A recent survey of over 1,300 football fans in the UK has uncovered some interesting insights into which fanbases may be more likely to head for the exits before the final whistle.
According to the results collected by Betfair and YouGov, Manchester United supporters topped the list — but they were far from the only fans who have been known to seek an early exit from matches on occasion.
While hardly surprising given their second-place ranking for longest stoppage time added per match on average, the data found that nearly a quarter of fans polled across various teams admitted to having left at least one game early last season. For United supporters, beating traffic seemed to be a primary motivating factor.
Arsenal and Manchester City followed the Red Devils at second and third, respectively, in the standings of fans most prone to making a swift departure. Tottenham, Chelsea, Everton, and Liverpool rounded out the top six teams in this category. Perhaps counterintuitively, Merseyside rivals Liverpool edged out Everton, while Celtic supporters reportedly exit earlier than Rangers fans on average as well.
When asked their thoughts on fans who choose to miss the closing moments, a plurality of respondents claimed to not be bothered either way. However, around 10% of Arsenal backers admitted they may mock thosewho don’t stick around for the final whistle. Curiously, 2% also proposed that early-leavers should be praised instead of scolded.
This weekend’s highly anticipated Arsenal-Man United match may provide an opportunity to see if either set of supporters makes a beeline for the parking lots if their team’s result is decidedly settled well before full time. With traffic and delays always a concern, some fans will no doubt continue exercising their preference for an early start to the journey home.