By Nicholas Spiller
The question is incredibly difficult to answer. What constitutes being a good fan? Is it the hearty chants and singing? Is it the likelihood of post match riots and brawls? Or is it the sheer number of topless men with letters painted across their chests? Is it the number of scarfs they hold up?
I feel these traits are rather hard to discern in an accurate fashion. Therefore, I have decided to appoint the greatest fans award based on one thing alone: results! Which league has the best home record for its teams?
I analyzed the tables of the top five leagues in Europe this season, which in my opinion are the English Premier League, the German Bundesliga, the French Ligue 1, the Italian Serie A, and the Spanish La Liga. My hypothesis was that the EPL would be the best, followed by the Bundesliga, Serie A, La Liga, and finally Ligue 1. This theory was chosen mainly because I feel that this is the order of fan intensity at matches. The roar of the English faithful after a goal is second to none, and I feel the others follow in that order. Naturally this was merely a guess, and my data was to prove me entirely wrong.
In my calculations, I found the percentages of wins, draws, and losses across the board. However, this was a tough method to crown a champion nation of fans. Should the victory go the Spain, who led the way with a 47% chance of a win for the home team? Or should I select the French, because they had the lowest loss percentage under 24%? Their fans would propel the home team to earn more draws, avoiding the pains of a home defeat.
Again, I decided I must focus on the results! Therefore, I awarded three points for a win and one for a draw. I divided the overall home points in the league by the number of matches and found the average points per home match for each league. The data ranked as such:
1. Spanish La Liga – 1.677 points/game
In a surprising turn of events my hypothesis was astoundingly incorrect. In fact, my top two choices proved to actually be the two worst leagues! I took a few deep breaths to contain myself and analyzed the data some more.
Perhaps the English fans actually were the best because how well they travelled with the support of their away fans! Maybe the referees in the Mediterranean nations of Spain and Italy were all paid off to support the home teams! No, alas simple data had proved a very contentious point.
We must pay our respects to the nation that has dominated world football in our time, Spain. The teams in this league seem to rise to the occasion for their fans. England was in fact the outlier, a whole tenth of a point behind Spain, which is actually unsurprising given the pressure home fans place on their teams. English players and managers are often booed for poor displays and lambasted in the media.
So if you’re ever on a European travel and wish to see a glorious home victory, my recommendation is you head south to Spain or Italy. And if the evidence here is correct, you’ll likely find the best fans there too!
Nicholas Spiller is a freelance soccer writer and can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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