It’s no secret that Manchester United boast high levels of support throughout the world, but new data has proved, once and for all, that the majority of UK residents are fans, or at least closet fans, of the club.
Plusnet released online search data that revealed Manchester United is the most commonly searched for football club in almost every city and county in the UK, with Mourinho’s men responsible for 19% of the total football search traffic.
Despite eye-watering transfer fees this summer, the Red Devils remain on the precipice of the top four, seemingly requiring victory in the Europa League to ensure Champions League football next season.
Despite the shaky form of the last few seasons, support across the country remains considerably high.
Manchester United are the most popular club in 19 UK counties, including Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire, Cheshire, Cornwall, and Cumbria. United also reach the top three in Scotland, coming third after Rangers and Celtic.
Arsenal in Second Place
While the debate over Wenger’s future rages on and Arsenal fight their way into the top four – it seems that a high percentage of the UK will have an opinion.
The same study revealed that Arsenal was the second most popular club across the UK, with 15% of all football web traffic concerned with the activities of the North London club.
The club claimed its biggest victories in areas without a top flight team, enjoying its biggest search percentage in Surrey, West Sussex, Suffolk, and Kent.
Why Is Manchester United So Popular?
Well, the simple answer is decades of consistent success. United have won the 20 League titles, 12 FA Cup’s, the League Cup five times, the Champion’s League three times, and performed well across European competitions for decades.
In 2013, the club became the first sports team in the world to be valued at three billion dollars and achieve a worldwide fanbase of 659 million people.
Past signings from around the world have also developed interest in the club, such as South Korean midfield maestro, Ji Sung Park, and Portuguese wonderkid, Cristiano Ronaldo. This has been supported by a range of marketing campaigns, high profile sponsorship deals, and regular footballing tours across Asia, America, and the Far East.
Iconic players of the past encouraged homegrown support from fans at home, with the likes of George Best, David Beckham, Roy Keane, and Bobby Charlton et al. doing much to generate interest
in the club.
Which Counties Have the Most Local Support?
11 counties did favour a local side over Manchester United and Arsenal, with Yorkshire, in particular, boasting a solid supporter base for local sides.
They may have just missed out on the Championship Playoffs this year, but Leeds United are the most popular club in Yorkshire. Leeds feature in the top three most popular clubs in North, East, and West Yorkshire, with South Yorkshire split into Wednesday and Blades supporters (with the Owls coming out on top), followed by Manchester United.
Wolves, West Bromwich Albion, and Birmingham City lose out to former top-flight strugglers Aston Villa in the West Midlands, with the Villains overwhelmingly the most popular team in the area, followed by former Premier League rivals Manchester United and Arsenal.
Whether or not the Red Devils will oust Manchester City from the top four remains to be seen, but Manchester United have certainly staked their claim as the most popular club in the county.
United are responsible for 44% of the football traffic in the area, compared to just 13% for Manchester City.
A wealth of Premier League opposition has meant that League One and Two clubs miss out in Greater Manchester, with Oldham, Bury, and Rochdale failing to generate significant interest.
A distinct lack of top flight clubs in East Anglia has bolstered support for clubs not from the local area, with Manchester United, Arsenal, Liverpool, and West Ham all featuring at the expense of Peterborough United and Ipswich, who are relegated to third choice.
Tyne and Wear
Tyne and Wear will be delighted with the news that Newcastle United are marching back into the Premier League after a dominant display in the Championship this season.
Sunderland are the toon are swapping places in the top flight, and the bad news doesn’t stop there for Sunderland, as they muster significantly lower support in the area, with 27,100 searches compared with Newcastle’s 110,000 searches per month.
Liverpool is often thought of as one of Europes big boys, but they arent even the biggest club on Merseyside. Liverpool and the surrounding area are undeniably blue, it seems, as the popularity of Everton outweighs Liverpool in Merseyside – even in the city of Liverpool. With an estimated 110,000 searches compared to Everton’s 165,000, Sam Allardyche’s men are dominant in the local area.
The big smoke is home to the most Gooners in the country it seems, with Arsenal boasting 44% of all
the football traffic search traffic.
Surprisingly, Manchester United are the second most popular team in Greater London, followed by a three-way split of Chelsea, Liverpool, and West Ham (Spurs fail to reach even the top five).
Lower league sides from in and around the capital miss out due to the allure of the big boys, with Millwall, QPR, Charlton, Leyton Orient, and many others failing to hit the top spots.
This article was written by our guest writer Joanna Threlfall.
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