truly bonkers but always brilliant.
The Manchester Derby – Manchester United vs Manchester City
These days the Manchester Derby is becoming more and more like the Premier League’s equivalent of El Clasico. But unlike El Clasico, this derby has only really been a competition in the past decade after years of dominance from the Red Devils. But as City proved in 2014 with a 3-0 win away from home, the blues aren’t just “noisy neighbours” any more.
El Clasico – Barcelona vs Real Madrid
The exception to all rules about derby days is El Clasico, as geographically Barcelona and Real Madrid are nowhere near each other. But that doesn’t make this rivalry any less fierce, in fact this fixture is one of the most-watched in the world and is a staple in any football fans calendar, not least supporters of the clubs themselves.
The Merseyside Derby – Liverpool vs Everton
Liverpool have arguably taken everything from Everton. In 1891 it was Anfield. In the 20th century it was dominance of English football. And now? The longest running derby in the British game has become an annual battle for pride and bragging rights described as “the most ill-disciplined and explosive fixture in the Premier League”.
The Istanbul Derby – Galatasaray vs Fenerbahce
The Istanbul Derby takes local rivalries to a whole new level. In fact, the phrase “this town ain’t big enough for both of us” has never rung truer as the fanatical Turkish supporters turn out in droves to support their teams. What’s more is there’s actually a bit of British influence in this great Derby’s history, as Graeme Souness once incited a near riot by planting the Galatasaray flag in the ground after defeating Fenerbahce in the Turkish cup final.
The North London Derby – Arsenal vs Tottenham Hotspur
Theo Walcott raising his hands to signal 2-0 as he was stretchered off, Thierry Henry celebrating in front of the Spurs fans, ex gunner Adebayor turning his back on his former employers by celebrating wildly after putting one past Arsenal only to lose 5-2… The North London Derby is one of the greatest in English football and possibly one of the most controversial in the world.
The North West Derby – Manchester United vs Liverpool
Not many clubs have quite as much “previous” as Manchester United and Liverpool. Before Sir Alex Ferguson called time on Liverpool’s reign at the pinnacle of English football, they went unchallenged. And after they were thrown from the top? The matches between the sides have never lost that special must-win atmosphere.