So as an avid reader of reddit.com, I often feel like I’m trying to avoid lifting entire discussions in the soccer sub-reddit and turning them into posts in this space. There’s no doubt that I’m guilty of using links from the site for my round-ups and ten words or less posts, but that’s the beauty of that user community… it’s like having an extra 18,000 pairs of eyes to scan the interwebz for interesting footy stories to share with you. I’m not afraid to say that the site is a great source of inspiration for me, as it’s varied user base never fails to unearth a variety of experiences and viewpoints.
Anyway, an extremely interesting discussion arose a few weeks ago on reddit concerning the proximity of Liverpool’s Anfield Road Stadium to Everton’s Goodison Park. Just in case you didn’t know it, the two Merseyside clubs are less than a 20 minute walk from one another.
Rival parks a mere walk away from one another… seems like a recipe for disaster, but somehow they manage (lessons learned from the past of course). But it would be foolish to think that Liverpool is the only city in the world where rival stadiums are just around the corner from one another.
As the redditors in on the discussion clearly demonstrated, there are numerous locales around the world that are more than a little close for comfort. Today, we’ll delve into the examples discussed and a few others that I managed to unearth. Much like my previous post on isolated football pitches around the world, this list is not definitive. Even with all-seeing eye of reddit, and my own investigative efforts, there’s bound to be a few neighborly grounds that were skipped over. Feel free to let me know in the comments.
Dundee FC & Dundee United – Dundee, Scotland (103 meters)
Behold: the closest rival football grounds in Great Britain. The two Scottish sides are literally just a stones throw away from one another, and are predictably fierce rivals. However, the rivalry has been limited in recent years as Dundee FC have been recently embroiled in financial chaos, receiving a 25 point deduction and subsequent relegation to the Scottish First Division. This however, does make it a little easier to stagger matches at each stadium to limit clashes between the fans. Sadly, there have been discussions of replacing Dundee FC’s Dens Park and Dundee United’s Tannadice Park with a larger, joint use stadium.
Al-Hilal & Al-Merreikh SC – Omdurman, Sudan (510 meters)
Though hardly the most famous of clubs in world football, the rivalry between the two most successful clubs in the Sudanese Premier League is intensified by the close proximity of their stadiums. Having won a combined 43 titles between them (and there have only been 45 SPL seasons) and a city population of 2.4 million, it’s easy to see why the Omdurman Derby is considered one of the most intense in East Africa. Al-Merrikh‘s “Red Castle” stadium is home to the Sudan national team, and seats a tidy 45,000. However, Al-Hilal’s stadium isn’t a shack either, with a capacity of 35,000.
Independiente & Racing Club – Avellaneda, Argentina (240 meters)
Argentinian football is well known for it’s rabid fan rivalries, and the neighborly love between Racing and Independiente is likely in short supply. More than just a neighborhood rivalry, the Avellaneda Derby is the second biggest in Argentina behind the River Plate/Boca Juniors’ Superclásico. A 2006 edition of the derby saw the fan violence escalate at Independiente’s Estadio Libertadores de América (a.k.a. the “Doble Visera”) to the point where the Argentine federation decided to crackdown by banning away fans at every single game in the top four divisions. The bad blood isn’t a recent trend though either nor is it one restricted to the fans, as a 1961 meeting at Racing’s Estadio Juan Domingo Perón saw 8 players sent off after three separate fights erupted between them.
FK Partizan & Red Star – Belgrade, Serbia (509 meters)
Easily the most recognizable and successful clubs in Serbia, it’s sometimes shocking to see how closely domestic giants will put their stadiums next to one another. Though Red Star have had the greater European success, Partizan’s Stadion has seen the greater success of late having hosted a number of high profile Champions League matches in recent years. However, such success will likely spell the end of the teams’ close quarters, as Partizan now have the financial clout to push for a move to a new sight farther away from Red Star’s Stadion FK Crvena Zvezda.
Notts County & Nottingham Forest – Notingham, England (300 meters)
All that stands between these rivals — aside from differing levels of the English Football pyramid — is the River Trent. While Notts County are the oldest professional footbal club in the world, their Meadow Lane (built in 1910) isn’t even the oldest stadium in the city. Instead, Nottingham Forest’s City Ground was up before elder rivals ground by 12 years. Unsurprisingly though, both grounds opened by hosting their cross-river rivals for their ceremonial first matches.