It’s Official – Hopes of Newcastle Fans Are Fading
You may recall I did a piece of market research (it’s what I do for a living) before the first game of the season (see it HERE).
I was trying to prove the point that fans of all clubs start the season in an optimistic frame of mind. It worked – not many fans saw their team being relegated, and even clubs like newly-promoted Watford had fans who anticipated a comfortable mid-table finish for the most part.
Now the season is half done, I ran the same piece again. Responses were gathered after the games around Boxing Day and before the first of the New Year fixtures.
I ought to say that everyone we interviewed was aged 18 or over; we aren’t allowed to invite anyone younger than that. Everyone is a member of our panel, so have been verified as being who they say they are. We filtered out anyone who supported a team in a different league, and – obviously – anyone who didn’t like football. We ended up interviewing 3,274 fans of Premier League teams. I have no idea whether they are fanatics, hold season tickets etc; they just describe themselves as supporters.
No one was asked to try and compile a league table, just say where they believed their team would end up in the league. We took those positions, averaged them, and sorted them from top to bottom. This is what we got at the start of the season compared to what we see now:
So – compared with fans of other clubs, those who support Newcastle are – on average – the 18th most optimistic in the Premier League. In other words, no matter where you think we may end the season, most other fans think their club will do better, and – if everyone is right – Newcastle will be relegated. Newcastle fans were the 14th most optimistic at the start of the season; we’d bought new players, we had a new manager, and our owner had even spoken in public about doing the right things.
But a half season of poor results, poor tactics and – for the most part – a lack of desire in the squad, has made most fans lose what optimism they had before the Southampton game.
Unsurprisingly, fans of Chelsea, Southampton, Swansea and Villa have seen their pre-season optimism disappear with the leaves on the trees. Bournemouth, Watford, Palace and – of course – Leicester have fans who are, on average, much more optimistic than they were in August.
That first table shows how fans stack up against each other. Now let’s take a look at the average position people think their team will end the season in, and compare it with what they thought in August:
The first thing to say is fans of the worst sides in the league want to believe the best. The average Villa fan – even though they are the least optimistic of all – thinks they will end up around 17th.
At the start of the season, the average Newcastle fan – if there is such a thing – thought we would end up between 10th and 11th in the table. Now he or she thinks we’ll end May 15th in 15th place.
Lastly, let’s look at the percentage of fans who think their team WILL be relegated:
Those are the really alarming stats. Villa fans seem to be smelling the coffee for the most part, and an appropriate number of mackems appear to be doing the same (the interviews were carried out before the latter beat the former, so that could change).
21% of Geordies think we’ll go down. That means 79% of Toon fans think we WON’T go down. The bad news is that no other team in the league have fans who are anywhere near as pessimistic as us.
Right now, only Toon, Villa and the mackems have a significant number of fans who anticipate relegation. Only 7 teams are left with any fans who see relegation ahead, and I think we’ll forgive the 2% of Chelsea fans who are clearly mourning the loss of a loved one.
Obviously, all of this could change, and fans don’t know everything. But fans of Stoke know as much as fans of Bournemouth, fans of manure know as much as fans of West Brom, and fans of every team know as much as we do. We don’t have a monopoly on wisdom.
But when we asked fans of Premier League teams what they thought about their team, the verdict from Newcastle fans was bleak.
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