The curious case of a derby

Football OlyBet 16.05.2024

Every sports fan loves a good derby day. El Clasico, The Old Firm Derby, The Superclasico, Derby della Madonnina, Kitalararasi Derbi, The North West Derby, Der Klassiker, Le Classique, Derby of the Eternal Enemies… you name it. For many, those are the most important games of the season.

Those mentioned, respectively, refer to games between Barcelona and Real Madrid, Celtic and Rangers, Boca Juniors and River Plate, AC Milan and Inter Milan, Fenerbahce and Galatasaray, Liverpool and Manchester United, Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund, Marseille and PSG, Olympiacos and Panathinaikos. Most, if not all, you probably knew.

A derby can also be a city in England, a German silent film made in 1926, a type of shoe, a Volkswagen, or numerous other things. But the ones mentioned previously are all sports rivalries. Some are based on geographical proximity while some just can not stand each other for a variety of reasons.

There are really no rules as to how or where a derby begins. Sometimes they make sense instantly while at other times, layer after layer after layer of animosity has to be laid down before a serious rivalry is born.

But sporting rivalries can also be just plain silly or even a tad bit stupid. Sometimes someone says something that someone else does not appreciate. A marketing genius can come up with a publicity stunt, and members of the media will be hooked, trying to drag everyone along. Not all derbies hold the same value.

The Bailey-Johnson 150-metre race

Who says derbies can only be held in team events? This was a race between just two men, but also a question of national pride. Unofficially, the “world’s fastest man” title goes to the 100-metre champion, but during the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, U.S. sportscaster Bob Costas claimed Michael Johnson, the 200 m and 400 m gold winner, to be superior over Canadian sprinter Donovan Bailey (who had won the 100 m dash).

This did not go down well with the Canadians, and after much discussion, a race was held over 150 metres to see to find out who really was the fastest. A special layout – with 75 metres of curved and 75 metres of straight track – was configured in Toronto and both men showed up. Bailey did win, but Johnson has a DNF etched in history; Bailey was already ahead when Johnson pulled up, citing an injury to his quadriceps.

Derby of Love

Wiener Sport-Club (one of the greatest names in all sports, period) and First Vienna FC have won a total of nine Austrian championships for the city of Vienna/Wien, but none since Wiener had the honours in 1958-59. Now living in the shadows of Rapid Wien and Austria Wien, they play in the Regionalliga Ost (third tier) and Austrian 2. Liga (second tier) respectively. But they were in the same division between 2013 and 2017, and again in 2021-22.

This is where it gets… different. Instead of hating each other, they have developed a harmonious relationship with no need for separate entrances and no special police units on high alert while spectators can be often seen celebrating together. Both clubs are advocates of “positive fan culture” – supporting their own team without insulting the opponent and being firmly against racism, homophobia, violence, etc.

Shaq vs Kobe feud

The history of the NBA has seen several heated rivalries between teams (think Celtics vs Lakers, MJ’s Bulls vs Pistons). But what if the rivalry is not between teams, but individual players? And what if the players are playing on the same team, winning a three-peat of championships in the process!? This is exactly what happened in Los Angeles between 1996 and 2004.

Shaquille O’Neal was already an All-Star when signed by the Lakers in 1996, while Kobe Bryant was drafted as a 17-year-old straight out of high school. The two had distinctively different personas, and over the years, they had both physical (a few) and verbal (many, even through the media) confrontations. Phil Jackson, the Zen Master, helped them to a three-peat between 2000 and 2002, but had things been different, they could have won a lot more.

A23/M23 derby

Naming a derby after a road? Sure, Crystal Palace was the nearest top football club to Brighton for a long time, but that was it. Even the name, made up by the media, does not make much sense. The A23 does connect Brighton to Croydon, but the M23 motorway has no connection to either location. The fans do not use the name and neither do the teams. But that does not mean it does not get heated.

The dislike dates back to the 1976-77 season when both were trying to get up from the third tier of English football. An incident in 2013 – human excrement smeared across Palace’s dressing room before a Championship play-off semi-final – did not exactly help, although it was later revealed to be the “work” of Palace’s own coach driver who suffered from a stomach bug.

The Diagonal Derby

In Estonia, there is a distinguishable football derby between Flora and Levadia called the Tallinn Derby (after the capital, in which both clubs operate). Over the past 15 years, another team from the suburbs of Tallinn – Nõmme Kalju – has emerged as a worthy contender, snatching two Estonian championships in the process.

Their meetings with Flora are renowned because the supporters have strong feelings towards each other and both stadiums are close to train stations (thus it is named the Railroad Derby), but meetings between Kalju and Levadia do not have much of a background. One journalist tried to sell it as a Diagonal Derby, which he explained as the “southwest and northeast derby based on the location of the team bases”. Surprisingly, it did not catch on.

The OlyBet Derby

So we should definitely try to do the same! As this piece of writing is quite unusual, you were probably wondering what the end game would be. A game between Osasuna and Real Betis would normally not be considered a derby, but since both are partner clubs of OlyBet, we certainly had popcorn ready for a feisty match.

They most recently met on May 5th at Osasuna, when Betis won 2-0 after an early red for the home team, while Betis also won their home game 2-1 in October. But in January 2023, Osasuna advanced in the Copa del Rey via penalties, so the matches are indeed worth watching and one day, The OlyBet Derby will hopefully be the Champions League final!


This piece of content has been lovingly crafted by the hard-working sports people of OlyBet. Hope you like it!