With the Covid-19 restrictions meaning supporters aren’t allowed in stadiums, football fans have been using the next loudest platform to voice and share their opinion – social media!
Mediaworks, one of the UK’s leading digital marketing agencies, has conducted sentiment analysis across Twitter to unearth which football club is most loved across Britain.
The bad news for fans of Charlton Athletic is that the Addicks are deemed to be the least loved. Off-field legal battles have left fans distraught at the English Football League’s rules on ownership.*
For me, there’s no disputing the findings based on the Twitter evidence. However, I would say my personal experience is that Charlton is one of the friendliest grounds I have visited. When taking my two young sons there years back (they are in their 30s now) I always felt they would be safe (wish I could say the same for Millwall).
Also, a friend tells me he once visited the Valley to see his team – Everton. The Addicks had just got back into the top flight and were welcoming the Toffees for the first time in many years. The stadium announcer commented on this fact and asked the crowd to put their hands together to welcome back the visitors – “and they did”, my friend said, scarcely concealing the surprise in his voice. As my friend added, at most football grounds the opposition are greeted with hoots of derision, or worse. Not so at the Valley.
The Britain’s Most Loved Football Club analysis explored the most recent 1,000 tweets, across several club-specific hashtags. Artificial intelligence (AI) technology attributed a score to each Twitter post from zero to 100, then the Mediaworks’ team compiled the averages to provide a final sentiment score for each of the 104 football clubs across the four English leagues and the Scottish Premiership.
So, what were the results?
Fallen giants Nottingham Forest have been crowned as Britain’s Most Loved Football Club. They sit top of the pile with the highest sentiment score (74.32out of 100).Despite a catastrophic end to the 2019/20 season that saw their 20-yearPremier League exodus extended, Forest’s late ’70s heroics under Brian Clough and Peter Taylor in the European Cup sees them remain in the hearts of the British public.
Mediaworks’ chief executive Brett Jacobson said: “Football fans the length and breadth of the country will always argue that their club is the most loved and with Covid-19 preventing fans from attending matches, the debate rages on through digital channels.
“With sentiment analysis tools at our disposal, we felt it was a good time to explore which clubs were actually at the top of the pile for the British public’s affection. Forest might have been outside the Premier League for a long time now, but they are a club that people still want to see do well.”
Scottish Premiership side Hamilton Academical and Swindon Town of EFL League Two were second and third on 71.37 and 71.06 respectively.
The analysis shows that North London is officially red, with Arsenal the most loved Premier League club, ranking them 26th in the overall table, with arch-rivals Tottenham Hotspur trailing far behind – 91st of 104 clubs. London’s most loved club, though, is AFC Wimbledon, a club that tugs on the heart-strings after being founded in 2002 after former league club Wimbledon FC moved to Milton Keynes and rebranded as MK Dons.
Chelsea, who usually sit in the Champions League positions, find themselves at the wrong end of the table with football fans, ranking 94th.
*On the 17th of last month Sky Sports reported that the potential takeover of Charlton is on hold after the Court of Appeal blocked the sale of shares in the club ahead of a trial in November.
|League||Club||Sentiment Analysis Score|
|Scottish Premiership||Hamilton Academical||71.37|
|League One||Swindon Town||71.06|
|League One||Accrington Stanley||70|
|Scottish Premiership||Dundee United||69.26|
|League Two||Bradford City||67.6|
|League Two||Forest Green Rovers||66.06|
|League Two||Exeter City||65.91|
|League One||AFC Wimbledon||64.5|
|League One||Shrewsbury Town||64.46|
|League Two||Bolton Wanderers||64.12|
|League Two||Cambridge United||63.84|
|League One||Doncaster Rovers||63.82|
|Championship||Queens Park Rangers||63.71|
|Championship||Preston North End||63.22|
|League One||Peterborough United||63.04|
|League Two||Port Vale||62.96|
|League Two||Leyton Orient||62.89|
|League Two||Newport County||62.6|
|League Two||Southend United||62.53|
|League One||Plymouth Argyle||62.34|
|League Two||Carlisle United||62.32|
|League One||Oxford United||62.21|
|League One||MK Dons||62.05|
|League Two||Mansfield Town||61.65|
|Premier League||Sheffield United||61.64|
|Premier League||Brighton and Hove Albion||61.49|
|League One||Lincoln City||61.43|
|League Two||Grimsby Town||61.05|
|Premier League||Aston Villa||60.87|
|League Two||Salford City||60.75|
|League Two||Scunthorpe United||60.49|
|League One||Burton Albion||60.4|
|League Two||Colchester United||60.2|
|Premier League||Manchester United||60.15|
|League One||Wigan Athletic||59.57|
|Scottish Premier||St Johnstone||58.96|
|League One||Hull City||58.94|
|League Two||Cheltenham Town||58.88|
|Premier League||West Bromwich Albion||58.51|
|League Two||Stevenage Borough||58.09|
|League One||Bristol Rovers||57.83|
|League Two||Harrogate Town||57.7|
|Premier League||Crystal Palace||57.62|
|Premier League||Newcastle United||57.37|
|Premier League||Leeds United||57.32|
|Premier League||West Ham United||57.26|
|League Two||Crawley Town||57.03|
|League One||Crewe Alexandra||56.69|
|Premier League||Manchester City||56.07|
|Scottish Premiership||St Mirren||54.92|
|Premier League||Leicester City||54.56|
|League Two||Oldham Athletic||54.51|
|Premier League||Tottenham Hotspur||54.38|
|Scottish Premiership||Ross County||53.58|
|League One||Northampton Town||53.42|
|League Two||Tranmere Rovers||53.02|
|League One||Fleetwood Town||52.87|
|League One||Charlton Athletic||51.75|