A quantitative study exploring wellbeing amongst UK based male supporters of Manchester based premier league clubs

  • Lee Judson
Keywords: football, spectating, mental health, men, wellbeing, stigma, help-seeking


Poor mental health and wellbeing is a global issue which is receiving considerable focus due to its widespread nature and the impact of the current pandemic. At present, there is a lack of research which assesses the impact that spectating football can have on wellbeing levels. This study assesses the impact spectating football has on wellbeing levels in men. In England, around one in eight men have a common mental health problem such as depression, anxiety, panic disorder or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). An  online  questionnaire  was  distributed to Manchester City  Football Club  and Manchester United Football Club  Facebook  football  fan  pages  and  football forums  gathering data from the target population which was any UK based man aged 18+ and a supporter of either Manchester City  or  Manchester  United  Football  Clubs. The study  gained 81 completed responses with all participants aged 18 and above. The results from this study have revealed that spectating football both in football stadia and from home can have both a positive and negative impact on wellbeing levels. Many fans aged 18-34 stated  that  they  often  become  angry,  aggressive,  or  depressed  after  a  team  loss  and  strongly identify  with  the  team  they  support. Conversely those  aged 35  and over  were not  as affected after a team loss and do not identify with their teams as strongly as younger fans. The same age group also identify more with their players/team and opposing players/team. The findings have highlighted that the younger fans wellbeing levels are affected more by the performances and results of their teams than older fans. The researcher has identified a number of recommendations which can be made. These include implementing more wellbeing health interventions which specifically target younger age groups, utilising online social media and football fan forums in order to promote help seeking behaviours in young men. This will support in reducing stigmas attached to poor mental health and wellbeing which could be strengthened by utilising professional footballers of the clubs to promote help seeking in order to encourage the fans to engage.