Man Utd vs Man City, Old Firm: Britain's greatest rivalries ranked by football fan

Britain's greatest rivalries: Celtic vs Rangers and West Ham vs Millwall

Everybody loves a derby.

It’s the game fans eagerly anticipate all season, where the form book goes out the window, tactics become a secondary factor and football is ripped back to basics.

Britain has always boasted some of the world’s greatest rivalries, with historic fixtures like the Old Firm derby, the North-West derby and the North-London derby representing just a few examples of clashes that have deep rooted bad blood between both sets of teams and fan bases.

Although, whilst the United Kingdom has always claimed to have some of the greatest derbies in the beautiful game, there can be no denying that modern football has borne witness to a decline in the ferocious nature that we were previously accustomed to.

Over the last decade, fan debate has continuously intensified over which rivalries have lost their touch and become boring to watch.

It’s a difficult one to judge, but interestingly, one Twitter page – @LowerTiers – has taken it upon themselves to try and do just that, by creating their very own TierMaker.

Let’s check out what they came up with below.

Football’s greatest rivalries ranked


Ipswich vs Norwich (The East Anglian derby) | Barnet vs Stevenage | Cheltenham Town vs Forest Green | Manchester United vs Leeds (The Roses rivalry)

The East Anglian derby has suffered in recent times with Ipswich falling behind Norwich in terms of their competitiveness, so we can understand the critical placement here.

The Roses rivalry falling into the ‘abysmal’ section springs quite the surprise though, both clubs operate in the Premier League – (for now at least…) – and the fixture is known for getting quite feisty.

Of course, it’s not the same as when Leeds were in their pomp fighting at the sharp end of the table, but still, we wouldn’t rank this so harshly.

Man Utd and Leeds clash.
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Southend United vs Colchester United | Lincoln City vs Grimsby Town | Dundee United vs Aberdeen | Chelsea vs Tottenham

We remember one especially spicy edition of the London derby when Spurs were desperately attempting to chase down Leicester City for the Premier League title.

There were 12 yellow cards dished out by Mark Clattenberg that day on route to the Blues killing their rivals title hopes. If every game between these two were as frantic as that one, it would most certainly be up there with the best of them.

Tottenham vs Chelsea
Tottenham vs Chelsea


Blackburn vs Burnley | Preston vs Blackpool | Wolves vs West Brom (Black Country derby) | Wrexham vs Chester | Everton vs Liverpool (The Merseyside derby) | Manchester City vs Manchester United (Manchester derby) | Watford vs Luton Town | MK Dons vs AFC Wimbledon

Both the Merseyside and Manchester derby can only manage an ‘average’ placing. The inter-city rivalries between some of England’s most historic clubs have clearly lost their touch in the eyes of this page.

Pickford injures Van Dijk
Liverpool’s Van Dijk was ruled out for the season vs Everton.


Nottingham Forest vs Derby Country (East Midlands derby | Stoke vs Port Vale | Cardiff vs Swansea (South Wales derby) | Hearts vs Hibernian | Brighton vs Crystal Palace

The East Midlands derby might be underrated but it could be set to take a huge hit with Derby recently being relegated to League One.

Cardiff vs Swansea is always a fierce encounter. Likewise, Brighton vs Crystal Palace never fails to serve up some top-notch entertainment each season in the Premier League.

Cardiff City defender Ciaron Brown tackles Swansea striker Andre Ayew
Cardiff City defender Ciaron Brown tackles Swansea striker Andre Ayew

Great viewing:

Bristol City vs Bristol Rovers (Bristol derby) | Newcastle vs Sunderland (Tyne-Wear derby) | Portsmouth vs Southampton | Arsenal vs Tottenham (North-London derby) | Liverpool vs Manchester United (North-West derby) | Sheffield United vs Sheffield Wednesday | West Ham vs Millwall (Dockers derby)

Some elite derbies in this category, with both the North-London derby and the North-West derby just missing out on top spot.

The notoriously ferocious Dockers derby also misses out. West Ham and Millwall were synonymous in the late 20th century for their hooligan firms, and clashes between the two would often end up bloody affairs both on and off the field of play.

Carragher tackles Nani
Liverpool vs Manchester United Jamie Carragher Nani

Pure hatred:

Celtic vs Rangers (Old Firm derby) | Aston Villa vs Birmingham (Second City derby)

There can be no argument when it comes to the Old Firm derby’s placement. The iconic rivalry between the two Glaswegian clubs is like nothing else in Europe, with the game transcending sport and crossing into the realm of religion.

The inclusion of the Birmingham derby springs quite the surprise, whilst there can be no argument that this match-up is always a great watch, we feel it would be better placed amongst the ‘great viewing’ category.

Nevertheless, much like everything in football, such debates are always a matter of opinion, and overall, this account has done a decent job.

We applaud the effort.

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