Study reveals the 30 biggest rivalries in English football

A large part of supporting a football club is also hating your rival team.

Every club in world football has at least one other side that they just love to hate.

That rivalry may be for geographical reasons or it may date back centuries.

Either way, it’s just fun to hate your club’s rivals, isn’t it?

But what’s the biggest rivalry in English football?

Many fans will claim their club has the biggest rivalry.

Liverpool vs Manchester United?

Arsenal vs Tottenham?

Newcastle vs Sunderland?

Well, none of the above actually.

That’s because a study has actually worked out the 30 biggest rivalries in England which is ‘ranked by the cumulative dislike of both teams involved.’

Interestingly, Man City vs Man Utd only makes 28th, while Newcastle vs Sunderland comes in at 16th.

Liverpool vs United is fourth, while Arsenal vs Spurs is third.

But the winner?

Portsmouth vs Southampton.

The two south coast rivals will actually play each other in the third round of the Carabao Cup later this month.

But why do they hate each other so much?

Geographically, the two cities are 30 miles apart.

But there’s also history to it, according to a report by the BBC.

“After Titanic sank in 1912, sailors from Southampton refused to crew her sister ship Olympic, due to the lack of lifeboats,” Southampton historian Genevieve Bailey said.

She explained: “Dockers from Portsmouth agreed to take the place of their Southampton counterparts.”

This action is said to have angered the Southampton workers.

But the feud may even stretch back to Mediaeval times. A settlement’s importance would be based on the size of their port and, until 1180, Portsmouth was a small fishing village.

Archivist for Portsmouth Museums and Records service John Stedman said: “Southampton was the head port in the district. Trade coming through Portsmouth, a much smaller port, was restricted which could have caused conflict.”

Whatever the reason for their fierce rivalry, their clash on September 24 is sure to be pretty lively.

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