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France - home of football fans even shallower than this place

Only in France would a regional newspaper pay to poll the nation as to its preferred équipe in the top division. I think.

Anyway, the results are in, and I've been playing around with them.

Overall, the figures look like so:
So more than half the population 'support' one of a French Big Four - Olympique Marseilles (5), Paris St Germain (12), Lyon (9) or Bordeaux (1). Numbers in brackets are where they finished last season.

Figures from 2004 to date show that OM's level of support has varied from 18-22%, PSG's from 10-11%, Lyon's from 8-17% and Bordeaux's from 3-10%. I'm sure success or otherwise had nothing to do with it...


As ever, the demographic detail is where the real entertainment lies, so here are 'support' figures relative to five regions - Greater Paris etc, NW, NW, SE, and SW:


Attributing each of the 15 teams to one of the five regions, North Westerners emerge as the msot shallow and lacking in regional identification - only 15% support the NW teams Rennes or Le Mans. It is a pretty poor show for Gay Paree at 25% for PSG, and for the North East - 27% root for Lens, Lille, Nancy, Auxerre or Valenciennes. Southerners prove a little less shallow, with 43% of South Westerners following the local(-ish) lads, and the South East leads with 60%.

Digging around in support by political allegiance has Olympique Marseilles leading with all partisans bar Liberals, who narrowly prefer Lyons. Relative to overall levels of support, Trots are half as likely to support Bordeaux as the rest of the population (5% vs 10%), whereas Greens are more likely (13% vs 10%). If you want to avoid Frontistes and Communists, Lens is a good bet, as said club finds no favour with either. The most Gaullist team is PSG. Valenciennes should be renamed Red Star Valenciennes, perhaps, as 10% of PCF voters opt for it, compared to 1% overall. However, Ifop does urge caution with figures for the PCF as numbers polled were limited.

In so far as I have a French team, it is En Avant Guingamp, a not especially good team (13th in the second division last season) from Brittany. Well, I've seen them at the Stade du Roudourou on a few occasions. They won the equivalent of the FA Cup last season though. As to English football, I am a third, maybe fourth generation West Ham follower, and it was the team local to where I grew up. And no, I've never switched allegiance.

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Blogger roym said... 3:28 pm

very interesting.

what is also to note is that the big four by support dont come 1-4 in the league every year.  



Blogger Croydonian said... 3:39 pm

Yeah, the French league is a bit more competitive than ours. OM has not won it since 1992, and were stripped of it for match fixing.

As a point of comparison, our top league has been won by Man Utd, Chelsea, Arsenal and Blackburn Rovers since 1992-93, whereas in that time the French league has been won by OM (note caveat above) PSG, Nantes, Auxerre, Monaco, Lens, Bordeaux and Lyons.  



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