Southampton U21’s 2 Norwich City U21’s 0: Monday 29th September 2014

30 Sep

DSCF3679

The U21 Premier League has had a rather short existence. Set up for the 2012/13 season response to several clubs simply abandoning structured reserve-team football for a regimen of behind-closed-doors friendlies between development squads’. The new league would focus on youth – hence the name U21 league – though a limited number of over-age players are permitted (three outfield players and the goalkeeper) .

Many games are still played away from public view – partly no doubt due to a concern that others will seek to poach the assets of the future, but the new league’s rules stipulated that at least three games must be played at the clubs main stadium “to enhance the matchday experience for the young players and fans.” 

One of the chief attractions of these games is always the chance to see future talent. To say I was one of the first people to see a legendary player – This is not unlike the kudos a music-lover achieves from seeing a band at a tiny venue before-they-were-famous. Of course this is always a retrospective pleasure as most of the names on the team-sheet will be unfamiliar, save for the one or two who have made a handful of first-team appearances.

The scorer of the first goal Harrison Reed, is amongst that number having appeared in the first team. His speculative shot taking a fortunate deflection to ensure it evaded the Norwich goalkeeper. Luck aside, it was a deserved goal and a deserved victory which was made certain by Jason McCarthy’s second half goal.

The players appearing tonight display undoubtable skill – as you would expect from products of the renowned Southampton academy. Among them Matt Targett who has been with the club since the age of eight – provided a solid defensive performance, while Omar Rowe on the left wing continually harried the Norwich defence.

Playing on the very turf of arguably the world’s top league the U21’s seem within touching distance of untold riches, of being millionaires. Yet, they are still, in reality, far away. According to the PFA around three-quarters of players who are with league clubs will be out of the professional game by the time they reach 21. 

For some young players the fall will be great. It was revealed recently  that 150 ex-players are currently in prison. Among them Michael Branch; change in manger was cited as being the root cause  in the case of his long fall from promising young player at Everton in the late nineties and which concluded with him being imprisoned in 2012 after a police raid had uncovered £50,000 worth of cocaine in his house

Many though will simply disappear from view, maybe playing non-league, maybe moving abroad, or simply hanging up their boots. In some cases the margin between success and failure can be thin, as well as arbitrary: Illness, injury, change of management, a bad choice can all end a career at this fragile time. A shot can be deflected away from the net as well as into it.

State of Football Blogging 2014: Survey Results

24 Sep

In a Guardian article listing 100 football blogs to follow in the new year published on December the 31st 2010 James Dart, looking ahead to 2011, posed the following question:

The year of the blog? Very possibly, especially with the current batch of outstanding sites out there which have grown, improved, developed and cross-pollinated in recent times.

Four and a half years on however, and the landscape appears different. Rather than looking to the future with optimism a number of high-profile bloggers have asked whether the era of the blog is over.

In an eloquent post Jonathan F of the blog Just Football asked the question Is football blogging dying? Or just morphing into something new? He observes:

I’ve seen many a debate on Twitter about The State of Football Blogging and, often, the reasons given by those who chose to pack it in fall into one of three categories: time constraints, it wasn’t going anywhere and/or it wasn’t fun anymore.

As any other blogger this is a topic I have many thoughts on, but seeing these debates gave me an idea. Rather than simply write a post outlining my views I decided to design a survey for football bloggers which would ask about their site, their plans for the future and their view of football blogging.


 

Methodology:

The questionnaire was hosted on Surveymonkey and was open to responses between the 31/08/14 to the 15/09/14. The survey was promoted via the WSC forum, the Singletrack mountain-bike forum and Twitter. To increase the response rate individual bloggers were then tweeted and invited to complete the survey. Lists of blogs were obtained from Twitter, Google searches and lists of top football blogs.

In total 42 bloggers completed the survey. As there is no definitive list of how many active football bloggers there are it is impossible to determine the relationship between the sample size and the overall population. The response data however, indicates that the 42 bloggers represent a reasonably wide spread of the football blogging community. There do though need to be considerations; firstly recruitment via Twitter may mean bloggers who don’t use Twitter are under-represented. Secondly there were, due to language issues, more of a focus (though not entirely) on English language blogs.


 

How long have you been running a football blog?

Blogging is a comparatively recent activity which has been facilitated by the growth of the internet. Of the two biggest platforms Blogger was started in 1999, dating its birth to the tech-boom, and was subsequently acquired by Google in 2003 – the year in which rival platform WordPress was first launched.

Of the 42 bloggers who responded 14 had been running a football blog for 5+ years, representing 31% of the total. In the scheme of blogging these can be regarded as seasoned bloggers. A further 14 had reported running a football blog for 3-4 years, representing 33.3% of the total. 13 respondent’s reported that they had been running a football blog for 1-2 years while only 2 respondent’s reported running a football blog for less than one year – a mere 4.8%

Length of blogging

This shows that just under two-thirds of football bloggers have been running a football blog for at least three years, while just over a third have been running a blog for less than three years. There also appears to be relatively few bloggers who are new to blogging.

There are two possible explanations for this. The first is that bloggers who have taken up football blogging in the past year are under-represented in the survey. New Bloggers may be less visible, particularly as search engines favour established blogs. They are also possibly less likely to be on Twitter and may even be less likely to complete a survey on football blogging.

The alternative explanation is that there are fewer people taking up football blogging. Those tempted to blog may also be put off by what appears to be a relatively crowded marketplace, or as one blogger explained “ Other formats are easier – photos on Flickr, Facebook, Tumblr, etc – don’t take so much effort. Also, I don’t think blogs are perceived as “cool” any more, so people are less likely to start them.”


 

Blogging activity

Looking at bloggers current activity levels, the single highest number, 12, reported posting more, than monthly, but less than weekly. Only seven bloggers reported posting less frequently, and a similar small number, four bloggers, reported posting daily. Only a small minority of bloggers post daily – though as we will see these represent a distinct group.

Freq posting

 


 

Daily visitors

The profile of daily visitors is an interesting one. Twelve bloggers reported visitors in the lowest category, less than 50. This was largest amount for a single category, with the number of blogs roughly diminishing as the category for the number of visitors increased. Set against this however, was a small, but significant number of seven blogs who all received 1,000+ visitors per day.

Blog visitors

The key difference between these 1000+ visitors-a-day blogs (which can probably be regarded as the super-blogs) and the rest of the field appears to be the frequency of posting. All four of the respondents who reported posting on a daily basis were in the 1000+ group  and an additional two reported their posting frequency as being more than weekly, but less than daily.


 

Plans for the Next 12 Months

When asked about how they saw their their blogging activity changing over the next 12 months, the majority of bloggers indicated they anticipated this either staying the same, or increasing; Of this group 19 bloggers reported that they expected activity levels to stay the same with 13 expecting their activity levels to be increasing. By contrast only a small number, five, indicated they anticipated there being a decrease in their blogging activity whilst only three bloggers suggested they planned to stop altogether.

Change activity blogging

When asked why they were decreasing, or stopping altogether seven of the eight provided reasons. Three clear themes emerged from this. The most common reason was time which was provided by six of the group. Four of the group suggested that motivation, or general disillusionment was an issue with one blogger mentioning they had a “dwindling interest in football.” Two bloggers referred to lack of ideas, while one mentioned that there was no longer a need for their website.

Delving behind the headline figures comparing the bloggers who reported increasing their activity, to those reducing their activity, or stopping altogether produces some interesting results.

Burn out may indeed be an issue as it appears to be bloggers who have been blogging for at least three years who are more likely to give up – though equally some bloggers at that point are considering increasing their activity.

Blogging intentions by years

The next factor is current activity levels. Half of those who plan on decreasing their activity report posting at a rate of less than monthly. This suggests that they have either decreased activity already, or are more casual bloggers. By contrast all four bloggers who reported posting daily plan to increase their activity levels. Another five who plan on increasing their activity currently report posting on a basis of more than weekly, but less than daily.

Blog intentions by activity

Finally if we look at visitor numbers the distribution again appears similar – that is until we reach the 1000+ visitors-per-day group. It appears that these are by far more likely to be increasing their activity. In fact five out of the seven indicate they plan to increase activity over the next twelve months.

Blog int by visitors


 

Challenges

When asked to describe the biggest challenges facing their blog over the next 12 months, 31 bloggers responded. Interestingly the main challenges highlighted were very similar to the reasons provided by the bloggers who indicated they would be reducing their activity levels, suggesting there is a bit of overlap.

Blogging challenges

Time again emerged as the key issue, being mentioned by 12 bloggers. A particular issue is fitting the time for blogging in around other commitments. As one blogger stated their biggest challenge was “trying to find the time, fitting it in with my full time job”

In addition bloggers face the challenge of generating new, good quality and original content – something which can be particularly time-consuming. 8 bloggers referred to this as one of their main challenges.

A number of bloggers also referred to the challenges of increasing, or maintaining readership with 7 bloggers mentioning this as amongst their main challenges. Four bloggers referred to the challenge of maintaining their enthusiasm, or motivation.


 

Evolution

One suggestion which has been made is that bloggers need to innovate by using media such as video, or exploring other new content. When asked to pick from a list what they plan to over the next 12 months (if they do not do so already) bloggers provided the following responses:

innovation

The biggest single area was collaboration with other bloggers. 24 bloggers reported they were planning on doing this in the next 12 months. This covers things such as guest posts however, could also include other collaborative pieces such as the Football Attic’s League of Blogs where bloggers are invited to submit a design for a football kit and club crest. The second most popular item on the list was interviews, chosen by 13 bloggers while 9 bloggers selected podcasts and articles on other topics was chosen by 8 bloggers.


 

Too many blogs?

A common complaint of bloggers – though by no means a universal one – is that there are simply too many football blogs. Of the 42 bloggers in the survey just under half, 20 bloggers, stated that they felt there were currently too many football blogs. 8 bloggers felt there were the right amount while another 8 thought there was not enough. A further 6 responded that they were not sure.

Too many blogs

For those bloggers who feel the market is already over-saturated looking to the future would seem to provide little comfort. A clear majority of bloggers, some 24, indicated that they expect the number of football blogs in 12 months time to have increased. Only four bloggers predicted there will be a decrease.

One question however, is whether the issue is the number of blogs, or the type, as one blogger observed

There need to be more good club blogs, especially in the lower divisions. There need to be more in depth, researched pieces and less that simply provide match reports


 

Bloggers on blogging

When asked their views on football blogging in general 36 of the 42 bloggers provided a response. A number of over-arching themes emerged, with one of the biggest themes being discussion around the quality of football blogs. Though many bloggers agreed there were good quality blogs, they also suggested there were a significant number of poor quality blogs

There are lots of very good ones and ones that ‘need improving’ a lot ! Loads of good ones and loads of bad onesToo many want to do it, so the quality is diluted.A lot of very poor attempts out there. Few ideas on what they want to say and how they want to say it

One common complaint was that content was too “samey”

Some very very good lower league stuff, but also a lot of very commercial guff out there just regurgitating the same stuff over & over.

There’s too much generic stuff going on, while content theft is rife and nothing appears to be done.

Another blogger made the point that some of the issues with content may be due to bloggers peripheral status:

The same stuff everywhere. We have no access to write anything of value and everyone is too nice to players and teams

There were, however a few bloggers who were more unreservedly positive about football blogging and the impact of blogs, providing a good alternative to the mainstream.

I probably spend as much time reading football blogs as I do reading professional football journalism. There are some excellent writers blogging, and the best manage to combine a passion for a club, or a section of the sport, with genuine insight and wit.

Several other themes in the comments touched on bloggers motivations. Football blogging has been regarded by some as a route into the paid profession of sports journalism, and indeed there have been instances of bloggers making this transition. One debate is about how many opportunities that exist – likely to be very little – and whether over-saturation is making it harder for such writers to get noticed:

A lot of great young writers, struggling to get an opportunity to progress down to the lack of opportunities out there.

Although, the market is over-saturated at the minute and it is becoming harder for the higher quality bloggers to shine through, there is still opportunities there to turn blogging into a career in football journalism.

One blogger suggested that the solution is for aspiring football journalists to find a niche

if you are a football blogger and genuinely want to try and engineer a way into the journalism industry, my advice would be to write about things which are different and original.

Other bloggers though emphasised that blogging was purely a hobby – an activity which was an end in itself

Just fine. And also, who cares? If you do something for fun, what does it matter what anyone else thinks?

Not really about making money out of it, just the satisfaction of people reading and (if they feel moved to do so) interacting with it.

People need to blog more and tweet less and people need to be less concerned with hits and concentrate on the main point of it which is to enjoy it.

It’s saturated, sure, but unless you’re worried about making money—professional writing is a separate topic in my opinion—who cares?

This sense of corinthian spirit appears to also result in a general dislike of blogs which appear to prioritise revenue generating above quality. One blogger suggested that one problem was that blogging is..

saturated by people thinking they can make a quick buck, who quickly realise that you can’t unless you write deliberately misleading headlines – which many then do

Similarly there is some questioning over those who see blogging as a route to stardom

Too many people are writing to try and get hits and think they’re going to become the next ‘top football journalist’ and get themselves gigs on radio and TV.

In terms of bloggings relationship with other forms of media one blogger saw the relationship between blogs and the mainstream media as problematic, whilst another suggested that platforms are providing greater competition.

Mainstream publications are using bloggers more and more to fill their webpages and garner click-throughs and I think this is detrimental to the overall state of football blogging

Competition from other platforms (eg Twitter) and rise of MSM “blogs” (often unpaid or low paid writers who began by writing for their own blogs) means making an impact is more difficult

Within the blogging arena, the question of mega-blogs also came up, with a blogger suggesting that these had changed the spirit of blogging

Lots of good writers are generally overlooked in favour of ‘mega-blogs’ who favour hits over content. Very cutthroat and missing much of the comraderie of the initial boom. Acts as a metaphor for modern football, I suppose.

With thanks to all the bloggers who took part

Twitter Followers or Average Attendance?

18 Sep
In one of my recent articles I put forward the idea that average attendances have become less important as an indicator of a clubs level of support and potential. This is based on two things:
  1. As clubs income streams diversify attendance has become less reliable as an indicator of a clubs financial potential
  2. Attendances are subject to physical limits and therefore may not reveal the true differences in supporter bases between clubs
My view was that Twitter followers could be used as a measure for clubs wider support.
As a test of this I decided to run some simple tests of correlation using the following data:

Finance data from the 2014 Deloitte Football Finance League. This contains details of the revenues made by the top 20 revenue generating clubs in Europe, using financial information from the 2012/13 season.

Average attendances from the 2012/13 season

Current UEFA correlation coefficients

Twitter followers

 

UEFA coefficients:

The UEFA coefficient is in effect a ranking based upon a clubs results in European competition. Like the FIFA rankings it is based upon several years worth of results. Quite simplistically this measures a clubs success on the pitch. Taking the 20 money league clubs there is a correlation coefficient of 0.71 between a clubs number of Twitter followers and its UEFA coefficient (the maximum is either -1 or +1). This compares to 0.57 for average attendance. If we just took the top 10 money league clubs the correlation coefficient for attendance drops to just 0.34, compared to 0.69 for the number of Twitter followers.

correlation twitter 2

Revenue

Looking at total revenue for the top 20 the result is much closer. For the top 20 money league clubs the correlation between total revenue and Twitter followers was 0.66 compared to 0.60 for attendances. Again looking at just the top 15 the correlation coefficient for Twitter followers rises to 0.72 while for attendance it weakens to 0.54. Looking at just the top five however, the correlation between Twitter followers and revenues becomes an even stronger 0.93, compared to 0.50 for attendances. This seems to support the point that the number of Twitter followers better captures the differential between the top
clubs who thanks to physical constraints are all likely to have similar ground capacities, yet may have very different levels of wider support and therefore earning potential.

  • Correlation twitter
  • Conclusions
  • This brief analysis shows that when compared to average attendance the number of Twitter followers appears to be strongly correlated with clubs on field success and revenue generating ability. For revenue generation more so, when looking at the handful of top clubs.In both cases – success and revenue generating – it is reasonable to assume that both are related to a clubs profile in that successful clubs attract more support, while more support should lead to more success by boosting resources such as cash revenue.
  • There are a number of issues. Firstly Twitter (and other social media platforms) have different levels of penetration in different
    geographical areas, therefore English clubs may be over-represented compared to say, Eastern European sides where Twitter is not the dominant platform. This makes the figures less comparable than attendances. Data is also less available as unlike attendances, it is not (yet) routinely recorded.This though provides a challenge to find new ways. One possibility is to use a composite social media index which works across platforms. Survey data may also prove useful in determining the extent of clubs profiles.
  • Correlation Coefficients: UEFA Coefficient
  •                          Twitter Followers       Average Attendance 12/13
    Top 20                         0.71                               0.57
    Top 15                          0.67                              0.36
    Top 10                          0.69                              0.35
    Top 5                            0.82                              0.78
  • Correlation Coefficients: Total Revenue
  •                           Twitter Followers       Average Attendance 12/13
    Top 20                           0.66                             0.60
    Top 15                            0.72                             0.54
    Top 10                            0.65                             0.77
    Top 5                              0.93                             0.50

Saints and Pompey – Some more analysis

12 Sep

It seems that the map I posted the other day has generated a fair bit of interest. In the discussion which has taken place there have been some key points raised about the validity of the map and some further discussion about what some of the other figures reveal about both clubs support profiles. This post is to address some of these issues.

Gosport and Emsworth

Though these are both in red on the map, I don’t believe they are bastions of Saints support. In total there were 87 Saints supporters and 74 Pompey supporters who responded to the survey. Discounting the areas outside the SO/PO area this left 49 saints Supporters and 52 Pompey supporters.

As many of these were concentrated within the city boundaries themselves this meant that the results for some of the areas outside the respective cities could suffer from response bias. Undoubtedly increasing the sample size would resolve this, but at the end of the day the exercise was just meant as a bit of fun and not to be taken entirely seriously.

If this were to be a serious exercise with time and a budget then the best way to establish both clubs support in the region would be to take a stratified random sample which is based on each postcode areas overall population. To do this would need a complete as possible list of addresses, or phone numbers, some money and a lot of time.

Why don’t more people from surrounding areas support the teams?

Despite the relatively small sample size there were some interesting conclusions which has led to some interesting debate. The Emsworth/Gosport situation came about mainly because both teams support is concentrated within the city boundaries. Step outside of these and the number of people who identify themselves as supporters of either club diminishes.

I’ve gone back to the figures from the survey and separated the postcodes which constitute (in main) the respective cities: SO14 – SO19 and PO1 – PO6

In the case of the SO14 – SO19 postcodes this was home to 20 Saints supporters who responded to the survey, representing 23% of the overall support for the club. In PO1 – PO6 there were 25 Pompey supporters accounting for 34% of the total support for that club.

Looking at the rest of the SO postcode area there were 16 Saints supporters in the survey representing 18% of the total number of club supporters who responded to the survey and in wider PO area (excluding the Isle of Wight) there were 16 Pompey fans accounting for 22% of the clubs support. The Isle of Wight accounted for 6% of Saints supporters and 4% of Pompey supporters. Support from beyond the SO and PO areas accounted for a total of 44% of Saints following and 34% of Portsmouth’s. what this suggests is that while Pompey has a much more concentrated support base the Saints enjoy a greater share of support from beyond the region. In some ways this figures as a Premier League club invariably attracts more attention.

per cent from each area1

It needs to be remembered though that the geographic bulk of the SO and PO areas lies outside the two city boundaries. If we look at the number of supporters per postcode area we can see how dramatic the change is. Unlike the percentages the figures between the two clubs aren’t strictly comparable, but nonetheless provide a good indication of how the level of support diminishes.

amrnded postcode average

Within the Southampton itself there were, on average, 3.3 responding Saints supporters per postcode area. For Pompey there was, on average, 4.2 responding Pompey supporters within the city boundary. Step over the boundary though and in the wider PO area there was, on average 1 Pompey supporter per postcode and in the wider SO area the figure was 0.9.

The question this leads to is why is support so sparse outside the city boundaries, in places like Gosport, Emsworth, Hedge-end and Romsey? Undoubtedly there are plenty of fans from those areas, but if, as I have done you do the cyberspace equivalent of standing with a clipboard and collaring 87 Saints fans they are more likely to be from a postcode area within Southampton itself, or from a postcode completely outside the region than they are from Eastleigh. In fact the chance of them being from Eastleigh is quite small – hence the Gosport/Emsworth problem.

One explanation may be population. Southampton and Portsmouth are the largest cities in the region with (according to the ONS figures for 2012) populations of 239,428 and 206,836 respectively so it may be that more supporters can be expected to come from these areas than the wider region. This is a possibility, but the areas around the cities are also well populated Eastleigh Borough has a population of 126,764 Test Valley of 117,032 , Winchester 117,702 while Fareham and Gosport’s combined population is 196,078 and Havant’s is 121,271. The postcodes outside the cities are also larger to take into account population density.

The other explanation, and the one I favour, is that in both Southampton and Portsmouth, and particularly in those areas where support is strongest – older suburbs and estates the clubs are a much stronger force when it comes to peoples identities. In Millbrook Southampton, just near the Saints Pub, is a water tower on a block of flats painted in red and white stripes. On the other side of town, in SO19 there is a café named after a former Saints manager and also decked out in red and white stripes, and the windows of the Bitterne Park hotel in SO18 has recently acquired Saints crests on all the windows.

By contrast outside these heartlands, across the city boundaries, there are few visible signs of the clubs. There are also local non-league clubs like Eastleigh who have reached the Conference and Gosport and Havant & Waterlooville play in the Conference South. More than that though I believe that in places like Park Gate, Titchfield and Whitely it is not a case of choosing Saints, or Pompey. The choice is far more likely to be between Liverpool, Arsenal, Man United and Chelsea. People living in these in-between suburbs can, if they want follow any of these clubs closely on Television, or via a medium like Twitter – there is no need to go to the ground of one of the clubs which is closest geographically to see a game.

Saints and Pompey: Mapping the Rivalry

10 Sep

Saints Pompey MapFor anyone on the south coast with (or even without) an interest in football it is hard to escape the rivalry between Southampton and Portsmouth’s respective football clubs. More than one book has been devoted to the subject – one of the best being Colin Farmery’s Seventeen Miles from Paradise and it’s a rivalry that I’ve always found fascinating as I am born in Southampton, but have worked in the Portsmouth area for some time.

I had the idea of plotting the two teams spheres of influence on a map, so decided to run a simple survey. In April 2014 I asked supporters of both clubs for the first half of their postcode and which team they supported; Saints, Pompey, or both. In total 166 supporters responded;  87 Southampton supporters 74 Portsmouth Supporters and  5 who followed both. This allowed me to create the map, but beyond this the results of the simple survey showed some other interesting things about the two clubs support base.

The Heartlands

The Saints Pub SO16

The Saints Pub SO16

For each clubs the survey responses suggest around a quarter of their support comes from four postcode areas. In Portsmouth these are in order PO2, PO4, PO3 and PO6 which together account for 27% of the clubs supporters. In Southampton it s SO18, SO16, SO19 and SO31 which together account for 23% of support. Interestingly these areas bear a number of similarities, the heartlands tending to be older suburbs which lie within the city boundaries. A walk around heartlands will also reveal numerous signs of the respective teams whether it’s crests stencilled on pub windows, flags in cafes, or water towers painted in team colours.

Pompey top 4

Saints top 4

The fringes

Almost immediately outside of the city boundaries the number of respondents identifying as supporters of either club appears to fall dramatically. Just outside of the Southampton City boundary the SO30 postcode which covers Hedge-end and SO50 postcode covering Eastleigh had only one response each, whilst in Portsmouth none of the 74 Pompey supporters who responded  to the survey came from the PO10 Emsworth and PO12 Gosport areas. Many of these areas have their own non-league teams which may claim some allegiances however, it could well be that dwellers in these outer suburbs and satellites feel freer to support clubs like Chelsea, Arsenal and Man Utd via their televisions.

No-man’s land

Old maps of the area show Southampton and Portsmouth as two separate and very distinct entities however over the last 50 years the areas in between have become increasingly developed and enmeshed to the point where you can travel from the heart of one city to the heart of the other without ever straying from a built -up area. One question this raises is at what point in this conurbation do allegiances switch. Mark Sanderson, writing for WSC magazine, puts this at Locks Heath, a point roughly equidistant between the two.  This would appear to be backed up by the survey. Locks Heath lies at the very edge of the SO31 postcode area and SO31, which also covers Park Gate and Hamble, was overwhelmingy in the Southampton camp, however a step over the line into the PO14 postcode, covering Stubbington and Titchfield sees the sole Southampton supporter  outnumbered by two Portsmouth supporters

no mans land three

The Island

Often overlooked when talking about the rivalry is the Isle of Wight, but as the survey showed the island has a part to play accounting for .6% of Southampton supporters and 4% of Portsmouth Supporters. The island, which does not host a league football team of its own, is closely connected to the two mainlaind cities being linked by the ferry ports at Cowes and Ryde.

Diaspora

For both clubs a significant amount of supporters who responded to the survey were from outside the Southampton, Portsmouth and Isle of Wight areas. In the case of Portsmouth this was 34% and for Southampton 44%. Some of these came from other parts of the wider region, including the New Forest, Salisbury, Guildford and Reading areas but in both cases at least a fifth of supporters came from areas beyond this, from places like Birmingham, Norwich, Glasgow and even South Africa. This could be related to both the clubs profiles – Southampton in the Premier League and Portsmouth having won the FA cup in 2008. This level of profile may attract fans from beyond the clubs geographic region. More likely though is that, people have had a connection with one of the cities, through having lived there, studied there, worked there, or having close family members from there. A prime example being one respondent, a Saints supporter, now residing in Singapore mentioned they had previously lived in the SO22 postcode.

Supporters of both

It will be surprising to many to hear that there are indeed people who identify themselves as supporters of both clubs. This though is not without precedent. Rumour has it that up until comparatively recently there would be people who switched between grounds when one team, or the other was playing away. There is also the phenomenon of the ‘star-chasers’ – Southampton residents who travelled to watch the great Pompey teams of the immediate post-war period at a time when
Southampton were a second division club. In total though there were only four respondents in this category. Three of
these lived in the PO postcode area and one outside the region. None were from the no-man’s land area which stretches in-between the two cities.

saints pompey by areaSaints pie chartPompey pie chart

both chart

rivalry table

With thanks to all those who completed the survey

Response to some criticisms 14/09/2014

Well, the interest in this post has been phenomenal. Almost 1000 views in the past three days. There has though been some criticism of the survey. I have addressed these points more fully here, and in the comments section on this post, but as a brief recap here is a point I wish to make about the survey:

This was intended primarily as a bit of fun, to satisfy some interest which I, and quite clearly other people, have  in the topic.  Ideally I would have taken a random sample of people in each postcode in proportion to the overall population of the areas, but this takes time, money and a list of addresses, or phone numbers – no online survey will ever be fully representative. If other people want to do this then they are welcome to.

In the event 166 people responded. As with any survey response size can affect the results. I have made no secret of how many  responses were received and the methodology I have used.  The map has been made based on the responses received and it is up to people to draw their own conclusions from this – it is what it is.

AFC Station 0 – 4 Thompson FC Southampton Saturday League Junior 4

7 Sep

For non-league day I had planned to visit the Silverlake Stadium for Eastleigh v Southport, but circumstances intervened which saw me on babysitting duty. Football would have to wait, or so I thought. As we approached the playpark at Riverside Park I happened to notice the changing pavilion open and some players warming up on the pitch for what must be a Saturday League game, the names AFC Station and Thompson FC written in marker on a whiteboard. I would be seeing some football after all.

It’s been a while since I’ve played 11-a-side, but I instantly recognised the warm up routine of crosses into the box – different to 5-a-side which involves players pelting the balls at the unfortunate ‘keeper (me) until the referee signals the start of the game. It was AFC station who were warming up. With half an hour to go until the start of the game there was no sign of the opposition.

By the time Thompson FC trickled onto the pitch, just before the scheduled kick-off time,  AFC Station had moved to an organised routine of jogging across the pitch.  but as the game began taking shape Halfway through helping my daughter up a climbing frame I noticed a Thompson FC forward through on goal. The Station ‘keeper remaining resolutely on his line. “Come on… close him down” I said, involuntarily, half under my breath, as I fought the practised urge of my leg muscles to dash forward with my arms spread like a orang-utan. The ‘keeper though stayed on his line watching the striker send his shot trickling wide, only leaving his position to begin the long jog to retrieve the ball.

Half an hour in and it was clear that there was an inevitability to the result. AFC Station were holding on admirably and benefiting from the odd bit of luck and some bad finishing whilst a Thompson shot which did find itself on target drew a fine save from the ‘keeper, but as legs became tired they would be sure to benefit from the extra space available (and indeed the FA full-time website confirms Thompson FC won 4-0). 

My time in the park though was at an end. As we left we passed along the sideline where one teams manager was pacing restlessly barking instructions. A scene no doubt which was repeated in parks across the country. My youngest daughter, transfixed by the action, tripped over a crack in the footpath. I helped her up and through her tears she turned her head, determined to carry on watching the game as we walked back to the car.

 

 

Football Clubs on Twitter: Infographic

4 Sep

Twitter infographic

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