FourFourTwo's 50 Biggest Derbies in the World: 50-41
45. Athletic Bilbao vs Real Sociedad
The Basque derby – or Euskai Derbia, to the locals – is a curious thing. There are some schisms between those from the working-class port of Bilbao and the better-heeled resort of San Sebastian, while Athletic fans remain proud of their Basque-only selection policy, a principle abandoned by la Real in the late 1980s.
But much more so than most local disputes, this game has often been a unified show of solidarity against the common enemy – namely governance by Madrid. Under General Franco, regional identity was effectively criminalised; a fortnight after the dictator’s death, the two captains proudly waved the illegal Basque flag to an ecstatic derby crowd. GP
FFT's 100 Best Stadiums Athletic's San Mames
44. Everton vs Santiago Wanderers
That’ll be Everton de Vina del Mar, four-time Chilean champions but slipped into the second tier in 2014 after being relegated alongside Rangers (no, not them either). Thrice-champions Santiago Wanderers aren’t from Santiago – they’re from the gritty port city of Valparaiso, and there was another team called Valparaiso Wanderers. Vina del Mar is a richer, more tourist-friendly city five miles up the coast; the rivalry is known as the Clasico Porteno – the Seaport Derby.
Everton fans like to recall a rather one-sided Copa Carlos Varela match in 1950, which they won 17-0 at their pleasingly named Estadio Sausalito. Santiago Wanderers refuse to acknowledge what they insist was a preparatory fixture featuring youth players, noting that they didn’t even start with 11. Thanks to dismissals and injuries, they had even fewer by the end: either six or seven, depending on which reports you believe.
It’s not the only derby to end short-sided: in 2013, Santiago triumphed 3-0 in a match that saw five players sent off, and a more recent meeting in the Copa Chile had to be suspended after fans rioted on the pitch before kick-off. CF
43. FC Seoul vs Suwon Bluewings
It’s indicative of Korea’s consumer-electronics clout that this is partly a clash between two of the world’s largest brands: LG and Samsung own FC Seoul and Bluewings respectively. But it’s a bit more complicated than that. Under the K League’s decentralisation policy, in 1996 the club then known as LG Cheetahs were relocated from Seoul to Anyang, a satellite city 12 miles south of the capital and a mere couple of miles from Bluewings’ Suwon home.
Eight years later, fans united in vain against LG forcing a move back to the capital’s vacant World Cup stadium, along with a name change to FC Seoul. Bluewings supporters were outraged and refused to acknowledge the new entity, but the success of the two clubs means that the ‘Super Match’ is now Korea’s key fixture. You might not see crowd trouble, but you may encounter amusing small-mindedness, such as the 2006 spat in which each club’s scoreboard listed the opposition player names in tiny writing. Which, while childishly funny, seems a waste of a good screen… GP
FFT's 100 Best Stadiums FC Seoul's Sangam Stadium
42. Bahia vs Vitoria
The Brazilian east-coast city of Salvador was a landing point for the slave trade; 80% of the population are of African descent, and the mixing of Catholic and African beliefs created macumba, a local version of voodoo. Early Bahia and Vitoria stars make offerings to African gods in an attempt to secure victory, although as coach Nenem Prancha pointed out: “If macumba had the power to win matches, it would be a draw.”
In a mid-’90s derby, Vitoria midfielder Preto chose a rather blunter approach, provoking Bahia’s Parreira by hinting that he had slept with his opponent’s wife. It worked: a retaliating Parreira was sent off and moaned to the media about what Preto had said. That only resulted in taunts from Vitoria fans when the sides met again, angering Parreira so much that he punched Preto and was sent off again. Still furious, Parreira broke into Preto’s apartment after the game, pointed a gun at his head and ordered him to promise that the alleged adultery had never happened.
Back in 1934, Bahia’s Bitonha assaulted the referee in a derby and was sent off, then arrested. He was so distraught to see his actions condemned in the newspapers that he committed suicide. On a lighter note, in 1999 the match never took place as both clubs thought they were at home. The title was shared and everyone looked at their shoes. RLA
41. Dynamo Moscow vs Spartak Moscow
Moscow’s a big place – nearly 17 million people, several major clubs – but with all due respect to CSKA, Lokomotiv and Torpedo, the biggest and oldest derby is between Dynamo and Spartak. True, it rarely decides the silverware: Spartak only just won their first league title since 2001, while Dynamo haven't triumphed since 1976. But it’s the oldest remaining Muscovite derby – and there is, you may not be astonished to learn, a political side to it.
Formed by trade unionists in 1922, the club that became Spartak (whose nickname is ‘Meat’) quickly gained a rival in Dynamo, who reformed a year later. Spartak leaned heavily on the four brilliant Starostin brothers – who in 1942 were arrested on suspicion of an assassination plot against Joseph Stalin; it just so happened that secret police chief Lavrentiy Beria was a Dynamo patron. When Nikolai Starostin returned from the Siberian camps to become chairman of Spartak, he took particular personal interest in making sure the players were up for games against Dynamo. GP