Arsenal Crowned Champions...
Moore-Wilson takes a look at how the Premier League table would look if it was down to social media audience.
After a long summer without an international tournament to feed our football addiction, the 2013/14 Premier League season has finally begun.
The activity of the clubs over the summer break has created much buzz and anticipation for the new season. Major changes have occurred amongst the top clubs, most notably the return of the ‘special one’ to Stamford Bridge.
As well as transfer news and club politics dominating the headlines, it was also announced that Manchester United had joined Twitter. We are all aware of the impact of social media on society and how it showcases popularity, which raised the question; are the best teams, the most popular?
With this in mind, we’ve taken it upon ourselves to research the Premier League club-by-club Twitter presence and devise a Twitter league table, based upon each club’s following, which we’ve then compared their final positions in the 2012/13 Premier League table (with the newly promoted sides making up the bottom three). The research not only determines who would be Champions of the Twitter league, but shows if the performance of the teams reflects their club’s social media status.
Would Twitter new boy’s @ManUTD dominate the league, or would there be a shock winner? Maybe @hullcityteam will be victors… hmmm unlikely, but they may come out on top of the relegation battle!
For the majority of the teams, the number of followers did resemble their final position last season. The bottom three of the Twitter league consists of the newly promoted sides, with Hull bottom of the league with 44,358 followers. It will be interesting to see if Hull and the other newly promoted sides gain an increase in followers during their upcoming season in the top flight.
Moving up the bottom half of the table, not one team matched their Twitter ranking precisely, however, most of the teams did rank similarly, for example, Stoke finished 13th last season and came 16th in the Twitter league with 127,082 followers. The top half of the table also follows this pattern; similar teams are grouped in their league positions.
However, like all research and testing, anomalies do occur. Firstly, Newcastle United – they finished 16th last season but this does not reflect their Twitter ranking as @NUFCOfficial came 7th in the Twitter league with 272,226 followers. A second anomaly would be West Bromwich Albion; after a fantastic season last year, seeing them finishing 8th, they narrowly avoided relegation with 90,256 followers, just 33,000 above @CardiffCityFC (57,436).
The biggest shock, however, comes in the top 5 - last season saw Manchester United win the real league, although they only managed to reach 5th position on Twitter, with a dismal (when you consider the worldwide fan base that they have) 717,041. That being said, their Twitter account has of course only recently been introduced, and this is sure to increase as the season goes on.
…And the Champions of Twitter are **drum roll please** @Arsenal, with a massive 2,601,337 followers, around 40,000 more than second place, London rivals, @Chelseafc.
All in all, the Twitter table does resemble the actual league, (the one which does reward performance with actual trophies and ridiculous amounts of money, not the one that just awards ‘Champions’ status). The exceptions are the clubs who are historically popular, i.e. Liverpool, finishing 7th last season but gaining 3rd spot on the Twitter league table, and of course Newcastle United, who have always had a loyal following - not necessarily a reflection of success, but the fact that they are the only team in a football-mad city.
Chelsea and Manchester City, ranking 2nd and 4th, further supports the findings that Twitter popularity is determined by current success, as historically they have not performed consistently well, Chelsea in particular. Yet in recent years both have positioned highly in the league and gained international recognition coinciding with the dawn of the social media age. Had Twitter existed in the 80’s, Liverpool would be clear at the top of the table and Chelsea would be nowhere near them.
It will be interesting to see who comes out on top at the end of the season; will the newly promoted teams see an increase in followers thanks to the Premier League’s worldwide coverage; will Manchester United climb further up the table and gain the ‘Champions’ status that they perhaps deserve (according to recent league positions), or will Arsenal hold onto the crown?
Below you can see the Twitter league table; feel free to comment and share your thoughts.
Twitter Premier League Table*
|#||Twitter Handle||Twitter Followers||PL Position 2012/13||Twitter Bias|
* Figures correct as at 14/08/2013