Premier League – Shmmemier League, if you’re here reading this article you know as well as I do that League One is where the real football is played in this country.
It’s about the love of the game, not about the money or flashy transfers. What is more exciting than League One derby days where two rivals face-off to bring home bragging rights for the rest of the season? Not much in my opinion!
So, let’s get into this season’s best League One derby days but first, here are some keys dates for League One fans this year…
League One key dates
- The League One season kicks off on Saturday 7th August 2021
- Carabao Cup Round One starts on Tuesday 10th August 2021
- Papa John’s Trophy starts on Tuesday 24th August 2021
- Carabao Cup Final is scheduled for Sunday 27th February 2022
- Papa John’s Trophy final is on Sunday 3rd April 2022
- League One season final weekend is 30th April/1st May 2022
- League One Play-Off Final – Saturday 21st May 2022
Sheffield Wednesday vs Doncaster Rovers
The first of three South Yorkshire derbies sees Sheffield take on Doncaster in the second game of the season. It’s not a fierce rivalry, however, the close proximity between the two teams will have them both scrapping for a win. They haven’t faced each other since 2014 where Doncaster secured a 1-0 win at home. Doncaster have actually got the better of Sheffield Wednesday the last five times they’ve met. So, Sheffield Wednesday will want to buck this trend and get the season off to a good start.
Sheffield Wednesday vs Doncaster Rovers – Saturday 14th August 15:00
Doncaster Rovers vs Sheffield Wednesday – Saturday 19th February 15:00
Sheffield Wednesday vs Rotherham
Sheffield are set for two derby weekends in a row as they take on Rotherham the week after Doncaster. Wednesday fans refer to Rotherham as a ‘toy town’ which usually sparks the Rotherham fan’s chant of:
‘We only hate Sheffield Wednesday,
Hate Sheffield Wednesday
Hate Sheffield Wednesday
We only hate Sheffield Wednesday’
Overall, Sheffield have won 20 games to Rotherham’s 14 wins. However, Rotherham won both times the teams played each other in the Championship last season. Each side will be looking to snatch the three points in their attempts to bounce back into the Championship League this season.
Rotherham vs Sheffield Wednesday – Saturday 21st August 13:00
Sheffield Wednesday vs Rotherham – Saturday 12th February 15:00
Doncaster vs Rotherham
Rotherham also have two derby games on the trot as they face Doncaster the week after Sheffield. Following advice from the South Yorkshire Police, the clash has been bought forward to the earlier kick-off time of 13:00 in the hope to calm tensions (aka less beer time) before the match.
Across all of the South Yorkshire derbies in this list, Doncaster and Rotherham have played the most. They’ve played a total of 86 times with Rotherham coming out on top 41 times to Donny’s 23. They will add three more matches to that total this season as they play each other in the first round of the Papa John’s Trophy as well as the league matches.
There’s not much separating the two teams in recent clashes, so it’s all to play for. Just watch the highlights from a 2019 match above to get a sense of the type of game this could be, talk about end to end!
Rotherham vs Doncaster Rovers – Saturday 28th August 13:00
Doncaster Rovers vs Rotherham – Tuesday 7th September 19:00 (Papa John’s Trophy)
Doncaster Rovers vs Rotherham – Saturday 8th January 15:00
Fleetwood Town vs Morecambe
The first of two Lancashire derbies is Fleetwood Town vs Morecambe. Both towns are located on the west coast of the county, separated by only 20 miles. They haven’t faced each other very much over the years, with their first clash not coming to fruition until 2012 in which Fleetwood smashed their opponents 4-0. Fleetwood have won a total of four to Morecambe’s 2 victories. So, Morecambe will be looking to win both matches this season to even things up.
74% of Fleetwood fans consider Morecombe their rivals. So, I think it’s safe to say that there will be a lot of passion and volume coming from the crowds when these two face off this season.
Fleetwood Town vs Morecambe – Saturday 20th November 15:00
Morecambe vs Fleetwood Town – Saturday 18th December 15:00
Accrington Stanley vs Morecambe
Accrington Stanley – WHO ARE THEY?! Well, it turns out they are Morecambe’s fiercest Lancashire rivals. There are only around 30 miles separating the towns which will ensure packed stadiums in both home and away sections. That should result in a great atmosphere for both matches.
The teams haven’t played since the 2017/18 season in which Morecambe lost both fixtures. However, Morecambe are freshly promoted this season and will be looking to prove a point to their rivals and the rest of the League that they deserve their spot in League One.
Morecambe vs Accrington Stanley – Saturday 25th September 15:00
Accrington Stanley vs Morecambe – Saturday 29th January 15:00
Oxford United vs Wycombe Wanderers: The M40 Derby
This derby isn’t steeped in history. However, Since Wycombe were promoted from non-league football and began playing Oxford in the 90’s, a healthy rivalry has been simmering due to the fact that the two teams are only separated by 23 miles of British motorway.
Oxford will still be bitter from the last time the two sides met and will want to get one back against Wycombe. They lost 1-0 in a 2020 League One play-off match and Wycombe went on to get promoted. Oxford finished 6th last season and will be trying their best to finish in the automatic qualifying spots this year. After struggling in the Championship, Wycombe are back in League one and fighting for promotion once again.
Oxford United vs Wycombe Wanderers – Saturday 11th September 15:00
Wycombe Wanderers vs Oxford United – Saturday 15th January 15:00
Milton Keynes Dons vs Wycombe Wanderers: The Buckinghamshire Derby
This derby was born out of geographical proximity with the two teams playing each other for the first time in December, 2006. Since then, the Dons have won five to Wymcombes three victories. This time around Wycombe has the slight advantage as they are coming off the back of a season playing at a higher standard (although they found Championship football difficult). However, the last time the two teams played the Dons won 2-0 and dominated the possession.
The recent form of both clubs is nothing special and evenly split. So, there’s no guessing who could come out on top this time. Fans will be hoping their side comes out on top so they have bragging rights against their friends and family members on the opposite side of this local derby. Finally, there’s a chance for a best out of three situation with Milton Keynes and Wycombe also facing off in the group stages of the Papa John’s Cup.
Milton Keynes Dons vs Wycombe Wanderers – Saturday 25th September 15:00
Milton Keynes Dons vs Wycombe Wanderers – Tuesday 5th October 19:00 (Papa John’s Cup)
Wycombe Wanderers vs Milton Keynes Dons – Saturday 29th January 15:00
AFC Wimbledon vs Charlton Athletic: South London Derby
Wimbledon vs Charlton is League One’s only London derby. The two South London rivals get ready to play each other again in the Carabao Cup on the 10th August. The last fixture between these two teams was an entertaining battle that ended in a 2-2 draw at Plough Lane. The game before that saw Charlton smash Wimbledon 5-2 at home. So, if last season is anything to go by, Wimbledon and Charlton fans should be in for a fantastic game of football!
Charlton finished strong last season in 7th spot and will be looking to snatch all the points they can to make it into the playoff spots. Wimbledon on the other hand, struggled to find their form all season finishing two spots above the relegation zone in 19th. Who knows where the two teams will be come boxing day when they face off in their first league match against each other. What’s for certain is that it will be a Boxing day derby match to remember for the fans.
Charlton Athletic vs AFC Wimbledon – Tuesday 10th August 19:45 (Carabao Cup)
AFC Wimbledon vs Charlton Athletic – Sunday 26th December 15:00
Charlton Athletic vs AFC Wimbledon – Saturday 5th February 15:00
Bolton Wanderers vs Wigan Athletic
The Bolton vs Wigan North-West derby has been labelled as the most competitive local derby in English football in a recent study by Paddy Power. There’s nothing separating the teams and they’ve been going tit for tat since their first matchup in 1983. Both sides have 17 wins with a further 13 matches ending in a draw.
Wigan will be going in with confidence as they won 5-2 in the last fixture between the two sides. However, that was two seasons ago and Bolton are coming off the back of a season where they dominated League Two finishing up in 3rd spot for automatic qualification.
Bolton Wanderers vs Wigan Atheltic – Saturday 16th October 15:00
Wigan Athletic vs Bolton Wanderers – Saturday 2nd April 15:00
Plymouth Argyle vs Portsmouth: The Dockyard Derby
If geographical proximity is a prerequisite for a game to be considered a derby, then Plymouth vs Portsmouth probably doesn’t count. However, ever since Portsmouth swiped Norman Piper (an Agyle wonder boy) in 1970, the media has dubbed this match up ‘The Dockyard Derby’ or ‘The Battle of The Ports’. I think the catchy title, rather than animosity between fans and players has kept this rivalry going. However, the fact the two cities have naval bases, and that they have battled for promotion in recent years, does add fuel to the fire. Personally, I’m all for it!
The history of these two clubs playing each other goes back to 1921 when they were in Division Three (South). Over the years, it’s been pretty even, with 28 wins going to Portsmouth, 25 wins to Plymouth and 16 draws. Both games last season finished as a 2-2 draw so each side will be hoping to snatch the three points this year and pip the other to the playoff spots.
Portsmouth vs Plymouth Argyle – Monday 6th September 19:45
Plymouth Argyle vs Portsmouth – Wednesday 29th December 19:45
Final thoughts on the best League One derby days 2021/22
Regardless of whether you are a die hard fan of one of the teams listed in this article or if you are a neutral fan, all League One fans are in for some interesting derby days this seasons. While all of these matchups are likely to produce entertaining games with lots of passion, my top three to pay special attention to would be:
- The South London Derby – AFC Wimbledon vs Charlton Athletic
- The most competitive local derby in English football – Bolton Wanderers vs Wigan Athletic
- The South Yorkshire Derby – Sheffield Wednesday vs Rotherham
Get them in your diaries and get to the match (or find a way to watch it), you won’t regret it!
Jake Hughes is a freelance writer who specialises in sports, online marketing and DeFi. He is also the Content Marketing Manager for Ticket-Compare. If you want to find League One match tickets at great prices, head over to our site now. Don’t miss your chance to watch one of the most exciting leagues in the world LIVE!