Please note: This does not necessarily represent the views of FourFourTwo. Blame John instead.
These days, many supporters consume football through their Twitter feed and only occasionally glance up to check on the action. A win doesn’t feel like a win unless it’s backed up with online hyperbole, and a loss simply cannot be justified with anything other than a foul-mouthed Facebook rant. Some even make a living from being a football fan on the internet (got to hand it to them, really).
But which club has the most irritating set of social media supporters? Based on nothing other than objectivity and a life spent sat in front of a laptop during Premier League weekends, here’s the (official, honest) top-flight rankings – from the most bearable fanbase, to the slightly deplorable, to the ones who make you want to poke your eyes out with a stick.
You can’t really begrudge Southampton fans for gloating online. Every year they have their best players and managers poached, but Saints always find a way to come back stronger the following campaign.
Their team plays nice football, too, and the only notable Southampton TV pundit, Matt Le Tissier, is an all-round good bloke. There are a few accounts dedicated to how evil Dejan Lovren is, but we’re happy to let that slide.
I think of everyone on the planet I hate Dejan Lovren the most— Laurie Symons (@LaurieSymons13) March 20, 2016
Swansea fans are the Switzerland of the Premier League: nobody hates them, primarily because they don’t do all that much. Their biggest Twitter accounts usually have 5,000-odd followers and are seemingly run by reasonable people, while most of them get behind their managers – it was pundits and Soccer AM who seemed to have the biggest problem with Bob Bradley’s Americanisms. Under Paul Clement, they’re rolling along nicely and everyone's rather content.
Swansea I love you! Paul Clement I love you!— (@BigChrisDinero) January 21, 2017
Sunderland fans aren’t annoying online – they’re just very, very upset. For their own happiness the Black Cats should get relegated, so they can remind their supporters what it’s like to win consecutive matches.
Their primary beef with other fans – when they’re not fighting each other about a lack of transfers or David Moyes – revolves around Jermain Defoe's absence from the England squad.
Burnley fans are like their manager Sean Dyche: old school. They do their supporting at Turf Moor rather than on bedroom laptops, and there aren’t many @SimplyVokes or @DeadlyBarton accounts knocking about, manically trolling rivals Blackburn Rovers or organising cringeworthy airplane banner stunts.
16. Manchester City
Of all the top-six clubs, Manchester City’s online community is comfortably the least torturous. BlueMoonRising is one of the better fan YouTube channels, with supporters usually analytical rather than vitriolic.
Watch this clip of a City fan after his team's 4-0 loss at Everton, for example, and then imagine how ArsenalFanTV would have reacted.
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Nobody could find Leicester fans celebrating last year’s success grating, with many neutrals also sharing in their delight. Gary Lineker is mostly bearable and the only reason they’re not lower in this league is the small number who turned on Claudio Ranieri – although in fairness, they're probably just all sufferers of long-term memory loss. Probably. The always-excellent Jamie Vardy memes help their cause, too.
Slimani and vardy have the potential to be the greatest strike partnership of all time— Liam (@liamfrancis1996) September 17, 2016
Although the pedestal upon which they place God-like figure Troy Deeney is high, it’s hard to get too wound up by e-Hornets. Yes, their temporary belief that Odion Ighalo should win the Ballon d’Or, the Nobel Peace Prize and the US Presidential election was ridiculous, but it was more cute than annoying.
TROY DEENEY YOU ARE GOD.— Sammy Brown (@_SFJB1) July 1, 2016
Online Tigers haven't been shy in voicing their opinion about the club's owners – with good reason – but heck, it could be worse. Phil Brown is long gone.
It's depressing being an Hull City fan.— UMER (@umer_hull) December 14, 2016
12. West Brom
Mid-table, just where Tony Pulis wants them. Internet Baggies have slowly come around to the Welshman’s ways; his football ain’t pretty, but it’s mighty effective (blah, blah, blah).
This supporter gets it.
Everton fans are cautious online, and generally opt against revelling in Liverpool's misfortune due to the fear that their own side will soon make them look silly. Large Twitter accounts like @GrandOldTeam give genuine Everton opinion, while ToffeeTV is excellent.
It’s only a few plonkers, the type who think Ross Barkley is the lovechild of Diego Maradona and Paul Gascoigne, that let them down.
I said four years ago Barkley reminds me so much of Paul Gascoigne so much talent at times— PAUL PETERSON (@PaulSlapper) February 3, 2016
Bournemouth are a relatively small club, so there isn’t really a visible online Cherries army. However, following their poor recent run of form, a #HoweOut brigade has emerged, which is pretty astonishing considering they owe almost everything to the 39-year-old.
Aitor Karanka took Boro up from the Championship, where they’d lingered for years, but many online supporters consistently troll the Spaniard for his team’s lack of goals. They're not in the relegation zone and have a fighting chance of staying up having spent very little, but for some reason their fans feel hard done by.
The fickleness of Stoke fans is perhaps unrivalled: Bojan was a hero until he was offloaded, while they still can't decide whether they prefer Tony Pulis's physical approach or Mark Hughes's faux-Barcelona style. Their belief that Xherdan Shaqiri and Ibrahim Affelay are good players because they're decent on FIFA 17 is also rather irksome.
Nowhere near as irritating as their north London neighbours, but Spurs still comfortably make the top 10 for one reason only: MC Saundierez’s barbaric ‘You just got Kane'd’ video.
It’s not right.
Liverpool’s online following is huge, largely delusional and entitled. According to internet Reds, their side are either Champions League winners or League One-standard rubbish – depending entirely on last weekend’s result.
Professional fansites like RedMenTV and The Anfield Wrap are excellent, but they’re let down by the reactionists. There’s a genuine #KloppOut brigade right now, which is beginning to take a similar shape to the mob that wanted Brendan Rodgers gone. Oh, and every time owner John W. Henry tweets, supporters bombard his feed with ‘SIGN REUS’ messages. Original.
A lot of the more annoying Chelsea fans who patrol the internet started supporting the club in 2003, when Roman Abramovich pumped in billions, so this fifth-placed ranking is perhaps unfair on those who toiled through the 1990s.
But this chap below doesn’t fit into that category – he’s a lawyer talking after a home defeat last term. Wow.
4. Crystal Palace
Via the internet, Palace fans have convinced themselves that they’re one of London’s biggest clubs. Buying Christian Benteke didn’t help, with some suggesting Europa League was the minimum requirement this season. Thankfully they didn’t win the FA Cup last year, or Alan Pardew’s dance would have been vindicated.
Also, this fan thinks keeper Steve Mandanda is world class.
3. Manchester United
How to be a Manchester United fan on the internet:
Step 1: Pick a handle like @SimplyMartial, @PogbaTekkers or @DangerousDeGea
Step 2: Manically discuss whether ‘Player X’ is better than ‘Prime Gerrard’ and decide that he definitely is.
VALENCIA BEST RIGHT BACK OF ALL TIME— David. (@Rooney_esque) May 1, 2016
2. West Ham
The move to the London Stadium and the brilliance of Dimitri Payet did terrible things to online Hammers last season. Ahead of the 2016/17 campaign some believed Liverpool were their closest rivals for a top-four spot, and that Zlatan Ibrahimovic would snub United to join them instead.
Then they lost to ‘Astra Go-Go’ in the Europa League play-offs and with it, the plot. Don’t let your kids watch the video below, and definitely don't take them to the London Stadium any time soon.
Until Arsene Wenger leaves, this is the closest Arsenal will get to a title. The Gooners absolutely walk the annoying fan league and extend their lead at the top season after season. ArsenalFanTV has made a group of core supporters famous, including the guy obsessed with net spend, the wannabe grime artist who stabs his Wenger voodoo doll each night, and the angry one with a giant bullring through the centre of his nose.
There’s hundreds of brilliantly awful clips out there (host Robbie does a fine job, in fairness), but nothing comes close to this music single by ‘The Away Boyz’. Try to watch it without bringing up your breakfast.
Oh, and Piers Morgan.
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- 9 reasons why everyone hates... West Ham
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