From travelling thousands of miles and missing friends’ weddings to naming children and pets after star players, football fans are more obsessed with the beautiful game than ever before, a new poll has revealed featuring tales from fans of Aston Villa, Manchester City and Chelsea.
MBNA, the largest provider of football credit cards, carried out a survey to highlight the lengths to which UK football fans will go for their beloved teams.
The findings, based on responses from over 1000 football fans in the UK, show the tireless efforts that supporters go to and the depth of feeling and commitment that they have for their club.
The research revealed fans across the country are prepared to travel far and wide to support their teams.
Despite the average fan living 90 miles from their home team, a third of all fans go to the match once a month and 10 percent of fans go weekly.
Over half of all football fans have travelled over 100 miles to see their side in action, while seven percent have clocked up over 500 miles on a match-day to follow their team.
Over one millions fans (five percent) have travelled 1000 miles to see their team play – the equivalent of a 16 hour-long journey.
Mark Goodwin, for instance, an Aston Villa fan, has travelled all over the world to countries including Russia, Turkey, Denmark, France, Spain, Italy, Czech Republic and Austria to watch the Clarets.
Goodwin told MBNA: "I have not missed a domestic game since 1980 and have only missed one game in all competitions since 1983.
"Last year I was on holiday in Portugal when Villa qualified for the Intertoto Cup. I immediately cut my holiday short by two days, flew back to the UK and jumped straight on another flight to Iceland to see the match."
The poll also reveals that true supporters will do anything to be there on match-day – even to the extent of missing their child’s own birth (three percent).
A third of all respondents owned up to missing a significant family or personal occasion to attend a football game while 10 percent have missed the wedding of a close family member or friend.
Manchester City fan Lee Griffin told MBNA: "I have missed many important family occasions including my sister-in-law’s fiances stag weekend and countless birthdays.
"I even bought my original Maine Road season ticket seats so that, on the very few occasions I am unable to make it to a game, I can re-create the ground in my lounge."
MBNA spokesperson John Greaves said: "I don’t believe there is a better example of a passionate and loyal person than a true football fan.
"Our new research demonstrates the great lengths fans go to every week and the emotion and energy they invest in supporting their club."
And the passion for football goes even beyond those on the terraces.
Former Leicester City striker and football pundit Steve Claridge recently came out of retirement at the age of 43 to play for former club Weymouth for free, just for the love of the game.
"I have always had passion," he said. "I remember in 1984, my Dad gave me a car for my 18th birthday. I loved it but I desperately wanted to watch Liverpool vs Roma in the European Cup final in Rome so I sold the car and used the money to get to the game.
"We won on penalties and it was all worth it, even if my Dad wasn’t best pleased."
Caroline Hall, a Chelsea fan, revealed her family’s support for the Londoners even extends to the reason behind their pets names.
"Our three cats are also named after the team or players," she said. "I am certain Chelsea, Franco and Rudy also love the Blues!"
Football seems not only to take priority on a match-day, but also plays an important part of a fan’s daily routine.
The findings revealed over 75 percent of respondents talk about football at least weekly while the top one percent of fans spend over 40 hours a week watching football matches and related news.
Supporters turn to TV, websites, newspapers and official club websites to keep up-to-date with news on their team.
The research marks the launch of MBNA’s new website for football fans.
The site is dedicated to passionate fans across the country and provides up-to-minute news, discounted merchandise and competitions featuring exclusive match tickets.
Visit www.footballcreditcards.com for more information and your chance to purchase a credit card branded with your club’s badge and colours.comments