England's champions: Who has the most wins in the country's biggest local derbies?
There’s nothing quite like a rivalry in football to get the blood pumping and while plenty of the game’s most bitter cross the borders of cities and even countries, in England in particular, there’s nothing quite like a local derby when it comes to winning valuable bragging rights.
The first derby in English football history? You’ve got to go way back to Boxing Day in 1860 (!) when Sheffield FC played Hallam FC under new rules that were eventually adopted to the worldwide game, introducing elements such as throw-ins and corner kicks. Today, of course, there’s plenty of derbies up and down the country, usually at least a couple each week if you take into account the lower leagues.
So who are England’s champions when it comes to local derbies? I took a look at the games involving the biggest clubs in various cities, and here’s the answer.
#1 Manchester Derby
The Manchester derby – played between the city’s biggest clubs – Manchester United and Manchester City – has risen to more prominence in recent years after City’s oil-rich takeover transformed them into one of England’s most powerful clubs. The 80’s, 90’s and early 00’s were a largely fruitless time for City, which meant the derby was basically one-sided in favour of United, who chose to ignore their neighbours in favour of rivalries with the likes of Liverpool and Arsenal.
Now though, it’s come back to the forefront. 2016/17 saw success for the blue side of Manchester rise as they defeated United 2-1 away at Old Trafford and then avoided defeat at the Etihad, sharing the spoils with a 0-0- draw. 2013/14 though saw a 4-1 victory for City at the Etihad, and two seasons prior they famously thrashed United 6-1 at Old Trafford.
Unfortunately for City, the stats still favour United and that too by some distance. As of April 2017, there have been 174 competitive meetings between the two, and United have won 72 of those games compared to 50 for City, with 52 being draws. Notably, City went without a win in the derby for thirteen years at one point – from September 1989 to November 2002.
Still, at least City can say they sent United down a division with a derby win as April 1974 saw the Citizens defeat United 1-0 at Old Trafford thanks to a goal ironically from United legend Denis Law, condemning the Red Devils to a season outside the top flight, something they haven’t experienced since.