Nelson’s Column: Social Media. Did the Welsh & Scots Support England in Euro 2012?
Only a few days ago, St George’s crosses were hanging from windows, from cars, and roars of “come on England” could be heard from many a pub. Who were the Scots and the Welsh supporting? Were they supporting their fellow Brits, or cheering on ABE “anyone but England”?
We did a quick analysis for fun on whether the Scots and the Welsh would be supporting the Three Lions.
We set up a search query in Boolean Logic (in laymans terms sophisticated AND,OR NOT, RAW etc search operators) that found tweets that expressed a sentiment for or against England. This was then loaded into the Brandwatch search tool.
We took a sample (cant read them all!) of tweets from 11-21 June – covering all three of England’s group matches as well as the build-up to the quarter-final against Italy. All tweets originated in either Scotland (113 tweets in our sample) or Wales (102). We manuallyassessed all tweets and only included messages which expressed support for or against England.
What did we find?
Scottish football fans are less likely to support England than Welsh fans.
According to our study, nearly two thirds (66%) of fans in Wales supported England unreservedly. One fan in our sample retweeted Welsh international Robbie Savage who pointed out “Of course I want England to win I’m British” before the Ukraine match.
Others pointed out that many Welsh fans support English clubs, and reckoned it would be hypocritical of them to cheer against England. Only a minority (22%) spoke of supporting England’s opponents: one said “Good game England v France found myself supporting the old enemy being WELSH” while another made a comparison of the England-Wales rivalry with a more local one: “Dont know what the difference is in Welsh people supporting England to Swansea people supporting Cardiff #whatsthedifference”.
In Scotland there was a marked difference with less than half of fans (49%) supporting England. 25% were undecided or giving grudging support to England, with 26% actively taking to Twitter to express their support for whoever England were playing.
Some Scots seemed confused, lending their support to England without wanting to commit themselves: one admitted “Feel a strange urge to support England tonight. If I start chanting “Ing-gerr-land… “, you have my permission to shoot me #euro2012”
Another made reference to the upcoming referendum: “Strangely feel like supporting England. I still hate ashley cole, but yeah. With all these threats to the union, we gots to defend it.” Meanwhile Caitlin from East Renfrewshire made her feelings plain: “I’m not really a fan of football tbh but see when it comes to England I hope they get beat something awful! #freedom!!!”
Last word goes to Ciaran from Glasgow, who claimed “If England beat Italy on Sunday I may have to leave the country to escape all the ridiculous press and punditry. #ComeOnItaly”
Credit goes to my colleague Eoghan O’Neill for conducting the analysis.
Comment: By using social media data and analysing it manually, we can tackle research problems in different ways to traditional methods. Here we were able to look at what passionate fans were saying naturally online in their own words.
Director Socialised Research, Ipsos MORI