A RECENT story on the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League website (well, it was rather a slow day in non-league football circles at the time) suggested FC United of Manchester are riding high in a ‘prestigious’ league table of the world’s most followed clubs on Twitter.
According to folos.im and its League Table of Twitter Followers, Barcelona lead a list of 1,764 clubs worldwide at present, with nearly 7.9 million followers, ahead of Real Madrid, with more than 6.5m, Turkey’s Galatasaray with 2.1m, then Arsenal, fourth, and Chelsea, fifth, boasting more than two million each.
For the record, Liverpool are seventh (1.4m), Manchester City 13th (681,500), Spurs 20th (347,400), Newcastle United are 34th (172,700) and Everton are 42nd (142,200).
FC United are 154th on that list, with just shy of 30,000 followers. And that’s no mean feat for a club currently three levels below League Two, and strikingly, they stand one place above Championship leaders Cardiff City.
But there are notable exceptions from that list – including quite a few giants of the game, of course, not least Manchester United, Morecambe and Barnoldswick Town.
That might just be because the statistics – updated daily, apparently – are only based on follower counts for official football club Twitter feeds (and not including mentions or hashtags, incidentally).
Yet perhaps it’s put together by someone with an understandable dislike of the Glazer family’s involvement at Old Trafford too, as a quick look at those clubs mentioned show Man U’s official Twitter site actually has 82,500 followers,which would place them 68th – nestling between Mexico’s Tijuana (another team with lots of brass) and Spain’s Real Betis.
You’ll be pleased to know that the Premiership’s non-league tribute act Wigan Athletic creep into the top 100, their 55,000 followers taking them to 95th place, with Bolton Wanderers 124th on account of their 37,100 followers, just six places above Arsenal Ladies and their 35,200 followers.
FC United are in fact four places above Indian export Blackburn Rovers, who have 28,600 followers. But Burnley fans can stop sniggering right away, as they’re 308th in the pecking order, their 10,200 followers seeing them sandwiched between South Australian footballing giants Melbourne Heart and South Melbourne.
Of further Lancashire interest, Blackpool are in 214th place, with 18,500 followers, although that’s not so far above the world’s oldest football club, Sheffield FC of the Evo-Stik NPL First Division South, who are in 221st place (17,700).
Who else? Fleetwood Town are 410th (6,500), North West Counties League-based fans club AFC Liverpool are 432nd (5,900), Southport are 63oth (3,000), Marine 733rd (2,300) and AFC Fylde 833rd (1,800), with fellow Evo-Stik NPL club Ramsbottom United just 30 followers behind the Coasters in 841st.
Carrying on that latter theme, Lancaster City are 963rd (1,400) and Bamber Bridge 1,013th, the mighty Brig’s 1,270 followers seeing them with one more follower than next-placed Austrian outfit Wacker Innsbruck. Fascinating, I hear you say.
You’ll forgive me if I stop there, although I did have a quick look at the bottom of the table, where I found Worthing and Scotland’s St Andrews United in 1,763rd and 1,764th respectively. Both had zero followers according to the site, which takes some doing.
That said, a closer look by this investigative journalist saw they both had more than 300 in reality. So I’m not saying there’s anything in all these damn lies and statistics, although it does just goes to show …. well, something I guess.
And on a weekend when snow and frost ruled out any action at so many North-West clubs, it was at least a league table I could look at and pretend I could do some expert analysis on. Which seems to be enough for some TV pundits or lobotomised callers on Radio 5 Live’s 606 Show these days.
Twitter, eh. Remember in the old days when the most high-tech it all got was a goal update on Teletext? When those of us with dodgy TV aerials thought Jan Aage Fjortoft was scoring for nearly every club in the country if the wind was blowing in the wrong direction?
Ah. Those were the days, and even if you couldn’t make it to a match, you could at least have a look at the results coming in while browsing in Comet on the way home, while clutching your HMV and Jessops bags. Tell the kids of today that though, and they probably wouldn’t believe you.
This is a copy of a Malcolm Wyatt article that first appeared on the http://www.sportnw.co.uk website on January 20th, 2013 (hence the North-West bias), and is reproduced here with the permission of the author and the original website creator. So there.