The Social Media Football League Table

The Social Media Football League Table

While although the best clubs within English football are known to compete for Premier League honours, there is a substantial battle emerging off the pitch and it is one that comes within the form of social media.


Because no longer are footballing institutions simply competing for silverware both home and abroad, but they are also competing for the attention of a worldwide audience, and this can be gauged via the metric of social clicks. 

Brand New Football League Based on Social Following

Social media follower bases far outweigh the fans we see at games. Where does your team sit in the social media football league?

Whether it be likes on Facebook or retweets on Twitter, these are the currency that drives football clubs in the digital world and for those who ever wondered just who the social media league champions are, we can now provide the answer.

An answer that comes courtesy of tracking the “big three” follower data – Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, for each of the 92 professional clubs that currently operate within the structure of the English football pyramid. 

Where does your team sit on the football league table based on social media followers

From here, a simple addition of all the three platforms, will then give us a league table in terms of overall followers and for those who cannot wait any longer, it is time to dissect the data and hand out the silverware.


SOCIAL MEDIA SUPER LEAGUE

To the surprise of hardly many, the top half dozen teams in our 92-team table are comprised of each of the six clubs that planned to leave the Premier League behind and depart to a rival European Super League instead.

Something that gives credence to the fact that the six biggest sides in the land, are also backed up by a hefty social media following and whether it be Manchester or Malaysia, fans across the globe are ready to lend their online support.

158,000,000 Fans!!

Manchester United can boast of the greatest number of social media fans when taking Facebook, Twitter and Instagram followers into account

While with the makeup of the top six now revealed, it is time to highlight just who is the current pioneers of social media and the answer is as follows: 


Club Division Facebook Instagram Twitter Total Combined Rank
Manchester United Premier League 74,000,000 54,500,000 29,500,000 158,000,000 1
Chelsea Premier League 49,000,000 31,700,000 19,300,000 100,000,000 2
Liverpool Premier League 38,000,000 35,300,000 19,100,000 92,400,000 3
Manchester City Premier League 40,000,000 29,000,000 11,400,000 80,400,000 4
Arsenal Premier League 37,000,000 21,100,000 18,600,000 76,700,000 5
Tottenham Hotspur Premier League 23,000,000 11,900,000 6,800,000 41,700,000 6

As you can see Manchester United are not only top of the table, but they are considerably clear of Chelsea in second and although the latter were the kings of Europe last season, there is some way to go before they are the kings of the internet.

Manchester United have the greatest number of social media followers of any UK football team

Because the Red Devils currently find themselves with 58 million more overall followers than that of Chelsea and although Ralf Rangnick’s men have stuttered on the pitch in recent times, they are head and shoulders above the rest on the world wide web.

Not only that, but they are consistent in their route to the top of the standings, as in each of the three platforms, the Old Trafford outfit have recorded the most followers at the time of the data capture. 

Liverpool have almost twice as many Twitter followers as Manchester City

But they have fewer Facebook followers. Overall, they usurp the Etihad side by 12 million overall social followers

While with Liverpool and Manchester City duking it out for the real-life title honours this season, it is the Merseyside men who have currently stolen a march on the Etihad superstars and with latter possessing 80 million social followers, it is nearly half the amount of their crosstown rivals United. 

Of course, we should not forget the battle for supremacy within North London and for those who are of a Tottenham persuasion, they will once again have to do make do with being surpassed by their arch rivals at the Emirates – as Arsenal have more than 35 million combined followers. 

Often betting fans might cry that odds for their team with betting sites are not as big as they should be, but if all of these fans who follow on social media are also betting on their own teams to win, it is no surprise bookmakers have to tread cautiously with some of the most popular football teams on social media platforms, especially if the social popularity is mirrored in football betting tips.

THE TOP 20

Now that we know the make up of the top six, it is time to shine a light on those who would compete in the ‘Social Media Premier League’ and for those who would assume that the top 20 teams would also have the 20 biggest online followings, their assumption would be wrong.

Club Division Facebook Instagram Twitter Total Combined Rank
Manchester United Premier League 74,000,000 54,500,000 29,500,000 158,000,000 1
Chelsea Premier League 49,000,000 31,700,000 19,300,000 100,000,000 2
Liverpool Premier League 38,000,000 35,300,000 19,100,000 92,400,000 3
Manchester City Premier League 40,000,000 29,000,000 11,400,000 80,400,000 4
Arsenal Premier League 37,000,000 21,100,000 18,600,000 76,700,000 5
Tottenham Hotspur Premier League 23,000,000 11,900,000 6,800,000 41,700,000 6
Leicester City Premier League 6,800,000 6,100,000 2,300,000 15,200,000 7
Everton Premier League 3,600,000 2,500,000 2,600,000 8,700,000 8
Aston Villa Premier League 3,600,000 1,700,000 1,900,000 7,200,000 9
West Ham United Premier League 2,700,000 1,800,000 2,100,000 6,600,000 10
Southampton Premier League 3,000,000 1,100,000 1,400,000 5,500,000 11
Newcastle United Premier League 2,400,000 1,100,000 2,000,000 5,500,000 12
Wolverhampton Wanderers Premier League 2,300,000 2,000,000 976,700 5,276,700 13
Crystal Palace Premier League 1,414,030 1,400,000 1,200,000 4,014,030 14
Watford Premier League 1,400,000 1,100,000 846,200 3,346,200 15
Sunderland League One 1,500,000 377,000 966,300 2,843,300 16
Leeds United Premier League 899,000 965,000 856,200 2,720,200 17
Stoke City Championship 1,200,000 401,000 1,000,000 2,601,000 18
Swansea City Championship 1,200,000 389,000 1,000,000 2,589,000 19
West Bromwich Albion Championship 839,921 401,000 1,100,000 2,340,921 20


Here we see that four clubs have disrupted the order within the world of social media and although Sunderland may once again be struggling to drag themselves out of League One, they are no slouches in this particular table.

With an impressive 1.5m followers on Facebook, it has helped the Black Cats finish a more than respectable 16th and in doing so, they have avoided relegation to what can now be officially called the “EFL Social Media Championship”

While of the other three teams that have surpassed their current status in real life, it is the trio of Stoke, Swansea and West Brom who are currently competing in what can be considered as sunnier digital climbs.

OUTSIDE THE TOP TIER

Of course, what goes up means something else must come down and of those Premier League clubs who cannot match their status online, it is Norwich, Burnley, Brighton, and Brentford who have suffered the ignominy of virtual relegation.

Although what is more interesting here, is the fact that these four clubs are not simply ranked 21 to 24 in the league ladder, their fortunes are far more varied than that, and it is certainly not good news for Premier League newcomers Brentford – as is highlighted in the table below: 

Club Division Facebook Instagram Twitter Total Combined Rank
Norwich City Premier League 950,000 442,000 818,400 2,210,400 21
Hull City Championship 963,000 630,000 559,100 2,152,100 22
Fulham Championship 883,000 617,000 624,400 2,124,400 23
AFC Bournemouth Championship 426,000 618,000 593,300 1,637,300 24
Burnley Premier League 465,000 455,000 638,600 1,558,600 25
Sheffield United Championship 560,000 540,000 456,600 1,556,600 26
Brighton & Hove Albion Premier League 556,000 487,000 482,800 1,525,800 27
Queens Park Rangers Championship 697,000 164,000 467,600 1,328,600 28
Derby County Championship 443,000 457,000 360,800 1,260,800 29
Cardiff City Championship 514,000 178,000 367,900 1,059,900 30
Nottingham Forest Championship 352,492 230,000 396,100 978,592 31
Birmingham City Championship 348,000 170,000 373,100 891,100 32
Reading Championship 445,000 89,400 353,400 887,800 33
Middlesbrough Championship 426,000 104,000 346,000 876,000 34
Sheffield Wednesday League One 358,000 99,200 335,100 792,300 35
Blackburn Rovers Championship 281,000 200,000 282,200 763,200 36
Brentford Premier League 286,000 235,000 242,000 763,000 37

Norwich City have a huge social following

For Norwich, they like West Bromwich Albion are living up to their status as a yo-yo club, as they currently sit top of the EFL Social Media Championship, while Burnley will have to deal with the lottery of the play-offs this time.

Matters are no better for Brighton & Hove Albion, as Graham Potter’s men have been pipped to the final play-off spot by Sheffield United, while Brentford are having to make do with mid-table Championship malaise in 17th and 37th overall. 

In League One, it is celebration time at Portman Road, as Ipswich are declared champions, while the real-life championship pair of Millwall and Blackpool, have managed to find themselves in the top-three of their social tier below.

Club Division Facebook Instagram Twitter Total Combined Rank
Ipswich Town League One 157,000 109,000 190,400 456,400 45
Millwall Championship 184,296 82,000 142,600 408,896 46
Blackpool Championship 141,000 70,100 149,600 360,700 47


While in the confines of League Two, the champagne corks are being popped at Stevenage as they pip Oxford United to the crown by a rather slender margin of just 1,000 followers. While Rotherham and Lincoln make the top four. 

Club Division Facebook Instagram Twitter Total Combined Rank
Stevenage League Two 73,000 41,600 69,000 183,600 69
Oxford United League One 55,000 42,000 85,600 182,600 70
Rotherham United League One 53,898 20,300 107,100 181,298 71
Lincoln City League One 46,000 66,900 67,700 180,600 72


While spare a thought for Barrow, as with just 58,776 combined followers at the point of data capture, it is they who are ranked the 92nd and lowest side in the broadband-based English football pyramid. Something that suggest their social media team may need some more pre-season training.

A CERTAIN RATIO

Of course, another way to look at all this social data, is by looking at it from a stadium capacity angle and just how many times these respective followers could fill the stadium of their most beloved football clubs.

How Many Social Fans Could The Stadium Hold?

Chelsea would fill Stamford bridge over 800 times with their total social media followers

Now for this to happen we have to normalise the data and therefore, we must assume that a superfan is a follower of his or her favourite club across all three of the social platforms – in doing so, we can get a count of unique fans rather than a combined total.

When taking this count of unique fans and calculating as a ratio of stadium capacity, we then get another league table from our 92 clubs in question and although Manchester United may have been champions from one angle, they do not have all their own way. 

Club Division Total Unique Followers Capacity Unique Capacity Ratio
Chelsea Premier League 100,000,000 33,333,333 40,834 816
Manchester United Premier League 158,000,000 52,666,667 74,140 710
Liverpool Premier League 92,400,000 30,800,000 53,394 577
Manchester City Premier League 80,400,000 26,800,000 55,017 487
Arsenal Premier League 76,700,000 25,566,667 60,704 421
Tottenham Hotspur Premier League 41,700,000 13,900,000 62,850 221
Leicester City Premier League 15,200,000 5,066,667 32,312 157
Everton Premier League 8,700,000 2,900,000 39,414 74
Southampton Premier League 5,500,000 1,833,333 32,384 57
Aston Villa Premier League 7,200,000 2,400,000 42,682 56
Wolverhampton Wanderers Premier League 5,276,700 1,758,900 32,050 55
Crystal Palace Premier League 4,014,030 1,338,010 25,486 52
Watford Premier League 3,346,200 1,115,400 22,200 50
AFC Bournemouth Championship 1,637,300 545,767 11,364 48
Swansea City Championship 2,589,000 863,000 21,088 41
West Ham United Premier League 6,600,000 2,200,000 60,000 37
Fulham Championship 2,124,400 708,133 19,359 37
Newcastle United Premier League 5,500,000 1,833,333 52,305 35
Salford City League Two 493,000 164,333 5,108 32
West Bromwich Albion Championship 2,340,921 780,307 26,850 29


This time it is Chelsea who scoop the honours, by virtue of their unique followers being able to fill Stamford Bridge 816 times over. Now of course, this figure is somewhat enhanced by Stamford Bridge’s smaller capacity to its counterparts, but it is still an impressive feat all the same.

As before, the biggest six clubs fill out the first six places, so now it is time to look elsewhere for the biggest stories in our ratio table and they perhaps do not get any bigger than Salford City possessing the 19th highest Capacity Ratio in English football.

The club which is owned by Manchester United’s famous Class of ’92, may only have 164,333 combined social followers but it still means that their Penninsula Stadium could be filled as many as 32 times over on matchday.

While there are four Championship outfits among this particular top 20, as the likes of AFC Bournemouth, Swansea City, Fulham and West Brom all find themselves mixing it with the Premier League elite.

Once again though, it does not make particularly good reading for Brentford, as although they are now settled in their brand-new stadium, they can only fill it 44 times over with unique followers and this makes the bottom ranked of all the Premier League teams. (30th overall) 

With the trophies now handed out, it is time for either celebrating or commiserating and the beauty of this particular league is that it never really ends. With more followers coming onboard on a daily basis, maybe their clicks will change the online fortunes of the club at the same time. 

Data correct as of 2/2/22 – social data captured from Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Capacity data captured from Wikipedia. 

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