The history of United rivalry with Liverpool

golden_blunder

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When I was growing up in Ireland in the 70s and 80s, you supported 1 of 2 teams; United or Liverpool. Somehow, you just became bitter about the opposite side. No one really understood the depth of the rivalry or where it came from?

Even today with younger fans I feel that many don’t get it when they list Chelsea, Arsenal etc as our biggest rivals. City? Local neighbours and local rivals but not the same bitterness. Leeds come close but not the same.







Liverpool fans were a special brand of obnoxiously arrogant braggers when I was growing up, even adults, looking down their noses at anything United. I still didn’t understand it but bitterness grew.

This article does a decent job of explaining where the rivalry first grew from

https://premplace.com/history-of-the-manchester-united-liverpool-rivalry/
 
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golden_blunder

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From that linked article

When Liverpool defender Neil Ruddock broke both of Andy Cole’s legs in a reserve match, he said: “I didn’t meant to break both legs, I only meant to break one… I absolutely destroyed him… I know it’s not big and it’s not clever but it was great.”

When Steven Gerrard was showing a film crew around his house, he brought them to a room where he had opposition shirts that he swapped for his own after games. But there were no Man United shirts, because he would never have one in his house.

Gary Neville once said: “I can’t stand Liverpool, I can’t stand the people, I can’t stand anything to do with them.”
 

Rory 7

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Like you, growing up in Ireland during the 80s really cemented my dislike of all things Liverpool. The most obnoxious kids in school were Liverpool fans and so were their parents.
 
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lysglimt

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It's a bit strange that they don't mention the real reason behind the Liverpool-Manchester rivary with a single word
 

Pretzels81

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From my experience, Liverpool fans can indeed get extremely unpleasant, using crude and agressive language, in other words, rabble.

Not to mention their delusions of grandeur for most of 1991-2019. Or manipulation, like pretending they've won the 2020 PL as champions of Europe (Atletico says "NO"). Or that they also won a "treble" in 2001...
 

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When we had the semi rivalry with Arsenal during the start of the century and their unbeated season I remember Henry ripping through the Liverpool defense and my dad being over the moon about it despite the fact we needed Arsenal to drop points. And I understand him now. Just f... hate the c...
 

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I've never bought the idea of the rivalry originating from disagreements around shipping. City and Everton don't hate each other in the same way, for instance. And if history was a significant driver, United would reserve their most bitter hatred for York City.

That being said, there's definitely anti-scouse and anti-Mancunian feelings in each city. But that kind of dislike exists in every pair of neighbouring towns throughout the country. It's pretty much impossible to find a town/city that doesn't hate the next one over.

The antipathy between Manchester United FC and Liverpool FC is mostly because of the century old sporting competition between the two, with us beating them 20-19 at the moment. As much as I like the idea of weaving in a grander historical narrative, I just don't see it. Football fans don't think that way.

Supporters hate the teams closest to them in terms of geography and competition. And the cnutish of their fans, of course. It's as straightforward as that, imo.

But, yeah, feck those knobheads.
 

Eckers99

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I've never bought the idea of the rivalry originating from disagreements around shipping. City and Everton don't hate each other in the same way, for instance. And if history was a significant driver, United would reserve their most bitter hatred for York City.

That being said, there's definitely anti-scouse and anti-Mancunian feelings in each city. But that kind of dislike exists in every pair of neighbouring towns throughout the country. It's pretty much impossible to find a town/city that doesn't hate the next one over.

The antipathy between Manchester United FC and Liverpool FC is mostly because of the century old sporting competition between the two, with us beating them 20-19 at the moment. As much as I like the idea of weaving in a grander historical narrative, I just don't see it. Football fans don't think that way.

Supporters hate the teams closest to them in terms of geography and competition. And the cnutish of their fans, of course. It's as straightforward as that, imo.

But, yeah, feck those knobheads.
Yeah, from speaking to fans who lived through the post-war era, there wasn't a massive rivalry between the clubs through to the mid-60s. It was only when Liverpool's dominance started in the early 70s, coinciding with the massive rise in match going hooliganism, that the genuine hatred started. This continued through the rest of their glory days and was cemented by our dominance from the early 90s.
 

711

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I lived in Liverpool in the' early 70s and had no problem as a United fan, it was just a normal rivalry. By the late 70s it was changing to hatred, fortunately I'd moved by then. The heart of it was our resentment of Liverpool's success, and Liverpool's fury at our insistence that we were the bigger club. 'but we've won blah blah', yeah, but we're the bigger club. Come Fergie and it was their turn to resent us for our success. We were still the bigger club of course. :)

The ship canal is historically true but not relevant. The American civil war was another one, Manchester supported the North, Liverpool the South, with Liverpool paying reparations at the end of it. That wouldn't be relevant to the 70s/80s either, which was football.
 

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Isn't the gist of it, that they're all horrible scumbags and we're the only ones who dare to stand up to them?
 

TsuWave

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The American civil war was another one, Manchester supported the North, Liverpool the South, with Liverpool paying reparations at the end of it. That wouldn't be relevant to the 70s/80s either, which was football.
I did not know this.
 

Inigo Montoya

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From my perspective, they were the worst for the 'Munich,' chants and aeroplane gestures. But that was during my childhood when the hatred became really bad. Prior to that the rivalry existed. I remember a friend of mine,growing up in Manchester he told me there was a painted sign on the motorway bridge entering Manchester(Trafford) that read,' All Scousers Die Here.' In Liverpool, their cops used to turn a blind eye to continuing assaults on our fans, especially coming out of the train station.

I suppose the arrogance of their fans did contribute to the continuing hatred during their successes but we repaid it back later...big time!

However I'd have to say that Leeds were the worst for abuse at OT
 

Random Task

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This is where the rivalry originated from:

The Liverpool–Manchester rivalry is a rivalry that exists between the English cities of Manchester and Liverpool. The cities have many similarities and differences, which have intensified the rivalry, and both lie at the heart of North West England — the most populated region outside of the Greater London area in the United Kingdom.[9]

The rivalry is understood to have ignited after the construction of the Manchester Ship Canal. Manchester merchants became disenchanted with the level of dues they had to pay to export and import their goods. Consequently the Mancunian merchants decided to construct a ship canal. The Ship Canal would become the largest in the world upon opening in January 1894 and highlighted the length the merchants were prepared to take to avoid paying dues.[10]

Both cities remain rivals, but with a relationship that is steadily improving; natives of both cities have cited a belief that keeping Liverpool and Manchester strong is in the best interests of the whole North West. In 2011, the Financial Times stated that the North West economy—led by the redevelopment of both cities—is a formidable rival to that of "overheated London".[11] Manchester openly supported Liverpool in its years-long bid to become the European Capital of Culture,[12][13] which it finally achieved in 2008 and which would come to be credited with massively reviving the city and its reputation.

wiki link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liverpool–Manchester_Megalopolis
 

Inigo Montoya

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This is where the rivalry originated from:

The Liverpool–Manchester rivalry is a rivalry that exists between the English cities of Manchester and Liverpool. The cities have many similarities and differences, which have intensified the rivalry, and both lie at the heart of North West England — the most populated region outside of the Greater London area in the United Kingdom.[9]

The rivalry is understood to have ignited after the construction of the Manchester Ship Canal. Manchester merchants became disenchanted with the level of dues they had to pay to export and import their goods. Consequently the Mancunian merchants decided to construct a ship canal. The Ship Canal would become the largest in the world upon opening in January 1894 and highlighted the length the merchants were prepared to take to avoid paying dues.[10]

Both cities remain rivals, but with a relationship that is steadily improving; natives of both cities have cited a belief that keeping Liverpool and Manchester strong is in the best interests of the whole North West. In 2011, the Financial Times stated that the North West economy—led by the redevelopment of both cities—is a formidable rival to that of "overheated London".[11] Manchester openly supported Liverpool in its years-long bid to become the European Capital of Culture,[12][13] which it finally achieved in 2008 and which would come to be credited with massively reviving the city and its reputation.

wiki link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liverpool–Manchester_Megalopolis
feck me, and there I was believing it was footy!
 

Random Task

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feck me, and there I was believing it was footy!
I guess the rivalry extended to football, among other things, but it came about after the Manchester shipping lane was constructed. My grandad talked about it often before he passed on.
 

Irwin99

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The rivalry between the fans is intense but, although the history of the fixture has the most red cards in prem history I believe, I've always felt that there's never been many occasions where the matches themselves have turned really ugly. The Evra-Suarez incident is the obvious exception but I never felt there was a real hatred on the pitch like there was between United vs Arsenal. I do think there was probably more respect among the players but maybe i'm wrong.
 

Inigo Montoya

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I guess the rivalry extended to football, among other things, but it came about after the Manchester shipping lane was constructed. My grandad talked about it often before he passed on.
There's been city rivalry through the Industrial Revolution most certainly but the football rivalry descended into pure hatred around the time Liverpool becoming a real force in the 70's and Utd's decline when Sir Matt retired. Taunting from both sides and jealousy have played a part as has the fact that even during Liverpool's success, Utd still had the greater global following
 

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I get the rivalry, with its background in history and football; but I find it sad how deep it goes for people (on both sides), especially for people that aren't even from the area. Most people outside the UK probably started supporting Liverpool of United just because the EPL is on tv and they are the biggest clubs. But why buy into the entire cult? What's it to them to get so worked up about it? I mean, I once worked with a guy from Sri Lanka who supported United and 'therefore' hated Liverpool. Sure, he can partake in the rivalry online and with any Liverpool-supporting friends; but 'hate'?!

I would believe the canal does have a role in the origins of the rivalry btw. People nowadays don't think about that anymore obviously, but over the generations, people kept growing up with an antipathy that had its origins (among other things) in that event. People just fill in the reason with whatever they can think of (like, confirmation bias that all Scousers/Mancunian are clearly idiots), but it has to start somewhere.
 

GeorgieBoy

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You need to be from the area to really understand it.
I’m not sure I agree. Maybe for the Manchester Derby but not for this rivalry as much.
I’m local to Manchester and can probably count on one hand the number of Liverpool supporters I regularly come across.

United fans from Dublin/London etc will probably have it far worse given there will be a lot more of them to have to put up with.
 

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The main reason why this rivalry exists is because Manchester United and Liverpool are the two most successful clubs in England.

All this talk about canals is just nonsense. Football fans don’t care about that stuff.
 

11101

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The main reason why this rivalry exists is because Manchester United and Liverpool are the two most successful clubs in England.

All this talk about canals is just nonsense. Football fans don’t care about that stuff.
No, but that's part of why it's been ingrained in us by our parents, who had that in turn from their own parents and so on.

In addition to all the above, we also dont like them because through much of our childhood if it wasnt nailed down, a scouser would nick it.
 

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It doesn't even have to be about football. It's just scousers. The city, the people, the accent, their attitude and everything they stand for. It just makes you sick (I'm not even from Manchester).
 

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Any link to that?
Having trouble with that sorry, but I'm not a historian, I just remember bits and pieces I've read over the years.

https://www.workersliberty.org/story/2011/05/08/manchester-and-liverpool-american-civil-war
This indicates Britain paid reparations for ships sunk by the Birkenhead-built Alabama, but that's not what I was thinking of, I once read that after the war the US would not licence cotton exports to Liverpool until Liverpool itself paid reparations for supporting the South. Then again I can't find reference to it now, so I may have misunderstood.

The gist of it is that Manchester sold manufactured goods and tools to the booming cities of the North, whereas Liverpool imported huge quantities of cotton from the South for the mills of Lancashire, which spun it and weaved most of the world's cotton cloth, and Liverpool then exported that, so there were economic reasons for the split.

The people of the Lancashire mill towns were split again, being out of work and starving with the cotton mills shut there was impetus to support the South, but Lancashire was also a hotbed of religious idealism and socialism, so was opposed to slavery, and despite their condition the workers supported the North.
 

MoskvaRed

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The main reason why this rivalry exists is because Manchester United and Liverpool are the two most successful clubs in England.

All this talk about canals is just nonsense. Football fans don’t care about that stuff.
Yes, this ship canal theory is an unconvincing attempt to lend socio-economic gravitas to football matters. The rivalry did not get toxic until the 1970s by which time the ports of Liverpool and Salford were basically dead anyway. The reasons are (1) the two cities are near neighbours, (2) they are the two most successful clubs in the country with the biggest global followings and (most importantly) (3) since the 60s, they have never enjoyed success in parallel, meaning one lot has always felt aggrieved while the other lot is gloating.
 

Mr. MUJAC

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There's been city rivalry through the Industrial Revolution most certainly but the football rivalry descended into pure hatred around the time Liverpool becoming a real force in the 70's and Utd's decline when Sir Matt retired. Taunting from both sides and jealousy have played a part as has the fact that even during Liverpool's success, Utd still had the greater global following
This plus the rise of hoolliganism.

There was the odd issue between the clubs right after the war but nothing serious. In the 1960's we had more rivalry with Leeds United than Liverpool who were in the Second Division for the first part of the decade.

The last direct transfer was 1964 and nothing since at first team level. It really started in the 1970's, particularly the last part of the 1970's.
 

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I remember when it was just rivalry like you would have with any other big club.
I'ld say after we got promoted in 75 it started to get toxic.
I recall Ron Akinson say United / Pool was like Vietnam.
Every club has a cnutish cohort amongst its support but they seem to have the largest cohort of cnuts anywhere.
Vermin.
 

.Phil1968

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Growing up in a Salford family with a dad and grandad who were United mad there was always a hatred of that lot down the East Lancs. The huge success they enjoyed in the 70s and 80s increased the hatred but it was their incessant Munich jibes alongside city and Leeds which made us despise the bastards.
Aeroplane gestures, paper planes with Munich written on the side, sick songs at a time when Sir Matt was still alive and could see and hear it. He'd also captained them before the war too which seemed to evade their intelligence.
 

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Great documentary on last night about history of Liverpool, taking in their dominance from 80 & 90s all way through to 2020.

Latter part captures just how hard it was for them to compete with Ferguson, and Klopps title win last season

 

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I just couldn't care about canals etc - just 'hate' anything having to do with the 'chickens' !! :lol:
 

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There had always been banter between the rival fans which occasionally got out of hand going back to the 60's/mid 70's, but it really escalated into pure hatred off the pitch in 1977 when Liverpool thought they'd only needed to turn up at Wembley for the FA Cup final to complete the 2nd part of their Historical treble but United had other ideas and United fans couldn't help remind them about Wembley at every match going forward, as we were entitled too, that and the press saying that whilst Liverpool were ruthlessly efficient, read boring, United were everybodies favourite 2nd team as we were the entertainers ....

Then Mr Stanley made his debut, and the rest is History.