Boffins reveal football's biggest rivalry .... Is it Man Utd v Man City, Liverpool v Everton, Arsenal v Spurs, Newcastle v Sunderland? You'll be surprised...

It's a rivalry that dates back more than hundred years.

Onw that even today divides the closest of friends, families and workmates - at least for 90 minutes.

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But according to a new survey of fans, the biggest football rivalry is not between Sunderland and Newcastle - or even the Reds and Blues of Merseyside and Manchester - but West Brom and Wolves.

The Midlands clubs have the most keen rivalry of any other football neighbours south of the border, followed by the 'Old Farm' pairing of Ipswich and Norwich, the survey of 6,000 supporters revealed.

The Tyne-Wear derby scraped into the top ten at number nine, just behind Bristol City and Bristol Rovers and one above Brighton and Crystal Palace. The Tees-Wear derby did not even make it into the top 30.

Superfan Gary "Sunderland AFC" Lamb, from Seaham, told the Echo he couldn't believe the survey.

He said: "I don't know who's responsible for the survey, but they clearly haven't been to a Tyne-Wear derby.

"Apart from maybe Celtic-Rangers, we've got the biggest derby in the country, there's nothing that compares to it. It's complete nonsense."

Elsewhere in the survey, Liverpool and Manchester United came in as the third biggest grudge match, with Tottenham and Arsenal at 17th and Liverpool and Everton at 19th.

The 'Football Rivalries Report 2008', produced by The New Football Pools, owners of Littlewoods, combines an indepth survey of all 92 League clubs in England and Wales and a statistical analysis of club records and histories, to uncover the reasons why fans harbour such bitterness and jealousy towards each other.

Baggies' and Wolves' fans were deemed to have the most intense rivalry in the report, with one in four fans from both clubs claiming that their rivalry went much deeper than football.

Manchester United are still the club fans love to hate - with 12% of fans of English teams seeing the Old Trafford club as their main rival.

Arsenal fans felt that Manchester United were a bigger rival to them than local foes Tottenham Hotspur, whilst Manchester United overlooked their neighbours Manchester City, in favour of picking Liverpool as their biggest competitor.

Jon Sheehy, marketing director for The New Football Pools, which also own Vernons and Zetters Football Pools, said: "Football is based on competitive rivalry between clubs, regions and fans.

"A surprising aspect to our report is the extent to which 'local' rivalries are in decline.

"It's a sign of the modern game, with greater media coverage, when fans are overlooking their near-neighbour as rivals, in favour of a club which plays over 200 miles away."

The survey said the top 10 biggest rivalries were:

1 West Bromwich Albion and Wolverhampton Wanderers

2 Ipswich Town and Norwich City

3 Liverpool and Manchester United

4 Portsmouth and Southampton

5 Cardiff City and Swansea City

6 Aston Villa and Birmingham City

7 Sheffield United and Sheffield Wednesday

8 Bristol City and Bristol Rovers

9 Newcastle United and Sunderland

10 Brighton and Crystal Palace