Football fans all have a secret spot for a club that they don’t actually support.
Yes, while that might sound like a sweeping statement of blasphemous proportions, we’d put down money that every supporter has a thing on the side for another club whether they like to admit it or not.
Besides, while some footballing hipsters would hold their hands up and admit to loving about 29 teams, even the most diehard of, say, Burton Albion fans might have a secret crush on Liverpool.
Secret crushes on certain clubs
Whether that’s down to the philosophy of the club, the type of football they play or simply because you adore one of their players, we all have a great reverence for some rival teams compared to others.
Even if you’re still shaking your head and cursing the state of modern football, we’re surely safe in saying that the most diehard of Tottenham Hotspur fans wouldn’t hate Middlesbrough as much as they do Arsenal.
Anyhow, no doubt you get the broad picture by now and believe it or not, these secret crushes have more crossovers than you might believe with certain clubs getting an inordinate amount of love from their rivals.
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Which clubs do fans love or hate?
And the same can be said of the most disliked teams, too, with various controversies, policies or key figures potentially leading to more fans than most having a quiet disdain for everything that they do.
So, bearing this all in mind, we wanted to look even closer at this fascinating football phenomena, and Tiermaker has provided the perfect opportunity to do so with one of their community rankings.
‘What is that?’ we hear you ask. Well, it’s the average results from over 1,400 people who have submitted their rankings for the list: “Football teams like or not,” for approximately 50 football clubs.
Football clubs ranked by fans
Or in other words, it’s a damn good indicator of the teams that football fans love and hate the most with tiers ranging from ‘the club of your heart’ all the way down to ‘absolutely disgusting’. Geez.
So, without further ado, be sure to check out the clubs that have the most secret crushes and the most unabashed haters by checking out how the Tiermaker community ranking down below:
Celta Vigo, FC Koln, Rayo Vallecano, Osasuna, Alaves, Deportivo de La Coruña, Newell’s Old Boys, Cadiz, Eibar, St. Pauli, Las Palmas and Real Racing Club
What did half of Spanish football do to annoy people?! Maybe some of these lesser-known clubs have just been thrown to the wayside because, well, they’re lesser-known clubs.
Either way, unless we’re having a brain freeze and forgetting some major controversy that all these clubs share, we can’t help thinking that ‘absolutely disgusting’ comes across a little strong.
Lionel Messi certainly won’t be happy to see his boyhood club pulled through the mud and you can rest assured that St. Pauli’s cult following will have something to say about their low placement.
Celtic, Athletic Bilbao, Newcastle United, Schalke, Villarreal, Real Betis, River Plate and Brighton & Hove Albion
Wowsers, strong words. We won’t wade too deep into Celtic’s placement, which is admittedly the most eye-catching, but it’s certainly interesting that Rangers don’t feature as a point of comparison.
Meanwhile, ‘big dislike’ might evolve in terms of Newcastle from the much-maligned reign of Mike Ashley to human rights debates and Financial Fair Play concerns after the Public Investment Fund takeover.
As for Brighton, we’re a little bit miffed that the good work of Graham Potter to mould the Seagulls into a thoroughly entertaining side has fallen upon deaf ears as the joint-lowest ranked English club.
And clearly the theme of the Tiermaker is La Liga bashing with a smattering of other Spanish clubs not getting a lot of love from the fans.
Valencia, FC Porto, Real Sociedad, West Ham United, Sporting CP, Boca Juniors, Marseille, Benfica and Lazio
Clearly the whole Iberian peninsula is getting a pasting today because all three of Portugal’s biggest clubs have attracted a ‘small dislike’ from football fans apparently. Our apologies, Primeira Liga.
Elsewhere, you always get the feeling that West Ham tend to wind up more than a few fans, but this position does seem a little harsh when you consider their swashbuckling class under David Moyes.
And we’re also a little surprised to see Boca Juniors not getting much love despite being the home of so many Argentine icons, including Diego Maradona, as well as being universally adored by footballing hipsters.
Sevilla, Lyon and RB Leipzig
Let’s be honest here, we all expected RB Leipzig to finish a lot lower down, didn’t we? Maybe their gorgeous football kits are outweighing all the hate and disdain for their relationship with Red Bull.
Tottenham Hotspur, Paris Saint-Germain, Napoli and AS Roma
Poor old Spurs are often loved by rival fans because, well, they tend to bottle the big moments and provide hours of entertainment in the form of schadenfreude. Maybe things just evened out here.
And who knows, maybe PSG have finished up at PH 7 with the love for Neymar, Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe, as well as the city of Paris, counterbalancing the high-spending and dominance of Ligue 1.
Meanwhile, nobody is more Marmite in world football than Jose Mourinho, so something feels poetic about his AS Roma side finishing smack in the middle with fans equalling loving and hating them.
Liverpool, Juventus, Atletico Madrid, Inter Milan, Real Madrid, Leicester City, Arsenal and Manchester City
Do you know what? This position kind of makes sense for Liverpool because as much as rival fans like to bash Kopites, hence some crueller votes evening things out, you’ve simply got to respect the club.
From the remarkable atmosphere of Anfield to the legends that have taken to the Merseyside turf, you’d like to hope that every fan would have a ‘small like’ for the Reds. Ok, maybe that’s ambitious.
Arsenal clearly still have credit in the bank from the Arsene Wenger days because even when they were tripping over their own legs, you could always rely on them to deliver eye-catching football.
It’s also no surprise to see Leicester getting lots of hugs and kisses because their run to the Premier League title against 5,000-1 odds seemingly made them everybody’s second favourite club.
Chelsea, Manchester United and Barcelona
Chelsea?! Fair play everyone and we have nothing against the Blues, but it’s not often that you see them ranking very highly in lists like these when you consider the spending and sackings of Roman Abramovich.
Maybe they’re not holding the club accountable for their owners, which is fair enough, but their ranking might well decline on the back of certain season ticket holders seeing their fees tripled.
As for United and Barcelona, it’s not surprising to see two revered elder statesmen of the game getting the tip of the hat from so many fans, particularly for the ‘Mes que un club’ motto of the latter.
The club of your heart
Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund and AC Milan
Ah yes, Germany, the land of beers in the stands, season tickets that are actually reasonable and fans having a say in the way that the club is run. It’s all starting to make sense at the top.
We’ll just have to let off Bayern for their constant domination of the Bundesliga by hoovering up RB Leipzig players down to their brilliant pricing and defence against the European Super League.
And finally, there’s an AC Milan fan inside all of us, isn’t there? Ok, that’s an exaggeration, but it just seems a given at this point that half of football fans are in love with those red and black stripes.
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Which clubs do you love and hate?
So, there you have it, no doubt there are some general themes that have averaged out over more than 1,000 tier lists that you agree with despite all the controversy and debate it will inevitably bring.
It’s not surprising to see two of Germany’s biggest clubs flying high at the top when you consider just how much the nation’s clubs factor in the fans with everything from ownership to season tickets.
But you might have to help us out with why Rayo Vallecano, Celta Vigo, Eibar and seemingly half of Spanish football has been getting so much hate. It’s hard to keep up with all the controversy in football these days…
However, all that being said, we just like to think of this Tiermaker as a Tinder-like ranking of the clubs that rival fans have the most affection for and there’s no shame in ranking a little lower in that.
We’ll just have to ignore the whole ‘big dislike’ and ‘absolutely disgusting’ bits. Steady on, people.