Football's Fiercest Local Derbies

Celtic have some of the most passionate supporters in the world. Image courtesy of

When the season schedules are released, there’s always one fixture football fans across the globe save the date for – local derbies. Nothing tingles the spine of supporters than claiming bragging rights and rubbing it in their friends’ faces, and that’s exactly what we saw on the weekend when Sydney came from two goals down to defeat the Wanderers 3-2. With another huge derby ahead of us this weekend, the Melbourne derby between the Victory and City, TattsBet takes a look at the 10 fiercest local derbies in world football.   

10. Manchester Derby, England

It may not have the history to compete with other derbies on this list, but this is one to watch out for in the future. For so long, City stood in the shadows of their ‘big brothers’ united, but we are currently experiencing a shift of dominance between the footballing powerhouses. Big spending City has won two of the past three EPL titles, and they’re well in the hunt to make it three this season. Manchester United on the other hand has been on the decline over the past 18 months or so, and they are desperate to reclaim their reputation as the most feared club in English football.


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9. Derby della Capitale, Italy

Also known as the Derby Capitolino and Derby del Cupolone, the Derby della Capitale is unarguably the greatest city derby in Italian football. The match is contested by the two biggest clubs from the country’s capital - AS Roma and Lazio. Historically renowned for its massive crowds and off-field violence, the intensity and passion of this derby is up there with the best in the world. Recent installments of the Derby della Capitale have been overshadowed by racist behaviour, including chants and banners, from supporters. The rivalry was triggered when Lazio resisted to merge with Roma in the early 1900’s, much to the dismay of then facist dictator Benito Mussolini.


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8. Merseyside Derby, England

Back to England, and one of the most popular and converted city derbies in the world is none other than the Merseyside Derby between Liverpool and Everton. Whether at Anfield or Goodison Park for the event, one thing is guaranteed each time - the conquering levels of passion from onlookers that transfers from the stands onto the pitch. The clash between the Reds and the Toffees is the longest running top-flight derby in English football. It is traditionally referred to as the friendly derby because of the number of families that have both Liverpool and Everton supporters, and it is one of the few local rivalries that doesn’t enforce total fan segregation. Hearing “You’ll Never Walk Alone”  at Anfield on Derby Day is something that makes the hairs on the back of all football fans' necks stand up.


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7. Fla-Flu, Brazil

Widely known across the world, football in Brazil is more of a religion than a sport. So when two of the biggest clubs in Rio de Janeiro lock horns, you can expect fireworks almost every time. Fla-Flu, named in short of the two clubs that contest the match, Flamengo and Fluminese, is one of the biggest local derbies that ventures outside of Europe. The Fla-Flu Derby in 1963 broke world records for the biggest attendance to a club football match, with 194,603 people packed into the famous  Maracana Stadium. Unfortunately for those onlookers, that match ended in a dull 0-0 stalemate.


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6. Eternal Derby, Serbia

The Eternal Derby between the two clubs in Belgrade, Serbia, crosses numerous sporting codes including basketball and handball, however none are as fierce as the rivalry in football. Red Star Belgrade is the dominant figure on the pitch, winning 60 matches compared to Partizan’s 44. The rivalry was sparked immediately after the creation of the two clubs at the end of World War II, and ever since there has been a number of fiery encounters in front of mass crowds.  The highest attendance for an Eternal Derby was when 108,000 fans were crammed into the Red Star Stadium.    


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5. Superclasico, Argentina

Superclasico is the name used for the derby between Buenos Aires rivals Boca Juniors and River Plate. Not only are the two teams from the same city, they are also the most successful and celebrated clubs in Argentinian football. According to statistics, the two clubs hold more than 70% of all Argentine fans between them, with Boca claiming 40% and River 33%. A majority of the Boca fans derive from La Boca, the working class dockland area of the country’s capital, while in contrast River Plate fans became known by the nickname 'Los Millonarios', translated to The Millionaires, with a supposedly upper-class support base. The Superclasico was at the centre of the Puerta 12 tragedy in 1968, one of football’s biggest ever disasters when 71 fans were crushed to death following a stampede, for unconfirmed reasons, at gate 12.


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4. Derby Of Eternal Enemies, Greece

When Olympiacos and Panathinaikos go toe-to-toe, the name of the derby says it all. The Derby of Eternal Enemies is exactly that, a match between two clubs that is driven by hatred and bitterness towards each other. Like the Superclasico between Boca Juniors and River Plate, the derby separates the town of Athens through the variance of social, cultural and regional differences. Panathinaikos is considered the classic representative of the high class society of the city, whereas Olympiacos attract the support from a poorer demographic. Greeks are known around the world for their passion, and that is evidently transpired in the Derby of Eternal Enemies with flares and fireworks making it one of the greatest, albeit dangerous, atmospheres in world football.


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3. Istanbul Derby, Turkey

The rivalry between two of Istanbul’s biggest clubs, Fenerbahce and Galatasary, is so big, it often sparks hooliganism all over Turkey. The clubs originate from two different sides of the Bosphorus strait, with Fenerbahce founded on the Asian side, while Galatasary devise from the European side. The 1934 instalment of the Istanbul derby is widely considered to be the most vicious as the match ended with players and fans rioting. The Taksim Stadi, a small 8,000 capacity stadium, was turned into a war zone with chairs broken, flares and fireworks sparked, and the match forced to be abandoned by the referee. Fenerbahce have won the majority of the 379 matches played, claiming bragging rights on 143 occasions.


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2. East London Derby, England

The intensity of the East London Derby, contested by West Ham and Millwall, is so fierce, it has been depicted on the big screen on several occasions. The Football Factory, Green Street Hooligans and The Firm are just some of the many movies that portray what is considered the most vicious in world football. The derby has a rivalry that boasts over a century worth of history, dating back to 1910 when Millwall moved south of the River Thames. The club’s supporters were predominantly dockers at shipyards on either side of the River Thames, meaning each set of fans worked for rival firms who were competing for the same business. The latest major feud between the two clubs  came in 2009 when both set of supporters rioted outside Upton Park. Around 20 people were injured in the destructive insurgence, including the stabbing of one Millwall fan.


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1. Old Firm Derby, Scotland

The Old Firm Derby is a rivalry that separates the Scottish city of Glasgow right down the centre. It is is so much more than a game for supporters, with religion, politics and social beliefs  separating Celtic and Rangers fans in a complex divide. It’s often a case of Catholics v Protestants, loyalists v republicans and conservatism vs socialism. The heated disputes between the two sets of supporters often end in bloodshed, with the violent events that follow matches being described as ‘pitbull savagery’. The intensity in the stands is emulated on the field, with players often playing out the most brutal encounters seen. The match has unsurprisingly produced more red cards than any other fixture in Scottish football, outlining the players’ similar attitude as their fans. Out of 399 Old Firm Derbies played, Celtic have won 144, Rangers 159 and 96 draws.


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