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Derby County F.C.–Nottingham Forest F.C. rivalry

Football matches held between Derby County and Nottingham Forest are often called the East Midlands derby, the A52 derby or the Nottingham Forest-Derby derby (The square of all derbies), and there is a fierce rivalry between the two East Midlands clubs.

East Midlands derby
LocaleEngland East Midlands
TeamsDerby County, Nottingham Forest
First meetingDerby County 2–3 Nottingham Forest
1892–93 First Division
(1 October 1892)
Latest meetingNottingham Forest 1-0 Derby County
EFL Championship
(25 February 2019)
Next meetingNottingham Forest v Derby County
EFL Championship
(9 November 2019)
StadiumsPride Park Stadium
City Ground
Meetings total104
All-time seriesDerby County: 38
Drawn: 26
Nottingham Forest: 40
Largest victoryDerby County 5–0 Nottingham Forest
Derby County 5–0 Nottingham Forest
(22 March 2014)
Longest win streakNottingham Forest (5)
Longest unbeaten streakDerby County (9)

According to a survey on football rivalries it is the 11th fiercest rivalry in English football, with 9 out of 10 fans from both clubs pointing to the other as their fiercest rival.[1] Since 2007 whenever the two teams meet the winner has been awarded the Brian Clough Trophy, in memory of Brian Clough, the man who had great success at both clubs. The inaugural match was held at Derby's Pride Park in July 2007 which the host team won 2–0. Forest are the current holders, having regained the trophy after defeating Derby 1–0 at the City Ground on 25 February 2019.



Comparative chart of yearly League positions of County and Forest.

The first competitive fixture was held on 1 October 1892 at the Racecourse Ground in the Football League Division One, and saw Nottingham Forest win 3–2. Although the clubs are rivals due to their geographical proximity, the rivalry grew even more intense towards the late 1970s when Brian Clough was appointed Forest manager, much to the dismay of the Derby support – in fact some commentators have described the rivalry to be as much about which club owns Clough's heart as much as the proximity of the clubs geographically.[2]

On 2 November 2008, referee Stuart Attwell became the centre of attention when he disallowed two Derby goals in the final few minutes and booked eight players and issued a straight red card to Forest midfielder Lewis McGugan.[3] Derby boss Paul Jewell was especially vocal in his dismay at Attwell's performance, accusing the 25-year-old official of 'losing control' of the game and 'robbing' the Rams of a victory.[4] The press furore around his display[5][6] saw Attwell called in for a meeting with Referee's Chief Keith Hackett[7] and was consequently axed from the following week's fixture list.[8] Days after the game Jewell said that a member of the Football Association had contacted him and told him that the second goal should have stood.[9]

Animosity between the clubs grew even further with the appointment of former Derby manager Billy Davies at Forest in December 2009, along with the signing of several former Derby players in Lee Camp, Robert Earnshaw and Dexter Blackstock, and the appointment of Nigel Clough as Derby manager, along with the signing of former-Forest favourite Kris Commons at Pride Park. Two fractious FA Cup ties, including one in which Derby came from 2–0 down to win 3–2 and win at the City Ground for the first time since 1971, did not help matters and Robbie Savage's post-match scarf waving did not endear him to the Forest support.[10] Following a match on 29 August 2009, in which Forest won 5–2 to secure their first victory over Derby in 6½ years, a post-match scuffle broke out between the Derby and Forest players after Nathan Tyson, in reaction to Savage's scarf waving the previous season, celebrated in front of the Derby County fans with a corner flag that had the Nottingham Forest logo on it, an incident the FA said it would investigate with some 'urgency'[11] the end result of which saw both club's fined for failing to control their players and Tyson charged with improper conduct.[12] Derby was fined £20,000, of which £10,000 was suspended, and ordered to pay £400 costs; Nottingham Forest was fined £25,000, of which £10,000 was suspended, and ordered to pay £1,200 costs; and Tyson was fined £5,000.[13] A second brawl broke out during the return fixture in January 2010 after Chris Gunter and Jay McEveley clashed when the latter refused to give up the ball for a Forest throw-in. The FA announced it would investigate the brawl[14] whilst former Derby manager Billy Davies claimed that Nigel Clough had "attacked" him during the melee and made a formal complaint to the League Managers' Association.[15] The fixture also saw sendings off in four consecutive fixtures from January 2011; two for Derby (Dean Moxey and Frank Fielding) and two for Forest (Marcus Tudgay and Dexter Blackstock, both former Derby players).

Head to head recordEdit

Major competitionsEdit

The clubs have met 100 times in all major competitions, 90 times in the Football League, eight times in the FA Cup and once in the League Cup.

Competition Played Derby County Draw Nottingham Forest Derby County
Nottingham Forest
League 91 34 24 36 142 136
FA Cup 8 4 2 2 12 8
League Cup 1 0 0 1 1 2
Totals 100 38 26 39 155 146

Minor competitionsEdit

There have also been a further 25 meetings in various minor competitions of varying importance. The majority of these have come in Wartime competitions, such as the Wartime Cup and the regionalised Football Leagues, set up during World War I and World War II to keep football running during the conflicts. There was also one meeting in the Anglo-Italian Cup.

Competition Played Derby County Draw Nottingham Forest Derby County
Nottingham Forest
Anglo-Italian Cup 1 1 0 0 3 2
Football League (N) 6 3 1 2 15 12
Football League (S) 2 1 1 0 4 3
Midland Section 4 1 0 3 7 13
United Central League 4 2 1 1 6 2
VE Celebration Match 1 0 1 0 2 2
VJ Celebration Match 1 1 0 0 4 1
Football League War Cup 6 3 2 1 10 8
Totals 25 12 6 7 53 43

All competitionsEdit

Competition Played Derby County Draw Nottingham Forest Derby County
Nottingham Forest
Major Competitions 100 38 23 39 150 146
Minor Competitions 25 12 6 7 53 43
Totals 125 50 29 46 202 189

The last ten seasons (2007–08 to present)Edit

Forest's relegation from the Championship in the 2004–05 season meant that the two clubs didn't meet again until the 2008–09 season, following Derby's relegation from the top flight and Forest's promotion from the third tier in the previous season, with the club's meeting four times due to contesting an FA Cup 4th round fixture. Derby remained unbeaten through the four games, with both meetings at Pride Park (including the FA Cup 4th Round tie) ending 1–1, and Derby winning both fixtures (including the FA Cup fourth round replay) at the City Ground, their first victories there since 1971.

The 2011–12 season saw Derby claim a first league double in the fixture since 1972 when on their way to winning the League title, with the City Ground meeting seeing Derby recover from being a man and goal down after 5 minutes to win 2–1 at the City Ground before Jake Buxton's stoppage timer winner earned a 1–0 win in the second match. Derby's dominance in the fixture continued into the 2012–13 season as yet another City Ground victory, their fourth victory in six trips to the stadium; it was also the first time Derby had beaten Forest in three consecutive meetings for over 100 years.[16] Forest ended their run of defeats by drawing 1–1 at Pride Park in the reverse fixture. 2013–14 saw each team claim a home victory with the losing manager getting the sack immediately afterwards. Forest won 1–0 in September, costing Derby boss Nigel Clough his job and Derby's 5–0 thrashing of Forest at Pride Park in March 2014 cost Billy Davies his job along with equalling the record margin of victory in the fixture's history. The next meeting ended in a 2–1 victory for Nottingham Forest at Pride Park in January 2015.[17] In March 2017, the match held at the City Ground was tied 2–2, leaving Derby to retain the cup after their 3–0 victory at the iPro Stadium in December 2016. In October 2017, Derby County beat Forest 2-0, with goals from Matej Vydra in the first minute and Dave Nugent, 5 minutes into the second half.

The total record over the past 10 seasons reads –

Competition Played Derby County Draw Nottingham Forest Derby
Football League 17 9 3 5 28 18
FA Cup 2 1 1 0 4 3
Totals 19 10 4 6 32 21

Crossing the divideEdit

Since World War II some 30 players have played for both clubs, the majority of these moves coming in the 1970s/80s. The most famous individual to have represented both clubs, however, is unquestionably the man regarded as the greatest manager in the history of both – Brian Clough.


The first man to be involved in management at both clubs was Harold Wightman. A player with Derby between 1919 and 1927, Wightman was assistant at Derby under George Jobey and was later appointed Forest manager between 1936 and 1939. Peter Taylor followed a similar path, he was assistant manager at both Derby and Forest, becoming Derby's full manager in 1982.

The first man to be the actual manager at both clubs was Dave Mackay. Mackay, who managed Forest between 1972 and 1973, joined Derby in 1973 as the replacement for the man who would eventually become the second man to manage both clubs Brian Clough. Mackay won the First Division title for Derby in 1974–75, which was Derby's second First Division title in four seasons.

Brian Clough managed Derby County between June 1967 and October 1973, winning the Second Division title to gain promotion in 1968–69, and winning the First Division title in 1971–72. This was followed up by a controversial European Cup semi final loss to Juventus during the 1972–73 season. Clough joined Nottingham Forest in January 1975, following spells with Brighton and the famous 44 days in charge at Leeds Utd. Clough took over from Mackay's initial replacement Allan Brown, with Forest struggling in the Second Division. In 1977–78, Forest won the First Division title in their first season after gaining promotion from the Second Division, having won the League Cup earlier in the 1977–78 season. In 1978–79, Forest retained the League Cup and won the European Cup. 1979–80 saw Forest narrowly miss out on winning a third League Cup in a row, as they lost to Wolves in the final, but they did retain the European Cup. Forest won 2 more League Cups later on in Clough's managerial reign. Clough won the First Division with both Forest and Derby, becoming the first man to win it with two different clubs since Herbert Chapman. He left the club in 1993.

On 31 December 2008, it was announced Billy Davies was to become the new manager at Forest. Davies had been out of work following his dismissal at Derby in November 2007, making him the third man to manage both clubs. Steve McClaren became the fourth man to manage both sides when he took the role of Head Coach at Derby in October 2013. He had previously managed Nottingham Forest for 112 days in 2011.


Since the Second World War some 30 different players have represented both Derby and Forest. The majority of these movements came in the 1970s/80s, when Clough signed many of his former Derby players for his new club Forest. However, the first notable move was Scottish left winger Stewart Imlach who, after an unsuccessful spell at Derby in the 1954–55 season signed for Forest for a fee of £5,000 in 1955. He went on to play in the Forest side that beat Luton Town in the 1959 FA Cup Final.

The next direct transfer between the two clubs was Alan Hinton. Hinton spent four years at Forest between 1963 and 1967 before Clough signed him for £30,000. Forest had seen Hinton as a fairly uninspiring player and a number of Forest directors were known to have smugly put it about that Derby would "soon be asking for their money back". They were proved wrong when Hinton played 253 times for the Rams over the next 8 years, scoring 63 goals and winning two League Titles. Other Forest to Derby transfers in the late 60s/early 70s saw Terry Hennessey and Henry Newton join Derby directly from Forest and Frank Wignall make the move with a spell with Wolves in between. All of these players made telling contributions to Derby's regular triumphs from 1969 to 1975.

Following Clough's move to Forest in 1975 he signed many of his former Derby players for the Reds. Both John O'Hare and John McGovern initially followed Clough to Leeds in 1974 before joining him at Forest, twice lifting the European Cup. Archie Gemmill joined Forest directly from Derby in 1977 and Colin Todd joined Forest in 1982, four years after leaving the Rams. What is notable about the Gemmill transfer is he rejoined Derby in 1982 (3 years after ending his term with Forest) becoming the only player to resign for one side of the divide after playing for the other, on a full term basis at least. Charlie George, a Mackay signing who played for Derby between 1975 and 1978, joined Forest on loan from Southampton in 1980, before re-signing for Derby for 11 games in 1982.

Going in the other direction, three of Forest's European Cup winners joined Derby. The most famous is Peter Shilton who left Forest for Southampton in 1982 and joined Derby for a five-year spell between 1987 and 1992. The most infamous was John Robertson. Robertson was signed by Peter Taylor in 1983 in a highly contested transfer, which eventually went to tribunal. Clough felt his old mate had pulled off an underhand deal, and the two former partners fell out, never to reconcile their differences before Taylor's death in Majorca in October 1990. The other former European Cup winning Red to join Derby was Kenny Burns, who spent a year at Derby between 1984 and 1985. All three of these players signed for Derby at a time when Forest's great successes were still fresh and the Rams were in the wilderness.

Since then there have been few high-profile players who have played for both clubs. Those who have include goalkeepers John Middleton, Steve Sutton and Lee Camp, defenders Gary Charles, Gary Mills and Darren Wassall, midfielders Steve Hodge, Glyn Hodges, Darryl Powell and Lars Bohinen and forwards Mikkel Beck, Dexter Blackstock and Dean Saunders. On 30 May 2008 Rob Earnshaw became the first player to move directly between the two clubs for 15 years (since Gary Charles in 1993) when he agreed to a £2.65m deal to join Forest from the Rams less than a year after moving to Pride Park. The move was followed three days later by Forest winger Kris Commons moving to Pride Park, though he was released by Forest first meaning he did not move directly between the two clubs. After rejecting a contract extension from Nottingham Forest in May 2011, striker Nathan Tyson joined Derby County in June 2011. In July 2015, former Derby forward Jamie Ward joined Forest on a free transfer having been released during the summer by Derby.


The following records are based solely on meeting in major competitions:

  • The record home victory in a league match is 5–0 recorded by Derby County at The Baseball Ground on 11 April 1898 and at Pride Park Stadium on 22 March 2014
  • The record away victory in a league match is 6–2 recorded by Nottingham Forest, again at the Baseball Ground, on 14 November 1903.
  • The highest scoring match saw 8 goals when Forest won 6–2 at the Baseball Ground on 14 November 1903.
  • Steve Bloomer of Derby County holds the mark for the most derby goals with 26 between 1892 and 1912.
  • Record Attendance: 62, 017 at Crystal Palace for the 1897–98 FA Cup Final on 16 April 1898, which Forest won 3–1.
  • Record League Attendance: 42, 074 at The City Ground on 14 March 1970, which Derby won 3–1.
  • Lowest Attendance: an estimated 3,000 at Baseball Ground on 20 April 1899, a match which Derby won 2–0.

League doublesEdit

There have been 16 seasons in which both league matches between Nottingham Forest and Derby County have been won by the same team, with forest completing nine doubles, to Derby's seven.

Season Division Double
Result at
Result at
1892–93 Division One (Old) Nottingham Forest 2–3 1–0
1893–94 Division One (Old) Nottingham Forest 3–4 4–2
1895–96 Division One (Old) Derby County 4–0 2–5
1897–98 Division One (Old) Derby County 5–0 3–4
1903–04 Division One (Old) Nottingham Forest 2–6 5–1
1904–05 Division One (Old) Derby County 3–2 0–1
1911–12 Division Two (Old) Derby County 1–0 1–3
1921–22 Division Two (Old) Nottingham Forest 1–2 3–0
1925–26 Division Two (Old) Derby County 2–0 1–2
1953–54 Division Two (Old) Nottingham Forest 1–2 4–2
1954–55 Division Two (Old) Nottingham Forest 1–2 3–0
1971–72 Division One (Old) Derby County 4–0 0–2
1987–88 Division One (Old) Nottingham Forest 0–1 2–1
1989–90 Division One (Old) Nottingham Forest 0–2 2–1
2010–11 Football League Championship Nottingham Forest 0–1 5–2
2011–12 Football League Championship Derby County 1–0 1–2
Derby County Nottingham Forest Derby
7 9 49 63

Brian Clough TrophyEdit

In 2007 it was decided that whenever the two teams played in the league or in a cup tie the Brian Clough Trophy, in memory of the man who had great success at both clubs, would be awarded to the winner. The inaugural match was held at Pride Park in July 2007 which Derby won 2–0. Forest's first trophy victory came after a 3–2 victory at the City Ground in August 2009. Nottingham Forest are the current holders following a 1–0 league victory at the City Ground in February 2019.


On 23 January 2009, the day of a Football League Championship (second tier) match at Pride Park Stadium, watched by more than 32,000 fans,[18] fans of two teams clashed at the Florence Nightingale public house in Derby, with Forest fans throwing two sheep's heads at Derbyshire pubs.[19] On 29 March 2010, six Forest fans and six Derby fans were found guilty at Derby Crown Court of offences linked to the incident. The ring leader of the fracas was 49-year-old Alvaston man Ian Innes, a Derby fan who led the attack on Forest fans in the pub; he received a 20-month prison sentence and a 10-year ban from all football matches in England and Wales.[20] His 25-year-old son Stephen was also convicted of taking part in the attack and received a one-year prison sentence along with a six-year nationwide banning order. The trial judge condemned Ian Innes as a "thorough and utter disgrace".[21] A fixture between the two in September 2012 saw 13 arrested, though the match itself passed without any serious incident.[22]


  1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 10 February 2012. Retrieved 17 December 2009.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link), Football Fever – Rivalries, accessed 9 April 2008
  2. ^ Hamilton, Duncan (11 January 2009). "Nigel Clough: father's pride". London. Retrieved 15 January 2010.
  3. ^ "Refs baffling display leaves Rams puzzled and angry after rousing end to clash". Derby Telegraph. Retrieved 4 November 2008.
  4. ^ "Rams were robbed of win – Jewell". BBC Sport. 3 November 2008. Retrieved 4 November 2008.
  5. ^ Lansley, Peter (3 November 2008). "Stuart Attwell decisions spark new storm". London. Retrieved 4 November 2008.
  6. ^ Poll, Graham (2 November 2008). "Headache for Hackett with new referees Attwell and Jones at the centre of attention". London. Retrieved 4 November 2008.
  7. ^ "Hackett to meet Attwell". Derby Telegraph. Retrieved 9 November 2013.
  8. ^ Lansley, Peter. "Referee Stuart Attwell axed after weekend blunders at Derby County". London. Retrieved 4 October 2008.
  9. ^ "Jewell – referees official rang to say late Miles goal was OK". Derby Telegraph. Retrieved 9 November 2013.
  10. ^ Moxley, Neil (3 September 2009). "Nottingham Forest 3 Derby County 2: Robbie Savage's fury over Nathan Tyson act". daily London. Retrieved 3 September 2009.
  11. ^ "Billy Davies says Forest's flag-waving Nathan Tyson 'did nothing wrong'". Guardian. 31 August 2009. Retrieved 9 November 2013.
  12. ^ "FA charges Nottm Forest and Derby". BBC Sport. 4 September 2009. Retrieved 3 January 2010.
  13. ^ "Derby County's good record counted in favour at hearing". Derby Telegraph. 23 October 2009.
  14. ^ "FA investigates Pride Park brawl". BBC Sport. 15 January 2010.
  15. ^ Taylor, Daniel (1 February 2010). "Nigel Clough expected to deny Billy Davies's claim of 'cowardly' assault". London. Retrieved 9 November 2013.
  16. ^ [1], NOTTINGHAM FOREST 0 – DERBY 1: CRAIG BRYSON ENJOYS FOREST OFF DAY, accessed 8 October 2011
  17. ^
  18. ^ Davis, Gareth (23 January 2009). "23 January 2009, Derby 1–1 Nottm Forest". Derby County F.C.
  19. ^ "Sheep heads thrown at pubs before cup clash". Nottingham Post. Retrieved 9 November 2013.
  20. ^ "Forest fans jailed after Derby pub brawl". Nottingham Post. 30 March 2010.
  21. ^ "Rams thug is branded as a 'disgrace' for leading fans in pub brawl". Derby Telegraph. 30 March 2010.
  22. ^ "13 arrested after Forest/Derby game". Nottingham Post. 2 October 2012.

External linksEdit