The world of sports is always full of intense rivalries and competition. The spirit of competition can inspire participants to bring out their best and sometimes their worst also.
When great sports rivalries are mentioned, several come to mind. You’ve got Muhammad Ali and Smokin’ Joe Frazier in boxing, John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors in tennis and Jack Nicklaus versus Tom Watson in golf. India and Pakistan have had a strong cricket rivalry going on since what seems like forever. You could even make a case for a classic rivalry in the world of chess with Garry Kasparov and Anatoly Karpov battling it out in several competitions over the years.
But can any of these timeless face-offs really come close to matching the colossal confrontation that occurs whenever the Manchester United Red Devils take on the Liverpool Reds? In what is arguably the greatest rivalry in football, if not all sports, there is a way to look at things analytically to determine why it exists, and which club comes out on top:
1. The Northwest Derby – Matchups between these two massively popular clubs are often referred to with this title. Liverpool and Manchester (the cities) have maintained a healthy competition since industrial times, and that sense of one-upmanship has obviously spilled over into the world of football.
2. “The Greatest English Football Club” – Both Manchester United and Liverpool FC claim the title of The Greatest English Football Club. Each club has won a similar number of trophies, and they are also the two most successful English teams in European competition today.
3. Fans and Money – The two teams are widely-supported, not just in the United Kingdom but throughout the world, and boast some of the most devoted fans in any sport. They also are two of the biggest-earning clubs in the world.
4. Player Haters – As with a lot of football clubs, the fans can be downright hostile to each other when things get really heated. With Liverpool and Manchester United, though, the hostility spills over to the players on occasion. United striker Wayne Rooney has publicly stated how much he hated Liverpool FC when he was growing up. Liverpool’s Steven Gerrard, meanwhile, once told a television crew how, although he regularly exchanges shirts with opposing players, he will never have a Manchester United shirt in his house.
5. Transfers? What Transfers? – No player has been directly transferred between the two clubs since 1964; the few footballers who have played for both clubs always played in a different city in between. As recently as 2007, United left-back Gabriel Heinze expressed a desire to move to Liverpool, and a bid was made, but the Manchester United bosses rejected the bid and stated that Heinze would only be joining a foreign club if he chose to leave – all down to the age-old rivalry.
The way these clubs are so passionate about their long-standing rivalry is inspiring, in a way. I suppose some people don’t understand and think the whole thing is just laughable. So, are you still wondering who’s the best club in football? That’s simple. Everyone knows it’s Spurs.
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