Football has seen many local rivalries develop between clubs during it’s long, rich and diverse history. From Rio to Rome, Istanbul to Glasgow, Buenos Aires to Madrid, these are the matches that matter the most. Rivalries like these have divided cities for generations.
In 1860, in the city where the world’s two oldest football clubs were formed, Sheffield FC played Hallam FC in the world’s first and still-contested, inter-city derby. This remains a hugely significant, historical touchstone. However, in Sheffield, the Steel City, globally renowned capital of Britain’s steel manufacturing industry, there is no greater grudge match than that of Sheffield United (Blades) and Sheffield Wednesday (Owls).
Whilst never quite being afforded the same status as the Manchester, Liverpool, Glasgow and London derbies - The Steel City Derby is much more than just a local derby. Supporters berate each other venomously for months before an encounter - whatever the level of import. There’s no grey, you’re either red for United, or blue for Wednesday. Winner takes all.
The teams first met on 15 December 1890, at Wednesday’s old Olive Grove ground, but the first competitive Steel City Derby fixture took place on 16 October 1893. Since that time, countless managers and players have come and gone, but the clubs have lived on; their pride and legacy passed down through generations, keeping the fires of the rivalry burning. The obsessive support devote unhealthy amounts of time to arguing who is the bigger and better of the clubs, and the long-running feud has been dividing families, friends and the workplace for well over a century.
The mutual emnity between the Blades and Owls ensures that every encounter is an extremely fiery exchange, and this fusion of passion and intensity makes it one of the most hotly contested derbies in world football. To the people of Sheffield, Britain’s fourth largest city, it’s never just a game.
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- June 25, 2014
- Cristian Bustamante