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All You Need To Know About The Manchester Derby

“On Derby Day in Manchester, the city is cut in two. The Blues and The Reds invade the street. And if your team win. The City belongs to you.”

Eric Cantona

The Manchester derby has a long and storied history; from the first match in 1881 to today’s game in the year 2024, both teams have clashed in a never-ending tug-of-war for control of the city of Manchester. Despite periods of dominance for both clubs, there has never been an overall victor. Despite that, the ongoing battle has given us some of the most iconic moments in English footballing history. This is the story of the Manchester Derby.

West Gorton vs Newton Heath: The Beginning

The beginning of the Manchester Derby wasn’t even contested between Manchester City and Manchester United. The Derby was settled between West Gorton and Newton Heath. No lineups or goalscorers have been saved from this historic date. The Ashton Reporter, who journaled the match, described it as “a pleasant game.” This saw Newton Heath, now Manchester United, trash West Gorton, who later went on to become Manchester City 3 goals to 0. This supposed “friendly.” would set the stage for a nonstop clash between West Gorton and Newton Heath for the recently created Manchester Cup. This period would see Newton Heath lift the cup on 4 separate occasions, while Ardwick (West Gorton.) lifted it only once.

Head 2 Head.

Across different competitions over 143 years, Manchester United statistically have held significant dominance over Manchester City, with the Newton Heath-based club holding 78 victories to Manchester City’s 60. Across the league’s history, Manchester United have enjoyed 66 wins against their blue counterparts, with 66 wins to Manchester City’s 51, however. Manchester City’s recent period of dominance has the scales tipping in favour of Pep Guardiola’s men.

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Who Is The Most Successful Manager In Manchester Derby History?

It shall come as no surprise to anyone to hear that Sir Alex Ferguson boasts the most victory from the technical area in the Manchester Derby, The Scotsman boasts:

  • 45 Games
  • 25 Wins
  • 9 Draws
  • 11 Loses
  • 55.5% Win Rate
  • 24.4% Loss Rate

In comparison to Pep Guardiola’s:

  • 17 Games
  • 9 Wins
  • 2 Draws
  • 6 Losses
  • 54% Win Rate
  • 35% Loss Rate

Sir Alex Ferguson also held 38 trophies during his time at Manchester United, in that period Manchester City won a meagre 5 trophies.

The Largest Defeat in the Manchester Derby.

Another statistic Manchester United unfortunately holds clear dominance over is the heaviest defeat in the derby’s history, with United being decimated 6-1 on two separate occasions, once in the 1925–26 season and once again in more recent times to Roberto Mancini’s Manchester City in the 2011–2012 season.

Manchester Derby Top Scorers.

The Manchester Derby has featured some of the most prolific goalscorers to ever grace the English game over its 143-year history, but which of them has scored the most in the derby’s history? Manchester City’s Joe Hayes, who played in the 1960s scored an impressive 142 goals for the Cityzens, 10 of which came in the Manchester Derby. In the era of the Premier League, the record would of course fall onto the shoulders of Manchester City’s arguably greatest-ever player Kun Aguero, with The Argentinian sensation scoring 9 goals in the Manchester Derby.

Yet both players would fall just short of the record, with the top scorer ever to grace the Manchester Derby being none other than Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney, most known for his exquisite bicycle kick that is forever etched in the history of the derby, the English striker scored 11 goals over his entire playing career against Manchester City, could we see a new name added to this list today?

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Iconic Manchester Derby Moments.

Love At 93rd Sight.

“A kiss on the lips from Nev is worth it any time after a winner against City.”

Paul Scholes

The kiss seen around the world, in 2010 was when Gary Neville expressed his appreciation for Paul Scholes after Scholsey slammed home a 93rd-minute winner to break City’s heart’s and reignite United’s title charge. Of course, Neville simply couldn’t make his appreciation known through a simple embrace or pat on the back; this was the Manchester Derby instead. Gary Neville crossed the pitch and locked eyes with the ginger maestro before smacking him square on the lips to create the unforgettable moment, as much as Paul Scholes wishes we would forget about it.

Why Always Me?

Why Always You, Mario? Mario Balotelli’s career in England and as a whole was constantly shadowed by unfortunate incidents, including an incident with Adama Demispor, a never-ending conflict with Jose Mourinho, and 400,000 dollars worth of damage to a Cheshire mansion. Does that last one sound familiar? Balotelli learned a harsh lesson about playing with fireworks after setting fire to his own mansion because of it. Yet just hours later, he came out with his iconic “Why Always Me.” celebration, scoring the first goal in City’s aforementioned 6-1 demolishment of United, by lifting his shirt and revealing an ironically “thermal.” top, with “Why Always Me?” stitched across it. Manchester City later went on to win the league on goal difference that season, with the iconic last-minute title winner being assisted by Balotelli. Why Always You, Mario?

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Wayne Rooney’s Overhead Kick.

Arguably the most iconic moment in Derby’s history, an absolute thunder of a bicycle kick by the derby’s top scorer to win the match, there isn’t much more to be said about that if you haven’t seen it. Get out of the rock you’re living under.

Manchester’s Judas’s

Carlos Tevez.

“It was like a dagger for him”

Carlos Tevez On Alex Ferguson

Of all the players to have played for both the red and blue sides of the city, Carlos Tevez is arguably the most infamous. Carlos Tevez signed for Manchester United during the 2006/2007 season, proving to be a prolific striker for the Red Devil’s as he netted 19 goals in his first season. Yet only a season later, a few miles east. Plans would be made at the Etihad to steal the Argentine right under the noses of their city rivals, United offered to pay 25£ to make their signing permanent, yet the billboard was already up. Right in the city centre, etched in blue, there stood a billboard with Carlos Tevez front and centre, reading “Welcome to Manchester.” A sign of changing times.

Other players to have played for both clubs include:

  • Peter Schmeichel
  • Owen Hargreaves
  • Andy Cole
  • Denis Law

Everything you need to know ahead of today’s game is wrapped up right here in a neat little package for you, Yet obviously not everything can be covered, what are your favourite moments from the Manchester Derby?

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