Many footie fans 'live in fantasy land' - report

JON WELCH Many football fans are living in a fantasy world dreaming of never-to-be-realised glories, according to a new report. Link to the football pools article

JON WELCH

Many football fans are living in a fantasy world dreaming of never-to-be-realised glories, according to a new report.

They are eternal optimists, always believing their team will perform better than they actually do.

And despite endless seasons of dashed hopes, unrealised ambitions and tattered dreams, they go on with hope in their hearts - and heads in the clouds.

The “Football Fan-tasy” report, by Littlewoods Football Pools, reveals the expected ecstasy and the inevitable agony - mostly agony - of the average football fan, ranking clubs in a “Dreamers Index”.

Supporters of each of the Premiership and Football League's clubs were given a score between zero (“doom merchants”) and 100 (“eternally optimistic”) according to their expectations and how they measured up with past achievements.

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Norwich City fans score 61, somewhere between “realistic” and “overconfident”. Like supporters of the 91 other teams, they were asked where their team would be in five years; which trophies they would win; whether the current manager would still be in charge, and if not, how many managers would have succeeded him; and what the club's financial position was likely to be.

Statisticians then analysed against each club's record over the past five years and looked ahead another five years to judge how realistic those expectations were.

Fans of Norwich's rivals Ipswich Town, however, are more pessimistic than the Canaries, scoring 56.

The report reminds readers that Norwich were a top-flight side in the first half of the 1990s and made a brief return in 2004-05.

“No immediate sign of a revival, though, which makes the fans' prediction of a Premiership return within the next few years somewhat puzzling,” it adds.

“They don't believe it will be with Peter Grant in charge, so who is this mystery wonder-boss? Answers on a postcard, please.”

The report notes “two years of under-achievement” for Ipswich since getting into the play-offs, but found fans of the Suffolk club believe they, too, will get back to the Premiership.

Kathy Blake, secretary of Norwich City Independent Supporters Association (NCISA), said: “Blind optimism at this time of the season is normal for me.

“Our fans are up there with the best when it comes to support, but they are realistic and keep coming back whether the team do well or not. The expectation of winning everything only usually lasts until the end of August.”

Phil Ham, editor of Ipswich Town fanzine Those Were The Days, said: “I don't think it comes as any surprise that Norwich fans are great dreamers. We have a very long and glorious history behind us and don't need to dream.”

Mr Ham said he expected Town, currently in debt to the tune of £28m, to be in a better financial position in five years' time.

“It's almost impossible to tell. Who would have believed five years ago that half the Premiership would have been owned by American baseball billionaires, Russian oligarchs, alleged Thai torturers and Icelandic biscuit magnates?”

Manchester City fans are the Premier League's biggest dreamers with 81 points, while Hull City's supporters have the highest expectations of any Coca-Cola Championship side at 79 points.

The gloomiest fans, meanwhile, are supporters of Southampton, Bournemouth, Mansfield and Brentford.

Jon Sheehy, of Littlewoods, said: “By separating fact from fiction, we've hopefully given fans of all clubs the chance to see whether their dreams for the future are likely to come true, or simply cause more misery and heartache.”

Link to the football pools article