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Fans are only just realising why rival matches are called a 'derby'

Alex Brotherton

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Fans are only just realising why rival matches are called a 'derby'

Derby matches at often the highlights of the football season - but where does the term 'derby' come from?

Football fans across the world go into the season with different hopes and aspirations, whether that be to win silverware, promotion or simply avoid relegation.

However, one thing fans of all teams can identify with is the joy of getting one over your fiercest rivals. There's no better feeling in the game.

There are any number of reasons why two teams might become rivals, but the most common is close geographical proximity to one another.

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The two clubs concerned might not be rivals in terms of on-field achievements or league position, but local bragging rights are the number one concern of supporters.

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These rivalries are referred to as 'derbies' and there are plenty of great ones right across the world.

In the UK there is the Old Firm derby between Glasgow and Celtic, the Merseyside derby between Liverpool and Everton, the North London derby between Arsenal and Tottenham and the Manchester derby between United and City, plus many more.

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Few people know why these meetings are called derbies, and it turns out the origin of the term is disputed and could go back hundreds of years.

Some believe that the Derby horse race gave the name, as it was founded by the Earl of Derby in 1780.

The Earl is involved in another theory too, as is a match between Liverpool and Everton in 1914, as per The Sun.

If the lawsuit is successful, it could allow Celtic and Rangers to leave the Scottish Premiership (Image: Alamy)
If the lawsuit is successful, it could allow Celtic and Rangers to leave the Scottish Premiership (Image: Alamy)
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Anfield and Goodison Park are separated by Stanley Park, which was then owned by the Earl of Derby.

It's said that the term 'derby' was used by a newspaper in reference to the Earl owning the parkland. The term soon spread to other local rivalries in the UK and then the rest of the world.

Some class fixtures such as Liverpool vs Manchester United and El Clasico as derbies, but the origins of those rivalries are not geographical.

Like many things in football, the history of the 'derby' match is shrouded in mystery and folklore.

Featured Image Credit: Getty Images

Topics: Everton, Liverpool, Manchester United, Premier League, Manchester City, Football

Alex Brotherton
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