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United’s fans are really Mancs

Robyn Hall

August 16, 2012

Rightmove’s research into where supporters of the 2012/13 Premier League teams live reveals the level of local – and not so local – support within top flight football

And while United might outclass City with its number local fans it also has the ‘least local’ fans with just 9% living in the same postcode are as Old Trafford.

Rightmove director Miles Shipside said: “Our study shows that when a Premier League club plays at home, that isn’t always the case for its fans.

“As major clubs like Manchester United have grown their national – and even international – fan base, the overall proportion of their fans living within the same postcode as the team’s home stadium has decreased.”

Rightmove also looked into the proportions of fans living ‘behind enemy lines’.

Some 5% of football fans in Manchester support Liverpool, and in Liverpool 4% of fans support either Man Utd or Man City

Measuring the level of local – and not so local – support in Premier League football Rightmove surveyed over 13,000 football fans from around the country, recording the team they support and their full postcode to establish the average distance each fan lives from their club, and what proportion of each club’s fans are local to their home stadium.

As you might expect, the proportion of fans living within the same postcode as their team’s stadium is significantly higher within one-team towns. Wigan’s lead at the top could also be explained by the fact that there is a high concentration of historically successful Premier League clubs based nearby in the North West, meaning any football fans living outside of a Wigan postcode are likely to have had their heads turned by another club.

Generally, the more historically successful a club is the more likely it will be to have a lower proportion of ‘local’ fans, as success over time breeds a more national rather than local fan base.

Wigan, Norwich and Southampton occupy the top 3 positions in Rightmove’s local fans league table, with Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea in the relegation places, but these positions could easily be turned on their head in the final Premier League league table at the end of the season.

Shipside added: “With the likes of Manchester United and Liverpool at one end of the table and Wigan at the other, there certainly seems to be a correlation between historic success and placing in the Local Fans League Table.

“Although at least this means that the majority of Wigan fans can get quickly back to the comfort of their own homes on a Saturday afternoon if results at the DW haven’t gone their way.”

Rightmove also broke down the data by city to reveal the level of support for Premier League clubs in the UK’s hotbeds of football.

In Manchester, although just 9% of Manchester United’s fans live in the same postcode district as Old Trafford, the sheer scale of their support means that more than half of football fans in the city support United overall.

In Liverpool, around two thirds of fans were found to support Liverpool with one in four supporting Everton. Despite the footballing rivalry between the two cities, and in particular between Manchester United and Liverpool, there were levels of support for opposing clubs in both locations, with 5% of football fans in Manchester supporting Liverpool and 4% of fans in Liverpool supporting either Man Utd or Man City.

In London, Arsenal are the most well-supported club ahead of rivals Tottenham Hotspur.

Surprisingly, Manchester United and Liverpool both appear in the top 5 most-supported London clubs ahead of Premier League teams who are based in London such as Fulham, Queens Park Rangers and West Ham United.

Shipside said: “The growing fan base of the bigger clubs can even be at the expense of their rivals as we are seeing with 5% of fans in Manchester supporting Liverpool, and 4% of fans in Liverpool supporting either Manchester United or Manchester City. These fans living ‘behind enemy lines’ have made some brave home location decisions to live in rival territory, and it goes to prove that whilst jobs, personal relationships and where you live are transient, the team that you support isn’t.”

Rightmove surveyed over 13,000 football fans, recording the team they support and their full postcode to establish the average distance fans live from their club, and what proportion of each clubs’ fans are local to their stadium.


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