The Premier League has many millions of supporters throughout the world. Fans often rely on social media to keep up to date with the latest news, but also to interact with others in their footballing community. Twitter is one of the most popular tools used by fans to do this.
Have you wondered how many followers each Premier League team has on Twitter? The below table shows the position each club would have finished based purely on their Twitter following. This is compared to the team's actual Premier League position in the 14/15 season, to see if a club has over- or underachieved versus the size of their Twitter fan base.
Premier League table based on the team’s number of Twitter fans versus their actual position (Soccerjury)
If the Premier League was based on the number of Twitter followers, Arsenal would be crowned champions with a colossal 6 million Twitter fans, and Burnley would finish bottom with just 0.12 million fans. In reality, Arsenal finished 3rd therefore underachiveing by 2 places, and Burnley 19th which means they overperformed by 1 position.
Interestingly, a few other interesting conclusions can be drawn from the table.
There is a general trend, in that the larger the fan-base the higher the club position. For those that aren’t too adverse to statistics, there is a strong positive correlation between the two. (Indeed, the R^2 value is high at 0.6, which suggests that one variable is explained by another variable 60% of the time.)
What does this mean? It suggests that a Premier League club’s final position is strongly influenced by the size of its fan-base. This may not be too much of a surprise, for the larger the supporter base, the more revenue a club can generate, and additional finances will allow better players to be bought in the transfer market.
And as fans know, good players win games, and will ultimately help decide the club’s final league position.Huge fan followings translate into greater commercial revenue, allowing great players to be bought such as Neymar (FIFA)
For England’s six biggest clubs based on their Twitter fan following, they all finished within the top 6 in the actual Premier League season. Conversely, 2 of the 3 clubs with the lowest Twitter following were relegated (the exception being Leicester who performed a miraculous escape).
However, there are some clubs that buck this trend. Some clubs have significantly underachieved (i.e. they have a large fan-base, but a low Premier League position), or overachieved (i.e. a small fan-base, but a high Premier League position).
Most underachieving and overachieving teams based on Twitter followers versus their actual Premier League position (Soccerjury)
Aston Villa, Newcastle and QPR have underachieved based on this analysis, which is unlikely to be argued by any of these clubs supporters. Conversely, Crystal Palace, Stoke, Southampton and Swansea can all be proud of defying the odds, and finishing higher than they would be expected.
And what about the promoted clubs? For the 15/16 season, the newly promoted trio of Bournemouth, Watford (both <0.1million fans) and Norwich (0.25 million) have relatively small Twitter followings. This would suggest that all three clubs are likely to be involved in a relegation fight next season, which even the most optimistic of these team’s supporters would admit is a likely scenario.
However, there is hope for all clubs at both ends of the table. For football has always had a tendency to surprise and do away with statistics. Isn’t this a reason for it's allure, and why many millions choose to follow the game?