The major football clubs in London are not particularly fond of each other. Arsenal, Chelsea, West Ham and Tottenham are the Premier league clubs to all call London home, and the hatred that these clubs’ supporters have for one another is real. This phenomenon is not exclusive to London, however. Many cities have multiple clubs that call them home and these rivalries can be seen all over. Other notable divided cities in the Premier League include Manchester with United and City and Liverpool with Liverpool FC and Everton.
When clubs that share a city play each other the result is often a large and raucous match-day known as Derby Day which tends to draw loads of attention. Derby’s produce some of the most iconic moments in the sport simply because of what is at stake for the teams involved. I still remember feeling goosebumps watching Wayne Rooney smash home one of the purest bicycle kicks I’ve ever seen in the Manchester Derby against City in 2011. And I didn’t even have a horse in the race.
It is common practice for the supporters of the victorious club to claim that their city is colored in the primary color of their club. This is why you’ll always see banter about what color Manchester is. Often, however, the hate for the supporters is deeper than saying “Manchester is red”. It bleeds into the everyday lives of the people there. Just take one of the best ESPN commercials of all time as proof:
It is clear that Manchester provides a great model for what a derby should be not only on the pitch, but as well as off of it. So what could possibly make these clubs put their differences aside? Well, in the face of the current global pandemic we find ourselves in with COVID-19, these arch enemies have found it within them to lower their weapons and join forces for the greater good.
We are all aware of the platform that football provides the clubs and everyone connected to them because of the global reach of the game. Using this platform for good, MUFC and MCFC have teamed up to support local food banks for the increased demand they are seeing from vulnerable people as a result of the virus. A movement they are dubbing #ACityUnited.
In times like these, rivalries don’t exist because some things are clearly bigger than football. Though many clubs have committed resources to combatting the common enemy, there is something about seeing the Manchester clubs take this joint initiative that just feels right.
Though I am not aware of anything like this camaraderie from the London clubs, I can assure you that in times like these, London is simultaneously red, blue, and white. We all just miss the beautiful game. As long as everyone does their part as responsible members of society, the game we know and love will be back soon enough. Until then, it gives me hope to see the joining of forces all over the world.