The importance of nostalgia and Manchester United's dominance are among Jack Green's main takeaways from our Big Club Survey.
Nostalgia is everything
People love to reminisce about the music, films and television shows that they enjoyed when they were young.
Look up any song from 2005 or earlier on YouTube and you’re guaranteed to find a comment saying: “They don’t make ‘em like this anymore.”
Football is no different.
That Blackburn, Leeds and Nottingham Forest feature in the list of the 20 biggest clubs in the country proves that fans still long for the days of short shorts, muddy pitches and chain-smoking centre-forwards.
It’s clear, given that total silverware was voted the most important category while recent silverware ranked eighth, that supporters will always value sides with a rich history over those enjoying more recent success.
Get out of the armchair
It’s easier than ever to watch football, with last season’s Premier League receiving record TV viewing figures around the world.
Going to games, meanwhile, is becoming increasingly difficult thanks to extortionate ticket prices and train fares.
Nevertheless, football fans still believe that being in the ground is the most important thing, and that a club’s size is highly dependent on their ability to pull supporters into the stadium.
Match-going support ranked as the second-most important category in our survey, above European pedigree, worldwide support and total seasons in the Premier League.
The implication is simple: if you can’t fill your ground, you can’t be considered a big club, regardless of what division you’re in or how much money you spend.
Manchester is red, and so is England
To use an old cliché, if an alien came to Earth and watched last year’s Premier League season, they would never believe that the club that finished sixth, 32 points off their local rivals at the top, were the biggest in their city, never mind the country.
But the results of our survey prove that Manchester United are still the most important football club in England, and will be for a long time.
Despite having finished outside of the top four on four occasions since they last won the Premier League in 2013/14, United topped the big club table by some distance.
That they finished top of six categories, including the two most important – total silverware and match-going support – proves their lead over their rivals is practically unassailable.
The big club debate matters
Nothing gets football fans going like arguing whose club is bigger.
The Big Club Survey received 3,500 responses – far more than we were expecting – and the reception to the results has been impassioned, to say the least.
Hundreds have got involved on Facebook and Twitter, most of them vehemently claiming that their team should be higher in the table.
Arguments like this are part of what makes football fun, and it has been genuinely fascinating to see what supporters believe gives them the bragging rights over their rivals.
We claimed this survey would settle the debate, but that was never going to be the case. In truth, we wouldn’t want it to.
What would we talk about then?
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