The old cliche about fans of the biggest teams being over-privileged may be right, according to new research.
Data collected on supporters leaving grounds early shines the spotlight on fans of top six clubs, with Manchester United coming out worst of all.
Everton fans have certainly had their own reasons for slipping off early this season
And that’s put them top of the rankingsBetfair & YouGOV
Even with trophies a regular feature, Champions League football and the world’s best players on display, supporters of the Premier League giants sometimes can’t stay the 90 minutes.
Liverpool and Everton are others who scarper, though not the worst offenders despite the latter’s support having to watch a possible relegation battle.
There may also be a correlation with stadium size, given the European behemoths topping the list, and research from Betfair and YouGOV suggests that’s true with ‘beating the traffic’ the top reason for leaving matches early.
A leading 35 per cent of fans listed traffic as their reason for an early departure, followed by 30 per cent who based their decision on their team getting thrashed.
That’s certainly true for leaders United and Arsenal, with the former handing a record 7-0 defeat to Liverpool last season, while Gunners fans were seen flooding out of the Emirates when their title challenge collapsed with a 3-0 loss to Brighton.
However, there shouldn’t be too much shame over leaving early, with 23 per cent of fans surveyed admitting they left a game early last season.
Data was collected from the 2022/23 season, but for 2023/24 there has already been an early front runner, with Everton fans spotted leaving the away end at Aston Villa 40 minutes early after going 3-0 down in a 4-0 thrashing on the second weekend of the season.
Things are only set to increase this season with refereeing directives leading towards more added time, meaning that when matches are foregone conclusions, there’s an even bigger window for supporters to head for the turnstiles.
Traffic is seen as the most valid reason for an early departureBetfair & YouGOV
Early Leavers Table based on survey results:
Data via Betfair & YouGOV
= Crystal Palace
= West Ham
= Nottingham Forest
= Sheffield United