In the world of football, there are some rivalries that have literally made the history of the game and that is well known to everyone. Who has never heard of eternal challenges such as El Clasico, The Milan Derby, the North-West Derby or the SuperClasico that put rival teams in front of each other in everything?
When two such teams find themselves playing against each other, what follows is never a simple football match but an ideological clash for city, national or sometimes even international supremacy between two opposite ways of seeing life and football. The rivalry between teams of this type are only limited to the field of play but also extend to the stands where fans challenge each other with choirs and choreography (and sometimes unfortunately also on a physical level) to determine who is in charge in the city or in the country.
Of rivalry of this kind, in reality, there are many and most likely every city, no matter how small, has one of its own, although obviously not as large as those mentioned. There are, however, some of them that, even if they are really on and felt, are, for various reasons, semi-unknown abroad. We propose here a brief ranking of some of the most intense football rivalries unknown to most.
Here then is a top 5 of very heated but almost unknown football rivalries between clubs:
Brighton – Crystal Palace
In England, there are several world-famous football rivalries such as the North-West Derby between Liverpool and Manchester United, the North London Derby between Arsenal and Tottenham and the Dockers Derby between Millwall and West Ham United.
In England, however, there is another very heated rivalry that not many people know about, that between Crystal Palace and Brighton and Hove Albion. The one between the two teams is not a real derby (even if it is called by the media the A23 or M23 Derby), since even if geographically close the two teams are neither of the same city nor the same county, the Crystal Palace is in fact based in Croydon in the suburbs south of London, in the county called Greater London while Brighton is based in the homonymous city overlooking the English Channel in the county of East Sussex.
The rivalry between these two teams began relatively recently, in the 1970s, and is largely due to the work of two men: Terry Venables and Alan Mullery. Both former Tottenham, the two were already rivals at the time of the Spurs when they competed for the captain’s wing. Once they hung up their shoes, they both became coaches and in 1976, just a few weeks apart from each other, they received guidance from Crystal Palace (Venables) and Brighton (Mullery).
At the time the teams were still in the third division and both managed to promote their teams at the same time. In those years the teams faced each other many times, with matches that were always accompanied by hostility and controversy between the two coaches who were slowly transferring their dislike to the fans.
The match that sealed forever the rivalry was the replay of the first round of the FA Cup (both the first and the second round were finished 2-2 and at the time there was a third match in case of a tie after two matches) played in December 1976 after two postponements. The match was one of the most infamous in English football: Crystal Palace won the match 1-0, but at the triple whistle the Seagulls’ coach attacked the referee Ron Challis who was found guilty of having annulled two valid goals at Brighton.
Mullery lost his head and punched the fans of the Palace, and then blatantly insulted the whole stand where the fans of the London club were. Outside the stadium (Stamford Bridge, because the match was played on a neutral field) the fans of Brighton put the neighbourhood to fire and sword. The clashes continued even in South London, where Brighton supporters created more incidents in the streets around Selhurst Park (the Palace Stadium).
Since then the rivalry has only grown and is now more heated than ever, with Crystal Palace even mocking Brighton’s rivals on its official website by not even writing the name of their team but replacing the letters (apart from the initial B) with an asterisk.