Manchester City Versus Manchester United: What’s Behind The Rivalry?

Manchester City Versus Manchester United: What’s Behind The Rivalry?

Football is a competitive sport. Think of a time when you played a sport, and someone makes a particularly brilliant or poor move. Now imagine that the person you respect the most made a similar move. That’s how football can be, and it leads to a rivalry, like that of Manchester City and Manchester United.

In the world of sport, every sports fan has a favourite sport or team. In Manchester, that means Manchester City or Manchester United. In the 150 years the two Manchester clubs have been competing against each other, there have been a lot of encounters, (189 as of January 2023) but there have been a lot of bad times too.

The rivalry between Manchester United and Manchester City is one of the fiercest in modern-day football. If you follow the teams’ results over the past few years, you’ll see that they are truly worlds apart, with Manchester City far ahead in terms of their current position. As two of the most popular and widely followed football clubs in the world, Manchester City and Manchester United, have a long-standing rivalry that stems from their locality in Manchester. Still, there is a lot more going on behind the scenes that makes the rivalry so fierce.

In terms of titles, Manchester City and Manchester United have more in common than their counterparts from other English clubs. They both have been among the top teams in the English Premier League since its inception. Despite Manchester City suffering from 2 relegations from England’s top division, they have since established themselves as one of Europe’s elites. Some might say that is due to heavy financial backing, but that should not take away the incredible achievements that have followed on the pitch. Since Sir Alex Ferguson left Manchester United, they have failed to keep pace with their city rivals, suffering from finishing much lower down the league table. But under new, more stable management, will be hopeful that the rivalry will be matched by league positions, rather than just on the terraces.

Manchester United and Manchester City have been going toe-to-toe in the English Premier League since the 1990s, and for a good reason: they’re two of the most successful clubs in the country, with Manchester City winning 6 Premier League titles, and Manchester United winning 13, (no Premier League team has won more than these two). The rivalry between the two clubs, however, is a lot more than a simple case of a local rivalry over a city’s two most prominent clubs. On “derby days” no matter how close you are to a friend who supports the other, you will not be seen to engage in any conversation at all. For fans, the rivalry is symbolic of the tug-of war-between the East and West of Manchester.

If you were to go anywhere in the world, people will have heard of Manchester United, more so than Manchester City. But that tide is turning. Whilst Manchester United is well known throughout the world, Manchester City are becoming one of the most followed, whilst being well known for being the traditional rival to the other. Much of the hatred between the two clubs stands as a result of their dominance in the English Premier League, as well as their success in Europe, particularly the Champions League. Manchester City fans distinctly remember a banner that was held aloft at Old Trafford stating the number of years since they had last won a trophy. In 2011 that banner was removed as Manchester City won their first FA Cup in 42 years. The first step towards catching up to their city rivals. 

The two Manchester giants have been a highly charged football rivalry. In the early days of the Premier League rivalry was embraced by both fans and media. The rivalry even inspired songs from Oasis, one of the most successful Manchester bands of all time. The rivalry is still very much present, with both clubs regularly competing for trophies and positions within the domestic league table.

The long history of the two clubs playing each other in the English Premier League has been going on for over a century, and their bitter rivalry is one of the most famous in British football. The team names obviously refer to the city in which they both play, but Manchester City became a “Manchester” club before “Manchester” United. Manchester City took the name in 1894, whilst Manchester United took the city name 8 years later in 1902.

There are of course many other teams who share a city, and therefore the rivalry. In England we have Liverpool and Everton, Arsenal and Tottenham, Chelsea and Fulham, and north of the border, Scotland hosts another of the world’s biggest, The Old Firms, Rangers and Celtic. Rivalry has been a part of football for centuries and will continue to be a huge part for the foreseeable future.

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