20 Random Manchester Derby Facts
Manchester United may consider their rivalry with Liverpool to be fiercer, but the derby with their blue neighbours has a more storied history—and one that dates back further. And today, even though Liverpool are atop the table, there is little argument that the Manchester derby holds more weight in terms of the title race.
As David Moyes' men prepare for a trip across town to see Manuel Pellegrini's charges on Sunday, here are 20 facts about the Manchester derby that you may or may not be aware of.
The State of Play
Sunday's meeting will the the 166th Manchester derby, and the 13th at Eastlands.
Of those 165 games, United have won 70, City have won 45, and the remaining 50 were draws.
City's derby record in league meetings at Eastlands is a little more competitive, as it reads 4-5-1 (W-L-D).
The first meeting between West Gorton and Newton Heath—who would become City and United, respectively—took place on 12 November 1881. Newton Heath won 3-0.
Their first matchup as City and United occurred on Christmas Day, 1902. The festive celebrations were split evenly with a 1-1 draw.
City and United have met on 22 September once before. It was 1956, when a little over 53,000 fans at Old Trafford saw the home side clinch the First Division tie 2-0.
Sir Alex Ferguson's Debut
Sir Alex Ferguson won his first Manchester derby on 10 January 1987 in the FA Cup third round at Old Trafford. Norman Whiteside netted the winner in a game that finished 1-0.
David Moyes has won his first European match with the Red Devils—just as his predecessor did—so he will look to have a similar impact in his derby debut.
The Goal Tally
In total, Manchester United have scored 244 goals in the derby. City are currently 20 behind, on a tally of 224.
Manchester United's record derby win was recorded on 10 November 1994, when they stormed to a 5-0 victory at Old Trafford. Andrei Kanchelskis scored a hat-trick, while Eric Cantona and Mark Hughes also found the net.
City's record derby win occurred in January 1926, when they defeated their red rivals 6-1 at Old Trafford. Sky Blues fans will be quick to point out that this scoreline was repeated in October 2011!
Between February 1990 and November 2002, Manchester United went 16 games unbeaten in the derby. City ended the streak with a 3-1 win in the final derby to be held at Maine Road on Saturday 9 November 2002. Nicolas Anelka scored the opener, and Shaun Goater managed a brace.
City's longest unbeaten run occurred between January 1952 and September 1955. A 2-1 First Division loss at Old Trafford ended the run.
City and United have played many friendlies throughout the years, most notably during World War II, when they met 44 times over six years while the league was suspended.
The two Manchester sides have even combined forces for a derby. For Colin Bell's 1978 testimonial, United and City merged to face a Liverpool-Everton XI in a Manchester vs. Merseyside derby.
Ryan Giggs is the most prolific Manchester derby player of all time, having participated in 36. The next closest contenders are Bobby Charlton (27) and Paul Scholes (26).
Wayne Rooney has the opportunity to become the all-time top scorer in the Manchester derby on Sunday. Currently, he has scored in it 10 times, equalling the record of City strikers Joe Hayes and Francis Lee.
Incidentally, Bobby Charlton is United's second-highest derby scorer with nine goals—he averaged one in every three of his 27 local encounters.
The two Manchester sides have finished top of the league and runner-up three times: last season, the season before and 1967-68.
In that fabled '60s campaign, United became the first English team to win the European Cup, and manager Matt Busby was knighted for his achievements.
Crossing the Divide
A total of 24 players have played for both teams, the first being Scottish striker Bob Milarvie, who made the switch in 1891.
Notable players to have represented both sides of Manchester include Denis Law, Brian Kidd, Andy Cole, Carlos Tevez and Owen Hargreaves.
Peter Schmeichel's Record
Peter Schmeichel also played for both sides, and he can claim an undefeated Manchester derby record.
United were not beaten by City during his eight years at Old Trafford (1991-1999), while in his season at Maine Road (2002-03) the Sky Blues beat United 3-1 at home and drew 1-1 away.
Denis Law's Dilemma
One of the most famous Manchester derbies took place the final day of the 1973-74 season. Denis Law had re-joined City that year after spending 11 seasons at Old Trafford. He scored a back-heel goal in the 81st minute but did not celebrate as it relegated the Red Devils.
It turns out United would have been relegated anyway due to other results, but Law recalls being inconsolable about the goal. "I didn't want it to happen," he later admitted.
The Beginnings of the Rivalry
One of the reasons the Merseyside derby is known as the "friendly derby" is that Liverpool and Everton fans were often found in the same families, so they would stand with one another.
A similar lack of partisanism occurred in the Manchester derby prior to World War II: Fans would watch United one week and then go see City the next. After the war, however, a stronger rivalry developed, and it became unusual to follow both teams.
A 1-0 Scoreline Looks Probable
If you like a flutter, a bet on a 1-0 scoreline might be worthwhile. Five of the last seven league Manchester derbies have had that scoreline (three favouring United, two favouring City). In those seven games, there has been an average of 1.42 goals per game.
For what it's worth, there have been 25 1-0 scorelines in the Manchester derby's 165-game history.
Utd's Derby Debutants
A total of 26 United players made their debut in the Manchester derby, including current squad members Phil Jones and Ashley Young in the 2011 Community Shield.
At the first Premier League Manchester derby in December 1992, a young man named Eric Cantona made his debut. The Frenchman went on to score eight goals in the derbies of the following four seasons.
The floodlights will be on by the second half of Sunday's derby, which serves as a reminder that the first floodlit derby took place in February 1889, in aid of the Hyde Coal Mine disaster.
This was a decade after floodlights were first used in the game, but since the national grid was still several decades away, the system was powered by batteries and dynamos.
The highest attendance for a Manchester Derby occurred when 78,000 crammed into Maine Road on 20 September 1947. It was a 0-0 draw.
At the time, both teams were playing at Maine Road as Old Trafford had been damaged during World War II.
The Manchester derby has a history of hotheaded behaviour. In the December 1970 match at Old Trafford, George Best broke Glyn Pardoe's leg so badly that the City defender almost had to have it amputated.
The 1974 Maine Road derby gained notoriety when Mike Doyle and Lou Macari were both sent off for fighting but refused to leave the pitch. The referee ordered both teams back to the dressing rooms until the brawling players accepted their punishments, with the official summoning two policemen to make sure Macari didn't come back onto the pitch!
More recently, Roy Keane ended Alf-Inge Håland's career at Old Trafford in April 2001 with a horrific tackle that the fiery United star admitted was premeditated.