West Yorkshire derby

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Map of West Yorkshire showing the proximity of the clubs

The West Yorkshire derby is a series of football matches taking place between three English football clubs from West YorkshireBradford City, Huddersfield Town and Leeds United.[1][2] Leeds United's relegation to League One in 2007 may have reignited this rivalry, although Bradford's relegation to League Two removed the possibility that the three major West Yorkshire football teams (Bradford, Huddersfield and Leeds) might be in the same division for the first time since the 1980s in the 2007–08 season. In 2010–11 and 2011-12 seasons all three teams involved in the West Yorkshire Derby were in different leagues, Bradford City were in League Two, Huddersfield town were in League One and Leeds United played in the Championship. At the end of the 2011-12 season, Huddersfield were promoted from League One to the Championship. The rivalry goes beyond football with the three areas also having Rugby League teams that consider each other as rivals.

Bradford City and Leeds United[edit]

Valley Parade Full

Bradford engage in a very fierce competition with local rivals Leeds United: they are considered to be the club's most hated rivals in modern times. This rivalry is mainly due to the two cities' proximity to one another, which has exacerbated in later years because there has been some football fans within Bradford choosing to travel the short distance to support Leeds rather than the home town's City. Although Leeds fans are unlikely to raise the same level of emotion talking about Bradford that a City would in talking about Leeds. There may be other reasons, including the setting alight of a chip van by Leeds fans during a game between the two sides at Odsal perceived by some as a mockery of the Bradford City stadium fire. The last meeting between these two sides was at Elland Road on Tuesday 2 September 2008, in the Football League Trophy. Leeds won the game 2–1.[3] the two sides met again in the 2011–12 League Cup First Round where Leeds once again ran out 3–2 winners.[4]

Bradford City and Huddersfield Town[edit]

The Galpharm stadium home of Huddersfield Town

Bradford City and Huddersfield Town have had roughly the same league status for the last couple of decades and so it could be argued that they are closest rivals out of the three West Yorkshire teams.

Matches against these sides have produced both amazing spectacles and some terrible moments—the 1996–97 season providing examples of both. On 1 February 1997, Huddersfield Town defender Kevin Gray broke the leg of Bradford City striker Gordon Watson in two places with a horrific sliding tackle. Watson was, at that time, the most expensive player in Bradford City's history having cost them £575,000, and was playing in only his third match for the club. He required a six-inch plate and seven screws in his leg. It took Gordon almost two years of recovery and five further operations before he was able to return to football, after which he made just a handful of appearances for City before leaving the club. At Leeds High Court in October 1998 he succeeded in becoming only the second player in the history of football to prove negligence by another player and was later awarded in excess of £900,000 in damages,[5][6] making it "the most expensive tackle in British football and legal history".

The return fixture that season was a happier affair. It provided a spectacular display of goals in which City took a 3–0 lead, including one famous goal scored directly from a corner by ex-England star Chris Waddle, before the game swung in Huddersfield's favour as they fought back to the final score of 3–3.

The most recent derby with Huddersfield Town at the John Smith's Stadium ended in a 2–1 victory for the home team in the first round of the league cup on 6 August 2013.

Leeds United and Huddersfield Town[edit]

Leeds United's best period of success was in the 1960s and 1970s under the management of the legendary Don Revie. Between 1963–1975, Leeds became feared across the country and in Europe. Revie guided them to two league championships, FA Cup, League Cup, two European Fairs Cups and Charity Shield. Despite the success, Leeds had many disappointments, they were runners-up 5 times in the league, FA Cup Finalists 3 Times, European Cup Winners Cup and European Cup Finalists once. In 1992 Howard Wilkinson guided Leeds to their 3rd top flight title, just two years after getting them promoted from the old Second Division, where they had played for 8 years.

Huddersfield Town were the first team in English football to win the First Division title three times in a row back in the 1920s - a feat only matched by Liverpool, Manchester United and Arsenal - they also claimed the FA Cup, Charity Shield and finished as runners up in the league three times in this period. However Huddersfield have not played in the top flight of English football since 1972, having been promoted two season earlier when they won the 1969-70 Second Division title.

Huddersfield have the better head to head record of the two teams, having won 25 of the 61 derbys between the two sides with 17 draws and 19 Leeds wins. [7]

In recent years Huddersfield have also had a slight edge over Leeds in the games played in League One, winning 3 of the 6 meetings between the clubs, the three Huddersfield wins were a 1-0 home victory in April 2008 [8] then a 2-1 away victory over Leeds in November 2008 and a 1-0 home win in February 2009. The remaining games finished with two draws and one win for United when they handed out a 4–0 defeat to the Terriers. The derby was rekindled in the 2012-13 season following Huddersfield's promotion to the Championship, with both teams gaining away victories (Leeds 4-2 at Huddersfield)(Huddersfield 2-1 at Leeds) - Leeds' first since the 1963-64 season.

Other rivalries in West Yorkshire[edit]

Bradford City historically have a fierce rivalry with other Bradfordian team Bradford Park Avenue A.F.C., which can also be considered a "West Yorkshire Derby", however this is rivalry is commonly known as the "Bradford derby". Halifax Town, another West Yorkshire football team, consider Huddersfield to be one of their main rivals. Before dissolving in March 2010 Farsley Celtic A.F.C. had a 'one-way' rivalry with Leeds United.

Rugby League is also big in West Yorkshire. Rugby league teams Bradford Bulls, Leeds Rhinos and Huddersfield Giants would be the big West Yorkshire Rugby Derby. Other teams such as Batley Bulldogs, Bramley Buffaloes, Castleford Tigers, Dewsbury Rams, Featherstone Rovers, Halifax RLFC, Hunslet Hawks, Keighley Cougars and Wakefield Trinity Wildcats play in West Yorkshire and any combination of them teams playing against each other would be called a West Yorkshire derby even if the rivalry is not as great as other rivalries between teams in the area.

See also[edit]

References[edit]