SINGAPORE — The English Premier League (EPL) has become a sports television staple among Singapore football fans since its inaugural season in 1992/93.
These fans will make time during the match weekends to catch their favourite teams in action, more often than not with their fellow sports-loving friends.
Of course, there are clubs which have built up sizeable fan bases in Singapore, following their exploits in the EPL over the years. Here are the most-searched EPL clubs on Yahoo! Singapore this year:
The first two clubs should come as no surprise. Liverpool have returned to the top of the league in recent years, winning the EPL title in the 2019/20 season and adding to their 18 titles won in the English First Division, the precursor to the EPL.
This combination of the Reds' illustrious history and newfound success brought together difference generations of fans to form one of the biggest fan bases in Singapore. Liverpool's pre-season visit to Singapore in July was one of the highlights of the city-state's sports calendar this year.
The Reds' fierce rivals Manchester United also have a strong presence in Singapore. Having won 13 EPL titles under the managerial reign of Alex Ferguson from the 1990s to the early 2010s, their unmatched successes have bred an extraordinary global fan base that has made the Red Devils one of the biggest clubs in the world.
It comes as no surprise that there are plenty of Man United fans in Singapore, and recent visits by the senior team to the city-state have also fuelled their passion for the club. Even though they have yet to win the EPL title since the 2012/13 season, there is no doubt that the Red Devils continue to be a popular club to support.
Devoted fan bases trump newly-successful ones
The next two clubs on the list, Arsenal and Chelsea, are multiple winners of the EPL, and so have garnered a significant share of fans in the region. They have also visited the region in the past decade, and being perennial contenders in the league, retain their fervent fan bases here in Singapore and Southeast Asia.
But it is the next two clubs, Newcastle and Everton, that would have raised eyebrows. While both are well-established and beloved EPL clubs, they have yet to win the league title and, in recent seasons, had battled to avoid relegation.
However, they retain a devoted fan base who continue to support the clubs through thick and thin. And with Newcastle finding a new lease of life following the sale of the club to a consortium led by the sovereign wealth fund of Saudi Arabia, the Magpies are turning again into title challengers in the coming seasons.
Here comes the big shock. Manchester City - winners of four out of the last five EPL titles - are languishing as only the seventh most-searched EPL club in Singapore.
Despite their winning pedigree under manager Pep Guardiola, it seemed their fan base has continued to struggle for growth in this region. Perhaps it could be that City have yet to visit Singapore during their pre-season, but it is surprising that they are ranked much lower than their perennial rivals Liverpool or Man United.
The last three clubs - Tottenham, Leeds and Nottingham Forest - are well-known English clubs who had earned much success in the previous century. They retain their dedicated fan bases even though they had not often featured in title chases.
Leeds and Forest, in particular, have regained prominence after earning promotions from the second-tier Championship back up to the EPL in recent years, and are finding new leases of life - and perhaps new fans along the way.
For more recaps of 2022, visit our Year in Review page.
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