A survey conducted by the Football Fans Census showed Leeds United were cited as rivals by nine teams, putting us third overall in the list of teams with the most rivals. What quickly becomes apparent though is that none of these rivalries are reciprocal.

The list shows the top three cited rivals for each club, and whilst Bradford City place us first, we don’t count them in our top three at all despite the obvious geographical factor (the cities are almost inter-twined these days). Leeds fans still cite Premier League teams as our major rivals, which is consistent with my general feelings. In the five years we’ve been out of the Premier League, I’ve never disliked one team more than the next. I just want Leeds to beat them all.

I think there is a rivalry with Bradford City, but they have a much bigger dislike for us than we do them. It’s much like Notts County and Nottingham Forest. Whilst County list Forest as their biggest rival, Forest would tell you that there’s is Derby County. Infact, much like the Leeds and Bradford rivalry, Forest don’t list County in their top three at all despite the teams being seperated by about 5 metres.

It’s all down to success on the pitch. Although both Leeds and Forest are in the lower tiers at the minute, both have had highly successful periods in their history which the neighbours have had to watch enviously from afar.

Hull City follow suit with Bradford by citing us as their main rival, whilst both Sheffield teams but us second (behind each other). Barnsley, Huddersfield, Sunderland, Middlesbrough and Derby also place Leeds United within their top three.

Leeds United fans meanwhile put Manchester United as their biggest rival. Although Manchester United don’t include Leeds in their top three (Liverpool, Man City, Arsenal) this is probably down to our current league status.

The rivalry between these two clubs needs no introduction and a close friend of mine who holds a season ticket at Old Trafford (I’ve tried to make her see the error of her ways) tells me they still sing anti-Leeds songs to this day. The same is repeated at Elland Road where you’ll often hear how much Leeds “hate Manu, hate Manu”.

The rivalry between Leeds and Manchester is so well known, someone actually decided to add a Wikipedia page in its honour, citing the reasons why the two teams hate each other so passionately (War of the Roses, Hooliganism, Industrial revolution, Revie-Busby). It doesn’t suprise me to see us not feature in Manchester United’s top three. Why would we, when we’re currently two divisions below them? While we still hate them and the success they continue to have, they have no reason to be jealous of our misfortunes. It’s the equivalent of Bradford and Hull hating us.

Second on Leeds’ list is of course, Chelsea. Once upon a time, Chelsea would probably have been number one. The infamous grudge matches between the two sides whilst Revie was at the helm remain a talking point to this day and the hooliganism factor thereafter kept the two sides in the news for all the wrong reasons. 

Finally, in third place is Liverpool. This one suprised me a little, but that’s probably because I’ve never really minded them. For me, the mutual hatred of Manchester United makes us kindred spirits – albeit the kind of kindred spirits where they’ll steal your mobile phone whilst your not looking.

So, nine different teams citing us as rivals, none of which we care about too much and three teams we’ve cited that have totally forgotten we exist (“…we’re not famous anymore!”) I guess it’s hard to forget Leeds United however far we sink. First we’re voted the most hated club in the country, then we come third in a list of rivalries. Oh well, there’s no such thing as bad press I suppose.