Four things we’ve learned about British football rivalries
Newly compiled data from Hotelclub has thrown up plenty of interesting conclusions regarding Britain’s greatest football derbies. The company, who help football fans find cheap hotels in Manchester for the Manchester derby, get people into accommodation for the Second City Derby and give Fulham fans somewhere to hide after another thrashing from Chelsea, have looked at the last 20 matches played in these massive fixtures, noting the number of goals scored, and runs of wins and losses along the way.
Here are the most interesting outcomes:
1. The Second City Derby has only been played 20 times since 1987
Given that Birmingham won the Carling Cup only a year ago, it feels like this derby should be more common than it has been. After all, under Alex McLeish (before he eventually got them relegated) Birmingham became something of a force; and under a number of managers since the departure of Martin O’Neill (McLeish included), Villa have become something of a farce.
To that end, you’d expect that the two had played each other, in cups or leagues, much more often than that. After all, the teams have mostly been kind of as good as each other. But before Birmingham entered the Premiership in 2002, the two hadn’t met since a second round League Cup match in 1993. And before 2002, the last league match between them had been in the Old Second Division, as long ago as 12 December 1987.
If Brum fail in their promotion bid this season, it might be a similar period before they play regularly again. But then, with Villa struggling too, who knows if they won’t meet, sooner or later, in the Championship?
2. Since Manicni took over at City, only one league game in the Manchester Derby has been decided by more than one goal
And it was Manchester City’s 6-1 win. Mancini has worked some magic at the Etihad, that’s for sure. You’ve got to wonder if next time, the margin will be as big.
Still, Fergie’s boys can take comfort in their 19 league titles and the fact that, even with Mancini at the helm of City, they’ve picked up more wins in all competitions.
3. Since 1974 Nottingham Forest only have one more win in the Nottingham Derby than their rivals
Notts Forest is one of English football’s big teams. Maybe not now, but Clough’s men were First Division winners in 1978, adding the European Cup in 1979 and again in 1980 – one of only seven teams to do so.
They might not be that team now but even so, it’d be expected that when it came to playing their rivals Notts County, the score over 20 games would be a bit less even than Forest 7 – 6 County.
Even more amazingly, Forest didn’t beat Notts County during their period of dominance. While they racked up a 4-0 win in the League Cup, the first game between them since they both re-entered went the way of County, with Notts Forest winning the following year, in 1982.
Of course, if you take a longer view, it’s even more surprising that Nott’s County – the world’s oldest club – have faded to obscurity.
4. Everton have not won two Merseyside derby games in a row in almost a decade
Which speaks as much to their decline as to Liverpool’s success, which has been mixed at best. They won the league twice in the ‘80s (only a few years before Liverpool won the most recent of their 18 titles) but since the inception of the Premier League in 1992, things haven’t gone quite so well.
In its first decade the club only finished in the top half twice. Since David Moyes took the helm, things have drastically improved; they finished 4th in 2005, and 6th in 2007, achieving 5th in the next two seasons. But in the last two years that’s slipped to 8th, and 7th last season. And with 12 games to go this season, they’re 13th.
So Liverpool remain the dominant team in the Merseyside Derby, even when Everton are doing well. Although with some turbulent seasons at Anfield in recent years, Liverpool aren’t faring much better…