The football season is over and the time of unsubstantiated transfer rumours is now upon us. In order to stave off the inevitable depression that discussing Arsene Wenger’s failure to actually strengthen the squad will bring about, I instead thought it would be more interesting to have a look through our database of Wi-Fi names in a very unscientific bid to gauge support for the big three London clubs (Arsenal, Chelsea and Millwall Tottenham). And yes, the results are in and no one likes Tottenham.
I’ll admit that certainly seems convenient. 100% of the OpenSignal team that care about football are Arsenal fans, but our commitment to scientific impartiality is worth more than tribal allegiance. If Tottenham had come out more popular we would have gritted our teeth and admitted it, but they haven’t and my teeth are therefore pleasingly un-gritted as I type these words.
So let’s start with the basics (club-name network names found in London that returned more than 5 hits):
Arsenal/Arsenal FC/AFC returns 342 results.
Chelsea/Chelsea FC/CFC returns 627 results.
Tottenham/Spurs/THFC returns 80 results.
(A Note: interestingly there were as many Wi-Fi networks called Tottenham Hotspurs as Tottenham Hotspur)
So far, it’s looking bad for Spurs. To be clear, those count only include those specific terms. There are a fair number of individual ‘Arsenal fan 4 life’ or ‘The_Mighty_Spurs’ but these are scattered (and few) and would be hard to collate. From a casual glance through, however, they also look fairly evenly divided between the teams so can be comfortably discounted. What is interesting is that Chelsea performed almost twice as well as Arsenal and almost eight times as well as Tottenham.
So why do Chelsea perform so well?
Since I obviously can’t accept that it’s just because they’re the most popular club in London, I suggest instead that recent success has led to a greater desire to advertise. Last year’s Champions League success (and to a lesser extent, this year’s Europa League victory). I have two friends who were driven to such heights of ecstasy by last year’s Champions League win that they promptly went out and got large Cheslea Football Club tattoos on their shoulders (neither one had any kind of tattoo up until then). Being victorious is bound to lead to a desire among fans to express their support publicly – and a Wi-Fi name is both public and considerably less permanent than at tattoo.
I also wondered whether there could be overlap with people using the place name Chelsea as their Wi-Fi name, and this leading to mis-attributed support for the Football club. Similar searches through the database for Kensington (3 matches) and Islington (5 matches) would, however, suggest that overlap in this instance is too minor to worry about.
But what about other ways of expressing affiliation, I hear you cry? What about players? What about nicknames? These are obviously important, and again they are hard to quantify, but what (yep, still deeply unscientific) findings again suggest is that Tottenham falls far behind either Chelsea or Arsenal in terms of support. A few more choice selections from our database:
Gunners/Gooners – 104
Thierry – 69
Arsene/Wenger – 25
Didier/Drogba – 105
Lampard – 10
The problem here is identifying a Tottenham player synonymous with the club. For once, that’s not a dig at Tottenham. It’s a similar problem at Arsenal, where turnover of players has made it difficult for any one player to really represent the club (hence why I went for Thierry and Wenger). A search for ‘Gareth Bale’ returned 2 results and just ‘Bale’ returned none.
In short, and much to our delight, Tottenham come out bottom of our ‘Wi-Fi support survey’, while Chelsea (possibly because of the fact that they’ve been much more successful in recent years) come out comfortably top. It’s fine though, the 2014 Premier League Trophy has got Arsenal’s name on it.