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Stone's Throw: Eleven Of World Football's Closest Neighbours

Stone's Throw: Eleven Of World Football's Closest Neighbours
By Aaron Strain

More often than not, it's bad enough being in the same city as you arch rivals, never mind in the exact same postal code.

Beating your noisy neighbours in their own back yard isn't really the same if their yard is, quite literally, three doors down, right? Or maybe it intensifies the emotions involved?

If you're looking a certified opinion on the matter, best ask one of the faithful from the following 22 clubs whose two stadiums are located within a single mile of each other.

0.86 m - Iraklis Thessaloniki (Kaflanzoglio Stadium) & PAOK (Toumba Stadium)

The uneducated masses amongst you would think that two club stadiums located within a mile of each other in Greece would mean certain operational difficulties for the local constabulary, match day or not.

But this particular geographical anomaly causes little in the way of difficulty for any of the authorities as both fans of IRA - yes, that is there preferred moniker - and PAOK are politically aligned very much on the left of centre.

So much in bed with each other are the two clubs that Iraklis were banished to the Greek football second tier after being found guilty of rolling over for PAOK in a match-fixing scandal in 1979-80 season, and despite finding their way back to the upper echelons, they have never really caused a threat to PAOK - arguably Greece's most supported club.

PAOK are even considering playing over at their neighbour's house whilst their stadium goes under reconstruction next year.

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o.77 m - Bohemians 1905 (Dolicek) & Slavia Prague (Sinobo Stadium)

The airy fairyness continues in the Czech capital with the suggestion that fans of the two clubs prefer sharing spliffs than accident & emergency rooms.

Despite both being located in the city's Vrsovice district, Slavia have traditionally vied for superiority - and lost - with sworn enemies Sparta Prague throughout the history of football in the region and nationally.

It seems the secret to amicability is having one club deeply entrenched on the left wing of politics, which Bohemians most certainly are. Their biggest gripe is with cross-town rivals FK Bohemians - a club owned by 1905's former owners.

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When the latter almost went into financial oblivion in the mid-noughties, the suits bought a third tier side and tried to persuade fans to switch allegiance. They even took the Bohemians name. Needless to say, the idea didn't go down well, and the two clubs have been locked in protracted instances of litigation since.

0.59 m - Liverpool FC (Anfield) & Everton FC (Goodison Park)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ulLwv9U4cd0

One we're all familiar with and arguably one of the biggest games in world football. The Merseyside derby is often referred to as the "friendly derby" given the nature of so many families being split red and blue. That being said, it's the Premier League fixture which has produced most red cards.

Famously separated by the width of Stanley Park, the feeling between two sets of supporters were probably at their most strained during the late eighties.

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Everton suffered more than most at the hands of the English club ban from Europe after 39 people - 38 of which were Juventus fans - died prior to the 1985 European Cup Final kicking off between Liverpool and Juventus in the Belgian town of Heysel. Liverpool hooligans charged followers of their Italian opponents causing a wall to collapse. That same year Everton won the league domestically but were denied the chance to enter the following year's competition by UEFA's five-year suspension. It would be a similar story when the Toffees triumphed again in 1987.

In a twist of fate, it took another tragedy to mend relations, as Everton fans rallied around their neighbours in the aftermath of the Hillsborough tragedy in 1989, where 96 Liverpool fans were crushed to death during the Reds FA Cup semi-final tie with Nottingham Forest at Sheffield's Hillsborough Stadium.

0.56 m - Ponte Preta (Majestoso) & Guarani (Estádio Brinco de Ouro)

One of the most hotly contested derbies in Brazil is the Dérbi Campiniero, which sees fierce Campinas rivals Ponte Preta and Guarani go at each other.

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For over 100 years, Derby weeks have been underscored by high tension within the city where the usually peaceful streets in this otherwise sleepy countryside metropolis in Sao Paolo State become the trenches for some of Brazilian football's most fearsome fan-on-fan violence.

Great idea then, to have a roundabout and a couple of trees separate the two respective stadiums.

It wasn't as if they weren't forewarned. One of the earliest meetings between the two sides was marred by a dust-up of biblical proportions back in 1914 after Guarani claimed a 2-0 win. Despite this, Majestoso was completed in 1948 by the Ponte Preta fans, who came together to build their own stadium, and five years later up sprang up Brinco de Ouro across the road.

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The two teams are both competing in Brazil's Série B this year, with the most recent meeting throwing up a 3-0 win for the Ponte Preta lads the day before Paddy's day.

0.55 m - Cracovia (Józef Piłsudski Stadium) & Wisla Krakow (Stadion Miejski)

In order to give a flavour of just how much these two sets of supporters hate each other, they don't even call matches between the two teams a derby - they call it the Holy War. That's feckin' terrifying.

Similar to Anfield and Goodison, the two stadiums are separated by the narrowest point of one of the city's most popular parks - where incidentally the two sides faced off for the first time in a 1-1 draw in 1908.

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aNLkWv1WMJY

 

It's the oldest derby in Polish football and over the years there have been countless run-ins between supporters, with the knife oft times becoming the weapon of choice.

Wisla were the victors on Paddy's Day - theme emerging - when the two sides met, but it was the Cracovia boys that were intent on putting on a lights show at 3-0 down.

0.47 m - Red Star Belgrade (Marakana) & Partizan Belgrade (Stadion Partizana)

So there are derbies, and then there's Red Star-Partizan.

The proximity of Serbia's two biggest footballing powerhouses is disturbingly close, given the ferociousness of the Eternal Derby.

But as close as their two home patches are, that is nowhere near as close as some of the opposing fans like to get to each other during matches.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mb3yeBs8hCQ

The two clubs came into being almost immediately after the cessation of the Second World War. Whilst not political in nature as such with both side's firmly Serbian nationalist at heart, the rivalry has been stoked by success or the lack of.

Red Star ruled the roost whilst Serbia remained part of Yugoslavia and even collected the European Cup in 1991 with Prosenecki, Mihajlovic, Jugovic and Savicevic forming a fantasy midfield quartet, but since independence, it has been Partizan who have held ascendency.

It's a derby that has a felony list as long as your arm and is regarded by most as Europe's fiercest footballing rivalry.

0.26 m - Nottingham Forest (City Ground) & Notts County (Meadow Lane)

300 yards separate the City Ground and Notts County - each stadium straddles opposite banks of the River Trent.

Right beside the City Ground lies Trent Bridge Cricket Stadium, where County played up until the FA told them to find a place of their own in 1910

Handily enough, land became available right across the river. So close in fact, that Nottinghamshire Cricket Club were able to give County a stand for their new stadium which was able to be floated across the water.

Despite being the closest neighbours in English soccer, meetings between the two sides are few and far between - the last League fixture saw a 2-1 win for County on February 12th 1994. Or alternatively, Charlie Palmer Day.

The journeyman full back popped up with an 86th-minute winner over the arch rivals and a quarter of a century later the Magpies are still living off the back of it.

In fairness - they haven't had much else to crow about.

0.23 m - Remo (Baenão) & Paysandu (Curuzú)

Most of us are glued to the Re-Pa derby year in, year out, of course, but for those who maybe need a gentle reminder - the two sides sit across the road from each other in the Amazonian delta city of Belém.

The northern states of Brazil are not best known for their footballing powerhouses but this rivalry rates as the biggest in the region, despite the fact the two sides are slogging it out in Serie C.

Other than that, there's not too much to say about it. And the lad across the seat from me on the train is trying to play footsie with me and I cannot concentrate on the Amazon King derby any further.

0.23 m - Independiente (Libertadores de America) & Racing Club (El Cillindro)

Whilst tear gas and shattered glass, inflatable balloons and well, one rather famous inflated balloon usually dominate the headlines when it comes to Buenos Aries derby days, plenty of us need reminding that the Argentinian capital plays host to another huge South American clash where local bragging rights, as you can see from the above visual, are most fiercely contested for over close quarters.

Racing Club and Independiente are Argentina's third and fourth most decorated side's respectively, and both play out of the city of Avellaneda, a suburb of the capital.

The former moved in alongside their neighbours in 1950 and games between the two have more or less been tense affairs ever since.

The worst of the fan violence came in 2006, when trailing 2-0 across the road at the Libertadores de America, the rioting Racing fans went toe to toe with the Argentinian police, with the game eventually being abandoned.

That led to a nationwide crackdown on all away supporters attending games in Argentina for the remainder of that season.

Independiente let the Racing players know about it the next year, however.

0.20 m - Dundee (Dens Park) & Dundee United (Tannadice)

Tannadice Street, Dundee plays host to one of the most iconic images in British football.

Separated by no more than 200 odd yards, The Terrors and The Dee contest the most cramped derby in Britain and until very recently, the world.

What we've seen in cities like Prague, Liverpool and Thessaloniki also rings true on the east coast of Scotland, where, despite United finding its history very heavily set in the soils of Irish immigration to the port city, there are very close ties between the two clubs with some families in the city being split down the middle.

Famously, or infamously as the case may be, the two clubs even team up for assaults on the firms from bigger Scottish cities like Edinburgh and Glasgow under the name Dundee Utility.

Each of the two clubs holds a single Scottish top-flight title to their name, but such has been the dominance of the Old Firm over Scottish Football in the last three decades, the city has only welcomed three major trophies - all Challenge Cups, 2 for Dundee and 1 for United - since 1990.

0.17 m - Malmo FF (Swedbank Stadion) & IFK Malmo (Malmo Stadion)

We promised you a stone's throw and a stone's throw is what you'll get.

Welcome to Malmo. Home of the Swedbank Stadion on the left, and Malmo Stadion on the right. It was 2009 when world football's closest neighbours tag swapped the eastern edge of Scotland for the southern tip of Sweden and in interesting circumstances.

Despite being from the same city, you couldn't quite call Malmo FF and IFK Malmo's rivalry intense in nature. Aside from the fact, their Swedish and nothing seems to stir those wardrobe assembling blonde bombshells, the two sides have yet to meet each other in a competitive fixture in over half a century. Superpower FF reign as the country's most successful club side whilst minnows IFK have long since left their days of grandeur behind - the one time European Cup quarter-finalists now finding themselves on the fourth rung of the Swedish footballing ladder.

Strange then, that when Malmo decided they were going to build a bigger and better stadium for themselves in the back car park, that IFK would jump at the opportunity to fill the 26,500 capacity Malmo Stadion their city adversaries vacated.

FF now boast the brand spanking new Swedbank Stadion, but in one of those stupid pieces of trivia that only football can throw up, their capacity is now 2500 smaller than the property they left.

SEE ALSO: Solskjaer Appointment: The Men That Made It Happen

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