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Football weekend: “It’s a derby day”, decoding the widely used term!

By Siddharth Gupta
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The game of Football, over its history of more than 160 years, has seen the role of rivalries emerge, shooting up the popularity of the game which is now breathed by almost half of the world’s population!

On the weekend when two of the greatest footballing fixtures, the Merseyside Derby(Liverpool Vs Everton) and the North London Derby(Arsenal Vs Tottenham) take place, we bring you all that you need to know about the popular term of derby.

What does derby mean?

The term in itself has been defined by Webster as “any of several horse races held annually and usually restricted to three-year-olds” and “a game between local sports teams”. Hence, in the context of sports and more so in football, the term means a match-up between two teams which are from a similar geographical location.

When did the term begin associating itself more to Football rivalries?

An elite horse race! Yes, that is how the term came into existence. In 1778, a man called Edward Stanley, who was also titled as the 12th Earl of Derby – a title in the Peerage of England – brought the idea of organizing a horse race. The race began a year later in the South East English county of Surrey. The event would annually run for years to come on the last Wednesday before the Christian festival of Pentecost (modernly switched to Saturday).

Football weekend: "It's a derby day", decoding the widely used term
The usage of the term over the years in history Image Source: https://books.google.com

Over the next century, the race started using Stanley’s title in its name and the date marked itself on the calendars of British sports-goers. In no time, the term was picked up by other sports like football. Soon, derby became synonymous to football games played between teams of the same city or between neighbours.

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