A random thought hit me yesterday. FC Barcelona are the best football club in the world right now, few would disagree with that. But are they also the best club when it comes to fan support? In terms of sheer numbers of fans and club supporters, which club comes out on top? This is the answer that I set out to find.
But finding out this answer presented a unique challenge. The lack of official fan clubs, which even when present, not all fans go register with them, presents a distinct difficulty in accurately estimating how many fans each club has across the planet. So how would I go about finding the numbers to back me up?
With social networking rapidly becoming the new mantra of the tech age, I decided to consult the social networking behemoth Facebook for answers to my question. All big clubs have found new ways of interacting with their fans, providing them with minute by minute updates, player interactions and the latest club news.
I took a look at each club’s ‘Official Facebook Page’ to find out which club beats the rest in terms of being the most supported by being the most liked page. Here is the top 10 list:
These stats are correct as of January 18, 2013
No of likes: 5, 850, 350
The Bundesliga’s most successful team brings up the top 10 list at number 10. They will be surprised however to find the two Turkish clubs in front of them.
No of likes: 6, 278, 499
And just behind Galatasaray bringing up the rearguard are bitter rivals and powerhouse of Turkish football, Fenerbahce.
No of likes: 7, 860, 519
Surprise entry at number 8 is Turkish giants Galatasaray. This clearly shows how popular football as a sport is in Turkey.
No of likes: 11, 118, 941
18 times league champions in England, 5 time European champions and current League Cup champions make their entry at number 7. Their recent lack of success has clearly dented their fan base.
No. of likes: 12, 673, 199
13 times League champions and 10 time FA Cup champions, Wenger’s men slip to 6th from 4th a year ago as lack of recent success and success of their rivals sees them lose their grip.
#5 AC Milan
No of likes: 13, 616, 545
Serie A’s most successful club and only representative in the top 10, Milan make their entry into the top 10 at number 5.
No of likes: 15, 172, 217
The current European and FA Cup champions leapfrog much more successful teams to stake their claim at the fourth position.
No of likes: 30, 595, 546
One of, if not the, most successful clubs in England, Manchester United still trail by a considerable margin from the two Spanish giants. The English giants, often found at the top of the ‘most supported club’ polls have to be content with the third position.
No of likes: 35, 117, 234
The current La Liga champions have to contend with being second best to their bitter rivals, as has happened most times the Los Blancos have been up against the Blaugrana.
#1 FC Barcelona
No of likes: 39, 318, 715
The undisputed leader and best on the football pitch, also claims the crown in the virtual world with a clear cut majority between them and their nearest rivals. And with record four time World Player of the Year Lionel Messi in their ranks, expect this gap to get wider.
This is by no means a definitive conclusion to the argument on which is the most supported football club in the world. But this is the surest way I could find to determine which team has the most fan numbers.
Which club do you support? Do you agree with these statistics? What would your top 10 be? Please let me know in the comments section below.
Thank you for reading. Until next time.
Muchas gracias. Hasta la vista.