Football is a game of numbers, as fans we relish statistics. The dizzying amounts of data that is thrown at us before a televised game or displayed on the big screen at grounds is often lapped up by supporters everywhere. Our friends at Zoo magazine have provided us with a wave of statistics and this has got tongues wagging around the Tavern, our dizzy minds today not caused by snakebite, instead by all these fresh figures, so lets get stuck in.
I am going to have a look at who voters have settled on as being the best current Premiership player, and personally as a fan who likes to watch as many games as possible both home and away I am going to delve into the findings for the best away support as well as the best away grounds to visit, so without further ado, lets get it on!
Best Premier League Player
To kick off, lets have a look at who fans think the best players in the top flight currently are, the results were as follows:
Vidic – 6%
Rooney – 4%
Scholes – 4%
Bale – 12%
Modric – 4%
Gerrard – 21%
Lampard – 2%
Van Der Vaart – 7%
Nasri – 11%
Fabregas – 14%
Tevez – 13%
Other – 6%
Firstly my gut reaction is that people voting for Gerrard must have been basing their decision on his entire career, the Liverpool midfielder winning by such a land slide seems highly unlikely to me based on current form. The stand out performer for me this season has been Samir Nasri and for him to come in with just 11% of the vote seems strange.
There are relatively few other surprises for me on the list, however Wayne Rooney has been poor this season, I am unsure what games 4% of the voters have been watching! On a personal level Tevez getting 13% of the vote is pleasing, but I can’t help but feel Silva should have been represented somewhere as I think he has performed far better than some players in the list namely Paul Scholes and Frank Lampard.
One of the potential signings of the Season Van der Vaart probably also deserves a higher vote, he has been fantastic for Tottenham and it is baffling to me that he has not received more votes from the football watching public. I think in some ways there is evidence here of stats being skewed by clubs who have more ‘online’ supporters than others. There a lot of United fans in the world and therefore a lot of votes for their players, but I highly doubt hard core United fans would have Scholes and Rooney on this list based on this season.
Right, lets move onto the next area that I chosen to have a look at:
Best Away Supporters In Britain
Celtic – 8%
West Ham – 6%
Leeds – 5%
Newcastle – 14%
Everton – 2%
Liverpool – 28%
Man United – 12%
Man City – 5%
Tottenham – 8%
Other – 13%
So of all the teams in Britain these are the 9 that got the most votes. There are no real surprises maybe in terms of names, when I think back to good away support I have seen at Eastlands these are the teams that I think of, there is perhaps however a bit of surprise in the actual figures.
In my mind the best away support I have seen is probably Newcastle, and I am surprised that they were beaten out by Liverpool. YNWA is always an impressive specticle when they travel in numbers and probably ensures them a place in the top 3 or 4, but in my mind them coming out top is a bit of a surprise.
The nature of Manchester United support is interesting too, games at Old Trafford can tend to be a bit lifeless and at times a bit like a library, this is mostly because of the day trippers, but their away support is always impressive and their hard core can make a real racket when it is required.
Leeds are the only non top flight team to make the list, in many ways there support is Premier League in terms of numbers, and again they are a passionate bunch who always make a lot of noise.
Interesting to see Celtic appear as the only non-English team, I wonder what makes their support better than that of their closest rivals Rangers.
Finally what about the grounds that visiting fans most like to go too, well the results for that poll are as follows:
Best Away Ground To Visit
White Hart Lane – 7%
Emirates Stadium – 27%
Anfield – 19%
Old Trafford – 22%
Britannia Stadium – 4%
Villa Park – 4%
Elland Road – 4%
Other – 12%
Old Trafford, the 2nd best ground in the country to visit as an away supporter? Really? Now I realise the go to response for many of you will just be to label me a bitter and give me some stick, but I just don’t see it. The atmosphere at United home games is never that special, it is a stadium that is really difficult to get in and out of and it is showing its age.
Obviously the football on show is of the highest quality but as an all round experience I am not sure it is deserving of being second in this poll. I am pretty sure that the high percentage for Old Trafford, is probably down to a high number of votes coming from supporters of the club itself!
The Emirates is a deserved winner here in my mind, it is a wonderful modern stadium, great views, the atmosphere may not be one of the best but its not terrible and it is comfortable, what more could a visiting supporter ask for? Anfield has a high percentage which again must be down to the atmosphere the old stadium creates, what the ground loses in terms of facilities it is more than made up for by the Liverpool fans who are generally top quality.
The only other real surprise to me is Villa Park, a grand old stadium, but I have never really seen it is as a wonderful stadium to visit, the atmosphere can be a bit flat and although the away section is pretty well positioned I have never seen it as an away trip that I have particularly looked forward too over others.
There we have it, as my colleagues continue to bring you the results of this poll, I am sure patterns will begin to emerge, and we can see the start of them here. Clubs that are well supported ‘online’ are clearly going to have an advantage, and I suspect that is the case with some of these results, but at the end of the day we all love a statistic and lets be honest, these ones are far more interesting than how many passes Doncaster will complete on Saturday!
For more thoughts, stories, features, rumours and news, follow me on twitter @soccercityjoe!
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