When AC Milan and Inter Milan last met in the Champions League semi-finals, Kylian Mbappé was in kindergarten, Cristiano Ronaldo still played in the Portuguese Premier League, unknown to the world and Carlo Ancelotti … was AC Milan’s head coach, who guided the club not only during the derby but also to a Champions League trophy.
Although both matches ended in draws in 2003 (0-0 and 1-1 respectively), it was Andriy Shevchenko’s away goal that helped I Rossoneri – the red and blacks, AC Milan’s nickname – to the final. In the final, AC Milan went on to beat another domestic rival Torino Juventus after a penalty shootout.
However, that was not the last time the Champions League saw the Milan derby, fondly called the Derby della Madoninna. The same happened in 2005 when the city rivals met in the quarter-finals.
Again, Ancelotti’s AC Milan remained on top: they won 2:0 at “home” at San Siro, and obtained a technical 3:0 win in the 2nd leg at “away” San Siro. As Inter was 0:1 behind, their fans threw a rocket onto the field in the 72nd minute, hitting Milan’s goalkeeper Dida. Unsurprisingly the referee decided to stop the match and UEFA imposed an additional 4-game closed-door ban on Inter.
Who does history support?
2003 and 2005 remain the only two times the Milanese clubs have met each other in Europe, thus leaving AC Milan fans rubbing their hands together before the duel – history favors them! Or at least that’s what they think.
Because if you look at the overall stats of the Milan derby, the scales will instead shift towards Inter. The fashion capital clubs have met each other 235 times since 1909, and Internazionale has won 87 times. AC Milan has 79 triumphs and on 69 occasions they have settled for a “friendly” draw.
If 235 matches and 114 years of history seem impressive… then not so fast. Although it is the oldest (!) derby of its kind in continental Europe, these numbers pale in comparison to England, the birthplace of modern football.
The Rules derby
The world’s oldest derby dates all the way back to 1860, when Sheffield FC and Hallam FC met on Christmas Day.
If the two clubs don’t ring a bell, it’s perfectly fine, because neither has any special achievements to brag about. However, Sheffield FC, founded in 1857, is the oldest football club in the world, and Hallam FC, in turn, won the first ever football trophy in 1867 – the Youdan Cup.
The meeting between the two teams in 1860 is also called the Rules derby, which refers to the fact that the battle did not take place according to the historical football rules (Laws of the Game), but according to the then popular alternative, the Sheffield Rules.
A derby of 3 clubs
However, when it comes to “serious” derbies, the Black Country derby has the honor of being the oldest top-level confrontation. Namely, on January 2, 1886, when West Bromwich Albion and Wolverhampton Wanderers faced each other.
Although it is not a classical derby – the two are only 18 kilometers apart and both belong to the West Midlands county. In a peculiar way, Walsall also fits between the two cities, also becoming a part of the derby over time. Thus if someone asks you about the Black Country derby, feel free to jot down three teams.
Around the turn of the century there were two seasons where all three sides of the Black Country derby played in the same series: the English Championship. In the 1999/00 season, they finished in the following fashion: Wolves 7th, WBA 21st and Walsall 22nd. In the 01/02 season WBA placed 2nd, Wolves 3rd and Walsall in 18th place.
In short, it became clear that Walsall is still not the real deal…
Six out of ten
If you look at the ten oldest derbies, as many as six of them take place in Great Britain. Five years after the first Black Country derby, in 1888, the local giants Rangers and Celtic met in Glasgow, thus laying the foundation for the Old Firm confrontation.
The birth stories of Manchester United vs Liverpool (1894), Aston Villa vs Birmingham City (1894) and Newcastle United vs Sunderland (1898) also remain in the 19th century.
However, the oldest non-Great Britain derby is the Derby della Madoninna, whose history book is about to write another chapter.
If you look at the list below and wonder where, for example, El Clasico or Der Klassiker are, note that the Spanish giants Real Madrid and FC Barcelona played their first competitive match in 1916, while the history of the great German teams Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund only began in 1965.
The 10 oldest football derbies
1883 – Wolverhampton Wanderers – West Bromwich Albion (162 games, 54-44-65)
1888 – Glasgow Rangers – Glasgow Celtic (435 games, 168-102-165)
1894 – Manchester United – Liverpool (211 games, 82-58-71)
1894 – Aston Villa – Birmingham City (127 games, 57-33-38)
1898 – Newcastle United – Sunderland (156 games, 53-50-53)
1909 – London Arsenal – Tottenham Hotspur (193 games, 81-51-61)
1909 – AC Milan – Inter Milan (235 games, 79-69-87)
1912 – Istanbul Fenerbache – Istanbul Galatasaray (396 games, 148-122-126)
1913 – Fluminense – Flamengo (440 games, 139-141-160)
1916 – River Plate – Boca Juniors (258 games, 84-83-91)