The Birth of the A23 Derby

Let’s face it, every football fan loves a good ol’ derby match. 

You’re guaranteed two fired-up teams, a few late tackles, opposing sets of fans displaying their emotions, hurling verbals and god knows what else at each other - they can make for fantastic viewing (please note nobody at offside condones football violence!)

Take a look at some of the fixtures taking place across Europe this weekend and you won’t know which way to turn your head, with an absolute feast of tasty looking Derby matches for you to set your eyes on.

From the Old Firm in Glasgow to the Derby della Capitale in Rome; Tvillingderbyt (The Twin Derby) in Stockholm and the Wien derby in Vienna, there’s the potential for fireworks all over Europe.

Meanwhile, down in SE25 (South East London for our international readers), Brighton and Hove Albion will travel 45 miles to take on Crystal Palace in what is commonly known as the A23 derby, one of the lesser known and more random rivalries but, nonetheless, equally as fierce, brewed not from locality, but a feud which has seen the two develop an almighty hate for one another. 

Featuring a retaken penalty and a cup of coffee.

Alan Mullery managing in the blue and white corner, and Terry Venables the red and blue, previously shared bad blood during their playing days at Spurs, the latter supposedly bitter Mullery was chosen ahead of him to become the new captain at White Hart Lane, a role Venables clearly felt he deserved.

With relations already a tad strained, an intense spell of five games in one season during the late ‘70s, the majority FA Cup replays, begun to stir the pot a little more between the two then, rival-less clubs.  

Chuck a couple of postponements and a dodgy refereeing decision into the mix - Palace profited from a retaken Brighton penalty which was scored first time around, but then saved to win the fourth game 1-0 sending them through - and you had an incensed Mullery chasing down the referee and getting himself involved in all sorts with the Palace fans.

As one can imagine, various hand gestures and insults were exchanged, as was a cup of coffee which landed all over the Brighton gaffer. 

His response was to empty his pockets of loose change onto the floor and roar the famous words which sparked it all, “That’s all your worth Crystal Palace".

Cue violence between the two sets of fans following this and preceding the final match of the five-game epic and the A23 derby was born. 

Nobody seems to mention that they were both probably just sick of the sight of each other having spent over 450 minutes battling it out, but there we go!

This got us curious football folk at offside thinking though – are there other obscure rivalries to have gone unnoticed or slip under the radar? Perhaps your club is embroiled in a rivalry the football world has yet to hear about. However big or small, we want to know the story behind it all. Let us know in the comments box below!

Share post:

Comment post