As the most popular game in the world, played and watched by the highest volume of people across every race worldwide, football fans have also established a culture of support for their players, coaches, clubs and other parts of the football machinery that helps to deliver high-quality entertainment for billions of fans of the professional game. In the past, the part of the club’s fanbase that attended its games on weekly tickets bought out of a significant chunk of the household budget was the primary target audience for the game. With the revolution that satellite television has brought to professional sports, now these clubs have a way to extend their reach into other avenues and markets, resulting in popularization of the game in previously dormant footballing regions like interior countries of Africa, Asia and Oceania.The following parameters have been used to determine the best fan bases for the purpose of this article:
The 2005 Champions League final was the best European night for Liverpool fans, and they made sure their stamp was felt in the game, as they continued to cheer on their team which had fallen 3 goals behind to the well-oiled Milanese machine.The support certainly played a role in assisting Liverpool’s resurgence into the game, and in their eventual penalty shootout victory.Liverpool fans are spread far and wide into the world, and they take particular pride in making a full public display of their passion. The lone blemish on their otherwise squeaky-clean and fanatic reputation is their involvement in the Heysel tragedy after the European Cup final of 1985.The YNWA anthem is sung by the travelling support in each Premier League, and also in every game they play outside of Britain. Even in preseason, in locations as far-flung as Melbourne, Australia, this anthem is belted out by their fanatical supporters.
2. Borussia Dortmund:
For a city with a population hovering around the 500k figure, the Wembley stadium authorities offered a total of 44,000 tickets for the UEFA Champions League final in 2013. They received over 450,000 enquiries for these tickets, which indicates that nearly 90% of the city’s population was willing to travel from their Rhineside homes to see their heroes through the biggest game of their club careers.This, by itself indicates an immensely high level of deep-rooted love for the club among the fanbase.Dortmund fans are reputed also for their amazing support while travelling, as 20,000 of them travelled to Madrid for the second leg of the semifinal that year and cheered their team past Real at their home stadium. The Westfalonstadion, now called the Signal Iduna Park, witnesses an average turnout of over 80,000 spectators in every game, which is consistently among Europe’s highest figures. They are a nice, well-behaved fanbase, which succeeds in establishing a bond with the localities even in travelling game.Even though they’re a predictable pick for this top spot, the reasoning behind this is quite obvious to most football fans.
A number of online polls have revealed that the biggest chunk of Turkish football fans are believed to back the country’s most famous side, known for creating one of the most fierce and intimidating atmospheres for visiting sides.Ryan Giggs had this to say following an away game at the Turk Telekom Arena: “I’ve never experienced anything like Galatasaray. Two hours before kick-off, we went out to have a look at the pitch and the stadium was packed!”Their fanbase has famously gone overboard, on a number of occasions in league play, throwing flares and various other objects onto the ground during the Fenerbahce-Galatasaray derby, but their level of passion is quite legendary, as is apparent from the confessions of a number of players who can testify to jangled nerves on the ground as they walk on to the pitch to play in front of thousands of these high-voltage fans.
Following a famous match between Celtic and preeminent European powerhouse Barcelona at Celtic Park, which was won 2-1 by the home team, Leo Messi testified thus: “I’ve been fortunate to play in some great stadiums in Europe with Barcelona but none compare to Celtic.“The atmosphere their fans create make it a very special European night of football.” Very little can top the big match atmosphere in Glasgow.Interest in Scottish football has waned ever since the troubles of city rivals Rangers have brought the Scottish league to a virtual standstill, but not long ago, the Old Firm Derby was definitely the most hotly contested game in Britain. Celtic’s fanbase has no mean role in this, playing its role as the 12th man to its team to perfection.
Having previously had the privilege to play host to Argentinian legend Diego Maradona’s greatest exploits at club level, the club is renowned for having one of the highest average attendances in Europe.The Stadio San Paolo has regularly filled its 60,000 capacity stadium with passionate support, and their Champions League involvement over the last 5 years has given them an international reputation and a base to project itself to a greater number of football followers.Napoli have among Italy’s most fanatical fans, who have resorted to a variety of methods to establish publicly the level of their passion for the club. Gonzalo Higuain’s much-maligned transfer to Juventus has surely left them sore in this transfer window, but they have contemporary idols like Insigne and Marek Hamsik to look out for.