I hold my hand up, when I was a kid supporting Villa, I didn’t know much of the magnitude of the Villa vs Blues rivalry. While I was born in the Midlands, I was more east side and also the Blues were fannying around in the lower leagues most of the time when I became old enough to start going to games.
It only took one game to work out how fierce the rivalry was though. Villa had drawn the Blues in the second round of the 1993/94 League Cup. They had won the away leg 1-0 at St Andrews and living in Birmingham at the time, I made my way down to Villa Park for the return leg on a crisp October night.
Approaching Villa Park that night, it was like a warzone (or like Handsworth around fireworks night back then). A helicopter whirled up above supporters blowing their hair with its bluster, while shining a spot-light on supporters at the turnstiles. The only thing missing was machine gun fire from the chopper.
The League Cup seems to bring out the fiercest atmospheres between Villa/Blues, one pundit suggested the post-match events of the 2010 quarter-final – mass pitch invasion stand-off between fans, flares, flying seats – was the final nail in the coffin of England’s 2018 World Cup bid.
From the recent Daily Telegraph article detailing the worst England football rivalries, it seems that night was long forgotten by the writer…
The 20 fiercest rivalries in English football – by Jonathan Liew
Liew’s order of fiercest is as follows:
20th – Oxford United v Swindon Town
19th – Hereford United v Shrewsbury Town
18th – Grimsby Town v Lincoln City
17th – Luton vs Watford
16th -Brighton and Hove Albion v Crystal Palace
15th – Chester v Wrexham
14th – Everton v Liverpool
13th – Portsmouth v Southampton
12th – Aston Villa v Birmingham City
11th – Manchester City v Manchester United
10th – West Bromwich Albion v Wolverhampton Wanderers
9th – Blackburn Rovers v Burnley
8th – Bristol City v Bristol Rovers
7th – Derby County v Nottingham Forest
6th – Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur
5th – Ipswich Town v Norwich City
4th – Millwall v West Ham United
3rd – Sheffield United vs Sheffield Wednesday
2nd – Newcastle United vs Sunderland
1st – Cardiff City vs Swansea City
1. 12th? Are you serious? Behind the Bristol clubs, Manchester clubs, Norwich/Ipswich, and Sheffield clubs (which has died down a bit in recent times)? I’d say Villa and Blues is Top Five at least. We’re just let down by the Blues underachievement and preference for the lower leagues in recent decades.
2. Most alarmingly is placing Villa/Blues behind Wolves/WBA. Now Wolves and the Baggies don’t care for each other much, but the Blues and Villa HATE each other. It’s nasty, toxic and particularly unsavory rivalry, where mutual respect is nowhere to be found.
The 2010 League Cup final quarter-final battle would have been a war if the police hadn’t formed a line across the pitch. Forest and Derby can be tasty, but I rate the Blues and Villa hate, as the fiercest in the Midlands for sure.
3. The fiercest rivalry in English football is between two Welsh clubs? You do the geography and maths on that!
4. Remember this?
This is standard for Villa vs Blues. Not that we’re proud of it or anything.
For the full record of Villa vs Blues rivalry – click here
Media Muppet Rating:
7/10 – of course, a lot of this is a matter of opinion and everyone will consider their own particular local rivalries as the most fierce from their personal experiences, but there’s some odd choices on the list, to say the least.