You’ve watched endless football matches of your local team, travelled across the country with your pals to cheer the team and even watched your national team – so what’s next?
Watching football is about so much more than simply observing the action on the pitch. It’s about lending your support to your team, joining together with your fellow fans and creating a buzz around the stadium that makes everyone’s experience that little bit more special.
Grab your passport. Football is waiting.
In the capital of Serbia, two clubs, Red Star and Partizan, have a fierce rivalry throughout many sports, including basketball and handball. However, the greatest of these rivalries is in the world of football, where the two Serbian clubs have dominated the domestic game.
The two clubs were born out of the ashes of the second World War, and have battled with each other as well as Dinamo Zagreb and Hajduk Split. The games have often been marred with violence between fans, and undercurrents of racism have always existed, especially in the early era. Flags, flares and frustration are a staple of the match up, with a fever pitch atmosphere at every game, which often spills over.
The rivalry is often rife with corruption allegations, and those have only stoked the already fiery relationship between the clubs. The ex-Yugoslavian state is often home to much political unrest, and this has exploded into a fierce sporting rivalry between Partizan and Red Star. The biggest derby in Europe.
While Real and Barca duel with each other in El Clasico, in Argentina, a whole different beast endures. El Superclasico, the name given to the turbulent fixture between the two Buenos Aires clubs, is played in a febrile atmosphere of extreme noise, strident bravado, resentfulness and not infrequent violence.
The Observer once identified the Superclasico between Boca Juniors and River Plate as the No. 1 sporting event to attend before you die.
The reasons? The support these two receive is phenomenal, and is matched by the passion and ferocity on display. They are the giants of Argentine football and regularly contest the nation’s chief footballing honours. Since 1913, when the sides first met, clashes between the two have been typically vibrant, vivid and colourful affairs.
The boundaries may have bled into one another slightly in this commercial age, but this is yet another key dichotomy forged upon fault lines within a community. Boca are seen as the club of the dockland area and typically represented the working class, while River, nicknamed Los Millonarios hail from the affluent Belgrano cartier in the north of Buenos Aires.
Derby Della Capitale
Italy’s “Derby Della Capitale,” the eternal struggle between Roma and Lazio, is one of world football’s most enduring rivalries.
Such has been the success of Italy’s other sides in recent seasons, winning the Scudetto has been little more than a distant dream for these two. Instead, they have focused on their mutual disdain, and the long-term rivalry between these two capital clubs has bubbled ferociously.
The Rome Derby is about ownership, ownership of a city…what was it Commodus said? “Control the mob and you control Rome.”
Borussia Dortmund is a club that everyone knows. Famous for its atmosphere and fan culture it’s probably one of the most exciting match days a football fan can have. For us a reason to include Borussia Dortmund to our bucket list. From cheap match tickets to cheap beers, Dortmund have the highest attendance in world football and they are determined to price their tickets fairly. From just €15 you’ll find yourself amongst the most vocal supporters in the stadium.
It is a wishy-washy notion and Dortmund’s detractors accuse them of being holier-than-thou but supporters, increasingly, have been drawn to the Westfalenstadion, not least from England. Between 800 and 1,000 make the trip for each home game and it is difficult to ignore the feeling that they have turned to Dortmund because they have grown disillusioned at English football.
If you haven’t been to Borussia Dortmund, it should definitely be on your bucket list for the coming years.
The Old Firm battle between Rangers and Celtic may not currently be getting an airing due to the former’s descent down the Scottish Leagues, however, even in memory, the rivalry remains almost unparalleled.
Celtic and Rangers fans differ on nearly every topic possible, from being Protestant or Catholic to Loyalist or Republican. From being British or Scots-Irish to Conservatism or Socialism. In any walk of life, sectarianism has dominated the fragile relationship between the two halves of Glasgow, and consequently, derby day erupts with violence.
The Old Firm is one of the most violent fixtures in the world, and the passion and intensity the fans hold to their own beliefs is what drives such a ferocious and vicious rivalry.