Society Magazine

A Ball Ache – 42% of Being a Football Fan is Heartbreak

Posted on the 22 March 2013 by 72point @72hub

It’s a funny old game – but being a football fan is 58% joy and 42% PAIN, a study has revealed. Experts came to the conclusion after examining the impact of 19 different factors on the mood and temperament of the typical football fan.

The results showed supporting one of the top seven clubs in England is generally a more exciting experience than following a club outside the elite.

Fans of clubs in the Championship, where teams are battling to reach the promised land of the Premier League, are the most glum in the country with a balance of 52% pain and just 48% joy.

In the lower leagues supporters in League Two reckon they enjoy more excitement than pain, while in League One fans are slightly less happy.

The single most important factor in a fan’s happiness was their club’s heritage and the atmosphere at home games, followed by the club’s overall image and the name of the club’s main shirt sponsor.

Managerial flair and the style of play only came fifth and sixth in the list, while signings were seventh. Results were the eighth most important element.

The club-by-club analysis of the top seven Premier League sides showed Manchester United fans are currently the happiest, unsurprising amid the huge gap they have built up over second placed City.

Everton fans are the second most happy in the Premier League’s top seven, while Man City supporters are third and Arsenal fans are fourth.

Spurs have the fifth happiest fans, followed by Liverpool. Interestingly Liverpool fans were the most disgruntled with diving players, ironic considering Luis Suarez’s reputation.

Currently fans of Chelsea, under unwanted interim boss Rafa Benitez, are enjoying just 56% joy – but a whopping 43% pain.

Amazingly, the study found as many as one in four fans believe their team’s relegation was ‘the worst day of their lives’.

A spokesman for Ladbrokes, which commissioned the extensive study, said:

“Football is the lifeblood of British sport and the report shows following a club is a labor of love for many.

 ”The reason we love football is for the lows as much as the highs

 ”Despite the pain it causes us when things don’t go well, the excitement of a big signing,  a great away win or a good cup run always re-ignites our love affairs with our club.

 ”The passion for football at all levels in this country is something which is unrivalled anywhere else on the planet

 ”Looking at the research split by fans of the top clubs, it makes sense for united fans to be happiest.”

 ”But its intriguing to see how much Everton fans are enjoying this year, I’m sure the fact they have been above Liverpool for much of the season has a lot to do with that

 ”Spurs fans seems to be the most content with their team at the moment, while the discontent at the Emirates and Stamford Bridge doesn’t come as a surprise

 ”Lower down the league it appears League Two fans have low expectations so enjoy watching their teams play, no matter whether they win or lose

 ”The higher you go, the bigger the pressure to challenge for promotion or reach the play offs and it seems this is too much to bear for many.”

Further detail to emerge from the club-by-club breakdown was that Man Utd fans are the happiest in the league at their style of play, while their bitter rivals across the city were the unhappiest.

Arsenal fans were the happiest with the current financial situation at their club, although much has been written about manager Arsene Wenger’s reluctance to splash out in the transfer market.

Liverpool supporters emerged as the unhappiest regarding their clubs finances. Manchester United supporters have enjoyed the most pleasure from their team’s recent signings, including Dutch hit man Robin van Persie, while Arsenal fans are the most disgruntled in the top seven about their club’s recruitment policy.

United fans expressed more joy than those of any other club about the manager, while unsurprisingly Chelsea fans endured the least amount of joy on this topic.

Another area in which many United fans expressed happiness was ticket prices while this emerged as a painful topic for fans of Anfield giants Liverpool.

In the Championship the biggest bone of contention for supporters were the price of tickets, diving players and key players being sold to balance the books.

Fans of League One clubs picked the price of tickets and their team’s precarious financial position as their biggest worries, again with diving players also making the list.

Interestingly, refereeing decisions also came highly on the list of League One grumbles, with the sale of good players also causing fans a lot of pain.

The research also took into account a number of other subjects such as players’ wages, players who dive, and the number of foreign players at the fans’ respective clubs.

Additionally the study found the weekend’s result affects the moods of almost even out of ten fans, while one in four went as far as to say football was the most important thing in their life.

Interestingly, almost one in three said the team they were currently supporting was not the team they supported when they were younger, shattering the myth that once you have picked a team, they remain yours for life.

The good news for smaller clubs is that around four in ten fans picked the closest team to the area from which they hail, rather than ‘glory hunting’ by supporting big clubs.


Football fans overall – 58% joy – 42% pain

Top seven Prem Clubs – 61% joy – 39% pain

Rest of the Prem -  51% joy – 49% pain

Championship Clubs – 47% joy – 53% pain

League One Clubs – 53% joy – 47% pain

League Two Clubs – 59% joy – 41% pain


Man Utd – 69% joy – 31% pain

Everton – 63% joy – 37% pain

Man City – 61% joy – 39% pain

Arsenal – 59% joy – 41% pain

Spurs – 58% joy – 42% pain

Chelsea – 56 per cet joy – 44% pain

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