Written by Squid Boy on Monday, 09 July 2012 08:06
Last week I wrote a blog discussing which clubs we deem to be our most hated rivals, and whether factors such as location and age affected our choices.
This included a survey to garner your votes on which clubs you despised most, along with finding out which part of the world you considered yourself to be from and when you started supporting Arsenal.
Having received a total of 799 responses from the survey and in the comments section of that blog, I now present the results. Obviously there are millions of Arsenal fans worldwide, so I’m certainly not claiming that the results are an accurate indication of the fandom of Gooners globally.
First I’ll start with an overview of the votes. These are the locations of the respondents:
“Local” fans (Londoners and those from elsewhere in the UK or Ireland) comprise 43% of the votes. The remaining 57% come from abroad, with Asia and North America having a particularly high representation. Given the amount of Gooners in Africa, I was surprised they did not feature more.
The following shows the decades in which the respondents began supporting Arsenal:
Over 70% of the votes come from fans who started following the Club in the 1990s and 2000s; when the Premier League was launched and went on to become a global phenomenon.
Now onto the good stuff – club rivalry.
Before delving deeper, I should tell you that the survey allowed you to choose the three clubs you hated most, in order. I assigned different weights to each vote, i.e. the most hated club received a weight of 3, the second-most received a weight of 2, and the third-most received a weight of 1. This enabled me to calculate a “Haterade Quotient” (HQ).
The following chart depicts the HQ from all who voted, without segregating geographically or demographically:
The HQ numbers themselves are not important per se. What is important is their value relative to all other clubs. From above we see that Arsenal fans around the world hate Spurs the most and by a considerable distance, for their HQ is nearly double the second-most hated club, Man Utd. Not too far behind is Chelsea, and after them there is a significant gap to Barcelona. Man City, Stoke and Liverpool bring up the rear.
Next the burning question of “local” versus “foreign” Gooners.
Comprising Londoners and those based elsewhere in the UK and Ireland, the HQ chart for “local” Gooners is as follows:
Spurs again comfortably lead the way (this will be a common theme throughout), but in contrast to the overall picture, Chelsea have marginally overtaken Man Utd. Thereafter comes a big decrease to Man City and Stoke, with Liverpool and Barcelona even further behind.
Now to “foreign” Gooners:
The results are markedly different. While Spurs remain the main subject of ire, their lead has been halved. And sitting in second place isn’t Chelsea, but Man Utd. The other major difference is Barcelona. Whilst they were rock bottom to “local” fans, here they are fourth and not too far off third place.
The difference in results between “local” and “foreign” fans are interesting. One of the main reason I conducted this was the polarised attitude of Gooners towards Barcelona. In last week’s blog my hunch was that “locals” were largely ambivalent towards the Catalan club, whilst “foreign” fans hated them more. The two charts show this to be the case.
Another noteworthy difference is regarding Spurs. They may comfortably be the most hated by those in the UK and Ireland, but this is less the case for those abroad. In the comments section of last week’s blog, a number of people from Africa and North America mentioned that while they only had a minor dislike for Spurs initially, as they became more ingrained in Arsenal’s history and heritage they grew to fiercely hate our traditional rivals.
The final point worth raising pertains to Chelsea and Man Utd. “Local” Gooners marginally dislike Chelsea more, perhaps due to the London rivalry. Yet “foreign” fans detest Man Utd more. Given that the game has gone global in the past 20 years since the advent of the Premier League and therefore become more accessible to countries around the world, those abroad have grown up in an era of Man Utd dominance. And not just on the pitch either. Success leads to gloating fans, and last week’s blog comments included many (especially from Asia) who stated that coming into contact with such gloryhunters had been a decisive factor in their dislike of the Mancunian reds.
I also looked at each individual continent as well. While I won’t reproduce all their charts because I don’t want to visually bombard you, I can reveal that fans in Asia, Africa and North America had the exact same HQ ranking as the overall “foreign” segment. Of the three continents, only in North America did Barcelona come close to cracking the Spurs-Man Utd-Chelsea hegemony.
However, Europe paints a different and telling picture:
Here, the perennial top three has been broken by Barcelona, as fans on the continent expressed a dislike of them greater than that for Chelsea. I can only guess that European Gooners have been cut deeper by Barca’s shenanigans towards us, be it over the transfer of Cesc Fabregas or their antics in our Champions League clashes.
Let me focus further on “local” fans. I’ve taken the liberty of separating Londoners from those living outside the capital to see if there are any differences in attitude:
Liverpool make their highest appearance here, perhaps implying that some northern Gooners have especially been subject to their whining or smug fans. Furthermore, this category of Gooners contained the highest number of votes from fans who started supporting in the 1970s and 1980s; a time when Liverpool were the dominant force.
While two London clubs heading this list is expected, the most remarkable result here is Stoke as Tony Pulis’ shit-kickers are fourth. It seems that London Gooners have a particular distaste for anti-football, and perhaps they take offence to the north/south divide which permeates the nation. (For those who don’t know, those in the north of England are viewed as hard men while those in the south are seen as softies. The people who perpetuate this myth have clearly never met Emmanuel Frimpong)
Having covered the regional aspect, we move on to time. Does the decade in which you started supporting the Club have any effect on which team you hate most? If you grew up in the 1970s and 1980s when Liverpool were lording it, did you hate them back then and has this carried through to today? Or is it dimmed by more recent rivalries?
Here is a chart which I’ve labelled the Football League era, as it consists of fans who started supporting Arsenal before the 1990s:
The three usual suspects dominate, with Spurs considerably ahead of Chelsea and Man Utd who are roughly equal. Then come Man City and Stoke – two more “recent” rivals. To my surprise Liverpool feature low on this list, with only Barcelona beneath them. One fan of an older vintage stated in last week’s comments that he wasn’t fussed by foreign clubs, and it seems many Gooners of his ilk share that view. This notion is strengthened when you consider that more experienced fans tend to originate from the UK or Ireland.
Next up we have the Premier League era fans, being those who began supporting Arsenal from 1990 onwards:
Whereas Chelsea and Man Utd are neck-and-neck to Football League era fans, more recent supporters dislike Man Utd significantly more than the blue Chavs; perhaps a sign of Old Trafford’s stronghold on the Premier League trophy. Again Barcelona’s position is interesting. From bottom of the pile in the previous chart, they have climbed to mid-table here. Given that a higher proportion of newer fans are from abroad, this comes as no surprise in light of our previous results regarding location. Even for “local” yet relatively new Gooners, Barcelona’s conduct on and off the pitch seems to have left a bitter taste.
Finally I’ve looked more closely at Premier League era fans, dividing them into early and latter segments in order to see if there was any transfer of dislike from Spurs and Man Utd to Chelsea and Man City as financial doping prevailed, or to Barcelona as the game went global. The early era is those who became Gooners in the 1990s:
No surprises amongst the top three, whose HQ is far higher than the rest. Barcelona and Man City languish behind with approximately equal scores, while Stoke and Liverpool are rooted to the bottom.
Now to the latter Premier League era, comprising those who started supporting Arsenal since the turn of the century:
Given that the above two charts have similar respondent figures (302 and 310), I believe that we can cross-compare them. Although the order is the same in both, the HQs are more evenly spread in the latter. This suggests a growing dislike for Barcelona and Man City from more recent fans, although strangely Spurs and Chelsea suffer decreases in their figure.
So what to conclude from the era-based results? I believed Liverpool would have greater dislike from Football League era fans, but this didn’t come true. I also felt that Man City would have more from latter Premier League era fans, and this did bear fruit. So perhaps the results are inconclusive.
Tradition seems to trump the time aspect, at the very top at least. Beneath the institutional hatred of Spurs and Man Utd and Chelsea, there seems to be an upsurge in disliking Barcelona and Man City from newer supporters.
To conclude overall, some rivalries seem ingrained in Gooner fandom irrespective of location or age. But bubbling under the surface, a change seems afoot. As globalisation has kicked in and the Club gained fans from around the world, it also seems that cross-border rivalries are strengthening.
Thank you to all who read the blog last week and voted in the survey or comments section. And thanks to those who have read this. All observations are welcome below, or you can Tweet me directly.
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