- Manchester United is the most popular English Premier League club on earth.
- Liverpool FC trails rivals Manchester United by just six countries.
- The Liverpool-Manchester megalopolis accounts for the lion share of attention in a mammoth 72% of all nations.
- Combined global wins of Chelsea, Manchester City, Arsenal and Tottenham amounts to just 37 nations.
- Marcelo Bielsa, Miguel Almirón and James Rodriuguez add to the colourful footballing palette of South America .
- Son Heung-min gives Spurs their only starring role, in South Korea.
Manchester United remains the biggest English Premier League club on the planet, but rivals Liverpool has dethroned them as the UK’s most popular footballing institution.
While the Old Trafford club may have fallen away from challenging for trophies in recent years, they cling on to the title as the most popular Premier League club in the world, headlining in 93 of the 250 countries recognised by the International Organisation for Standardisation.
Much fanfare accompanied Liverpool’s ending of a 30-year wait to become league champions last summer but crucial to the Anfield club’s increased global popularity was their adding of a 43rd trophy to their cabinet – 42 pieces of silverware reside at Old Trafford.
Liverpool can now boast top billing in 87 nations, the most notable inroads being made in the Middle East and parts of Northern Africa.
The Liverpool-Manchester megalopolis – the two cities some 35 miles apart – is famed for its historic rivalry in sporting and other senses, and in True Colours of Football study, conducted by William Hill, the pair lay unanimous claim to the lionshare of attention from 180 nations across the globe, a colossal 72% of the planet.
For context, the combined clout of Chelsea (19), Manchester City (9), Arsenal (8) and Spurs (1) only musters 42.52% of Liverpool’s geographical wins on the international stage.
Indicative of the beautiful game’s gravitas in Africa is Uganda, South Sudan and Kenya leading the way in interest in the Premier League’s elite, the UK, home to the game’s origins, fourth – just above Sierra Leone.
Liverpool dominate the northernmost region of the African continent, claiming four of the seven countries, while West Africa appears to be very much a Chelsea stronghold. But it is Manchester United who enjoy the freedom of the continent’s south, dominating swathes of territory from Tanzania’s capital Dodoma to Cape Town in South Africa.
Manchester City’s solitary African outpost, Algeria, is as patriotic as they come, with more than three times more search traffic than their nearest rivals, the coastal nation perhaps tracking the fortunes of tricky Algerian playmaker and former African Footballer of the Year, Riyad Mahrez.
While Liverpool red washes over much of Europe, including the UK, the Middle East and the 17.13 million km² landmass of Russia, big numbers in Southern Asia spend their time following the travails of their Mancunian rivals, United.
Son Heung-min has helped Tottenham Hotspur pass Manchester United to become the most popular foreign club in South Korea by a country mile, but that remains Spurs’ only swatch on the global map.
Manchester City, too, is conspicuous by its absence on the global scene; Bolivia, Algeria, Guatemala and Panama the only others with notable interest in the big-spending Citizens.
Six different clubs add colour to the vibrant palette of football that is South America, with the footballing powerhouses of Mexico and Brazil most compelled to follow Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool side, while the EPL’s only Mexican player Raúl Jiménez elevates Wolverhampton into the second spot in that particular nation, the Midlands club outscoring the likes of Manchester United, Chelsea and Manchester City.
The capture of Columbian poster boy James Rodriguez instantly elevated Everton to El Maximo – the biggest thing there is, Miguel Almirón ensures Newcastle enjoys plenty of Paraguayan affection and Marcelo Bielsa, the enigmatic Argentine who ended Leeds’ 16-year wait for Premier League football, has won the hearts and minds of his countrymen and women back home.
As well as developing a cult following in most of the places he has coached, Bielsa, 64, who watches perched on a bucket, commands widespread influence and has done Leeds’ global profile wonders.
A William Hill spokesperson said: “Football would not be football without the perpetual battles between fans over bragging rights and the figurative size of their respective clubs.
“Every football fan has their own colours. From the white of Spurs and the claret and sky blue of West Ham, to the fiery reds of Manchester United and Liverpool, football colours are iconic and a point for fans to rally around.”