We all know that for the hardcore football fans, the game is all about rivalry. At the end of the season, most fans care more about how their team played in one or two fixtures more than how they did in the league overall.
This certainly holds true when we are talking about Aston Villa and Birmingham City fans, as the Second City Derby is one of the oldest and most heated derbies in all of England.
The derby takes its name from the fact Birmingham, the city both clubs come from, is known as the second city of England, only behind London. The rivalry that has been standing for well over 100 years, when the two clubs first met in 1879 will be back on this season as the relegation of Aston Villa into the Championship means the two sides will meet at least twice this year.
Aston Villa and Birmingham have played 122 competitive matches to date, with Villa getting the better of Birmingham on 53 occasions, losing only 38 and drawing 31. During the 2000s, the two teams met regularly in the EPL, with Villa being somewhat more successful, but ever since Birmingham were relegated in the 2010-11 season, there were no more league matches to speak of.
Last year saw Villa host the Blues at Villa Park in the Capital One Cup and win with a single goal from Rudy Gestede and even though it was not a league match and the significance of the competition is often disputed, for the fans of these two teams, this was the match of the season.
The first Second City Derby this year is scheduled for October 30th with Birmingham hosting their city rivals. The relegation of several historically strong EPL sides into the Championship promises that the season in the England’s second rank will bring some very entertaining matches, and this will surely be one of them.
While the season is still young, Aston Villa are expected by everyone to make their way back into the top flight, but the matches against Birmingham City promise to bring tons of excitement and unexpected results. In all fairness, it is likely that there are plenty of Aston Villa fans out there who were kind of happy to see their team relegated so they could once again experience the Second City Derby on a more regular basis.
One thing that we must all hope for is that the Villa and Blues fans will keep their emotions in check a bit more in this season’s matches, as the second City Derby has been known to escalate into some really bloody and nasty affairs with significant outbreaks of fan violence during which fans and members of the police were known to experience serious injuries.
Hope remains that this year’s derbies will bring us exciting football, lots of goals and a lack of hooligan behavior from the heated fans. If this is the case, we can already say that the two matches will be a thrill to watch and for the true Villa and Birmingham fans, October 30th 2016 and April 23rd 2017 will be the high holidays of the season.