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Club or Country? See the Results of our Football Fan Survey!

Club or Country? See the Results of our Football Fan Survey!
Posted in: General

Club or Country? See the Results of our Football Fan Survey!

Club vs country - it’s one of the oldest debates in football, and it affects managers, players and fans alike. What is truly more important - securing the league title for your beloved hometown club, or lifting an international trophy and making your country proud? If push came to shove, which one would you choose?

Just ahead of Euro 2020, TOFFS conducted a survey of 757 people in the UK to find out what football fans really thought about this debate! Our findings provide some thought-provoking insights into where the footballing public’s loyalties really lie - along with a few potentially surprising views!

The full findings of our survey can be seen below; please feel free to quote or republish these figures, citing TOFFS at www.toffs.com if you do so!

Key trends and findings

It’s official - UK football fans prefer club football to internationals!

  • When asked whether they preferred watching club football or international football, 62.75% of respondents said they are more engaged watching the domestic game, with only 10.83% choosing internationals, and 26.42% saying they like both equally
  • Fans are also more loyal to the club sides they support, with 61.96% saying that seeing their chosen club win a match means more to them than seeing their country win an international, while only 14.13% would rather see their country win
  • When rating their current level of satisfaction with club football on a scale of 1 to 5, fans offered an average rating of 3.36, whereas international football was rated slightly lower at 3.12

Fans would rather see their club win the FA Cup than their country win Euro 2020!

  • 57.60% of fans would rather see their club team win promotion or a major title like the Premier League or UEFA Champions League than see their country win Euro 2020, with only 22.72% saying they would rather see an international victory
  • This held true even for lesser domestic competitions - 53.24% would rather their club win a trophy such as the FA Cup, League Cup or Europa League than see their nation lift the Euro 2020 trophy, with only 26.82% prioritising Euro 2020 glory

Why do fans prefer club football?

  • When asked to say whether they preferred club football or international football on a number of measures of enjoyment and quality, club football was chosen almost every time!
  • Key areas where fans prefer club football include: the quality of the football, the passion of the fans, the drama and spectacle, and the feeling when your team wins
  • The area where club football was shown to have the biggest advantage was the intensity of the rivalries. 74.57% said club football has the edge here, compared to only 6.52% who said international rivalries were more intense
  • The only measure where international football was said to have a clear advantage was the opportunity to see the world's best players in action. 49.27% said international competitions like Euro 2020 offer a better venue for this, compared to 29.27% who said the club game offers better access to the biggest stars
  • Fans were split on which type of football offers a better sense of occasion surrounding the biggest matches, with club and international football receiving shares of around 36% each, while 28.76% said both were equal

Do fans of bigger/smaller clubs have a different perspective?

  • Fans of the biggest teams were less likely to think international football was superior in terms of showcasing the world’s best players. Around 40% of fans who support teams that regularly compete for league titles said club football was a better showcase of top superstars, compared to 30% who said internationals were better
  • By contrast, fans of clubs in the Championship and below are more likely to see internationals as the best venue to see the very best talent on display. 52% of fans of lower-league clubs preferred the quality of football offered by internationals, while 67% said it offers a better way of seeing the world’s best players
  • However, there was no real difference between fans of bigger and smaller clubs in terms of preferring to see their club teams succeed, rather than international sides

Do fans like seeing their club’s players competing in internationals?

  • Although they largely prefer the club game, fans are still largely positive about seeing their club’s players called up to represent their international sides
  • 65.79% said they would feel proud of any of their team’s players who were selected to represent their country for a major tournament like Euro 2020, while 61.69% feel increased pride in their club when this happens
  • A similar percentage (63.28%) would feel this same pride if a player was called up for a competitive midseason international game, such as a World Cup qualifying match, but this drops to 48.61% when talking about international friendlies
  • 18.49% worry that international tournaments could have a negative impact on their players’ fitness, rising to 25.23% for midseason international games and 31.44% for friendlies
    However, only a small minority would rather see their club’s players pull out of internationals. Only 3.17% feel this way about their players’ involvement in a major tournament, rising only slightly to 5.28% for other competitive international matches and 15.59% for friendly matches

The 2021 European Super League controversy has not significantly dented fans’ interest in club or international football

  • The protests and outcry over the controversial European Super League plans do not seem to have had any major impact on fans’ enthusiasm for the sport in general
  • 76.75% of fans said the controversy has had no impact on their anticipation for Euro 2020, though around 15% have seen their enthusiasm decline to some extent
  • 56.14% said the events had not impacted their interest in club football, but a higher number said their enthusiasm has waned to some degree, at around 32%

The fans have their say!

Our survey also offered fans the opportunity to share more detailed opinions on a number of key questions posed by the survey. Here are a few of the best:

What is the very best aspect of club football, which you believe cannot be replicated by international football?

  • “The importance of regular matches - 10 months playing each year vs the odd game.”
  • “AFC Wimbledon is my local team; I’m not particularly patriotic towards my country, but I’m proud of where I’m from (South London).”
  • “It brings fans from different countries together, when they are supporting their national teams they are divided.”
  • “The longstanding connection you have with the club and the friends you share the ride with.”
  • “The best part of club football is the sense of belonging. It is yours - you belong to this small group of people and everyone else is on the outside. International football can’t replicate that, as it is just full of bandwagon jumpers.”


What is the very best aspect of international football, which you believe cannot be replicated by club football?

  • “Getting to see one nation getting behind a team of homegrown players.”
  • “Coming together of traditional rivals to celebrate together.”
  • “The grand occasions like the World Cup final, which is always the biggest game in football.”
  • “The intense global effect, as well as local, of competitive football in the Euros, World Cup and Copa America. The proud feeling of a winning nation.”
  • “Short, sharp periods of interest - ie, loads of football packed into a short window that the casual fan can invest in, rather than having to pay attention for a whole season (or a lifetime, really!)”

What would you like to see international football learn from club football?

  • “More meaningful fixtures, so that even friendlies matter to the players, in a way that even end-of-season games between mid-division club teams have a bit of spice. The Nations League isn't achieving this.”
  • “Better involvement for supporters, e.g. in the UK matches tend to be played at one place only, which is great for anyone living locally to attend, but can be an almost impossible challenge for anyone living a couple of hundred miles away.”
  • “Quality, not quantity. The Premier League has stayed at 20 teams for years and is great. Increasing the number of teams in the Euros/World Cup dilutes the quality, doesn’t improve it.”
  • “I think they are both fine as they are - the fan experience should be different. Different passions. Clubs should also come first, so less pressure should be put on players.”“How to handle racism better and be more open to all, no matter their background, beliefs or sexual orientation.”

What would you like to see club football learn from international football?

  • “Be more imaginative - make the most of players in your squad instead of signing new players.”
  • “The pride of players from wearing the shirt, not just a half-hearted gesture to kiss the shirt when they score. Less movement of players around the clubs, as used to be the case years ago. Possibly even a minimum contract period for all players of say three years during which they cannot move?”
  • “Money doesn’t necessarily buy success, as small nations can succeed.”
  • “I think players are more respectful of the officials at international level.”
  • “England games are very fairly priced for members, also ballots give the biggest fans a guaranteed ticket while still leaving space for other members in a lottery.”

The complete survey findings

Do you prefer watching club football or international football?

Answer Choices

Responses

Club football

62.75%

475

International football

10.83%

82

Both equally

26.42%

200

What means more to you: seeing your club team win a game, or seeing your international team win a game?

Answer Choices

Responses

Club team victory

61.96%

469

International victory

14.13%

107

Both are equal

23.91%

181

Which would you rather see: your club team winning a domestic league title/major European honour (ie, UEFA Champions League)/promotion to a higher league, or your international team winning Euro 2020?

Answer Choices

Responses

Club team victory

57.60%

436

International victory

22.72%

172

Both are equal

19.68%

149

Which would you rather see: your club team winning a domestic trophy (ie FA Cup, League Cup, Scottish Cup, EFL Trophy)/minor European honour (ie Europa League/UEFA Super Cup), or your international team winning Euro 2020?

Answer Choices

Responses

Club team victory

53.24%

403

International victory

26.82%

203

Both are equal

19.95%

151

Between club football and international football, which is superior in terms of the following:

 

Club football

International football

Both are equal

The quality of the football

50.13%

378

29.58%

223

20.29%

153

Seeing the world's best players in action

29.27%

221

49.27%

372

21.46%

162

Seeing the world's best managers in action

53.00%

398

23.57%

177

23.44%

176

The passion of the fans

57.18%

430

13.03%

98

29.79%

224

The drama and spectacle surrounding the game

47.21%

356

22.81%

172

29.97%

226

The sense of occasion surrounding the biggest matches

35.69%

268

35.55%

267

28.76%

216

The intensity of the rivalries

74.57%

560

6.52%

49

18.91%

142

The feeling when your team wins

59.52%

447

11.72%

88

28.76%

216

The purity and fairness of the competition

31.82%

239

19.44%

146

48.74%

366

The chances of a surprise result or underdog triumph

49.47%

372

20.21%

152

30.32%

228

The community celebration after a victory

39.55%

297

34.35%

258

26.10%

196

Avoiding toxicity and abuse surrounding the game

23.40%

176

26.20%

197

50.40%

379

How would you feel if one of your team's players was selected to represent your country for a major international tournament during the off-season, such as the World Cup or Euro 2020? Tick all that apply.

Answer Choices

Responses

Pride in the player

65.79%

498

Pride in your club

61.69%

467

Pride in your country

39.10%

296

Indifferent

8.59%

65

Concerned about the potential impact on the player's fitness

18.49%

140

Desire to see the player perform well, for the sake of your country's success

28.53%

216

Desire to see the player perform well, in the hope that it will benefit your club

29.85%

226

Would prefer that the player did not take part

3.17%

24

How would you feel if one of your team's players was selected to represent your country for a competitive international game (such as a World Cup qualifying match) during the league season? Tick all that apply.

Answer Choices

Responses

Pride in the player

63.28%

479

Pride in your club

54.82%

415

Pride in your country

36.72%

278

Indifferent

8.19%

62

Concerned about the potential impact on the player's fitness

25.23%

191

Desire to see the player perform well, for the sake of your country's success

28.93%

219

Desire to see the player perform well, in the hope that it will benefit your club

27.08%

205

Would prefer that the player did not take part

5.28%

40

How would you feel if one of your team's players was selected to represent your country for an international friendly game during the league season? Tick all that apply.

Answer Choices

Responses

Pride in the player

48.61%

368

Pride in your club

42.40%

321

Pride in your country

27.61%

209

Indifferent

16.78%

127

Concerned about the potential impact on the player's fitness

31.44%

238

Desire to see the player perform well, for the sake of your country's success

19.82%

150

Desire to see the player perform well, in the hope that it will benefit your club

21.00%

159

Would prefer that the player did not take part

15.59%

118

Please rate your satisfaction with the current state of club football and international football on a scale of 1 to 5, where 1 is the lowest and 5 is the highest.

 

1

2

3

4

5

Club football

6.68%

50

10.95%

82

35.51%

266

33.38%

250

13.48%

101

International football

7.32%

55

15.85%

119

39.95%

300

31.03%

233

5.86%

44

Has the recent controversy over the European Super League increased or decreased your interest in club football?

Answer Choices

Responses

Significantly increased

3.57%

27

Increased

7.93%

60

Decreased

23.38%

177

Significantly decreased

8.98%

68

No impact

56.14%

425

Has the recent controversy over the European Super League increased or decreased your interest in Euro 2020?

Answer Choices

Responses

Significantly increased

1.59%

12

Increased

6.61%

50

Decreased

10.70%

81

Significantly decreased

4.36%

33

No impact

76.75%

581

1 year ago
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