"I think they are the best team in the world"
Football is one of the most popular sports in the world, with billions of fans following their favorite clubs and players.
South Asians are no exception, as the region boasts a large number of football fans who are passionate about the sport.
From British Asians in the UK to those in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, South Asians have a deep love for football that goes beyond borders, languages, and cultures.
There are many reasons why South Asians love football. For one, the sport is exciting and unpredictable, with every match bringing new challenges and opportunities for both teams.
Additionally, football has the power to bring people together, creating a sense of community and shared identity among fans.
We look at the biggest football clubs with the most South Asian supporters.
Manchester United is the most supported football team among British and South Asians. The club has a massive following not only in the UK but also globally.
South Asian supporters make up a significant portion of their fan base. According to the BBC, 325 million Manchester United supports are from Asia alone.
The reasons behind the club’s popularity among South Asians are numerous.
One of the primary reasons is the club’s success over the years. Manchester United has won a record 20 Premier League titles and three European Cups.
However, the most impressive season Manchester United have achieved is the treble-winning season in 1999.
Winning the European Cup, domestic cup and the domestic league was a monumental occasion.
They’re also the only English team to win a treble in history, giving them the title of the “biggest football club in the world”. A statement that many still consider to be true today.
South Asians admire the team’s fighting spirit and the never-say-die attitude that has characterised the club over the years.
The club also has a rich history and tradition, which adds to its appeal.
Another reason for Manchester United’s popularity is their introduction of South Asian players to the team like Zidane Iqbal.
South Asian fans love to see players from their backgrounds playing for one of the biggest football clubs in the world.
The club’s popularity is also boosted by the fact that it has a large following in South Asia.
Manchester United has over 20 million followers on Facebook in India alone, making it one of the most popular football clubs in the world.
Another football team with a sizable fanbase among South Asians is Liverpool.
The team has won six European Cups, one FIFA Club World Cup, and 19 English League titles. South Asians love the club because of its popularity and devoted fan base.
The long history of Liverpool is one of the factors contributing to the team’s admiration among South Asians.
Kenny Dalglish, Steven Gerrard, and John Barnes are just a few of the renowned players that have played for the club over its long and distinguished history.
The song ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ which is associated with Liverpool, has inspired its supporters all around the world and stands for togetherness.
To encourage diversity and inclusion, the club started the “Red Together” initiative in 2019.
A number of events were held in Mumbai as part of the campaign, giving fans the chance to meet Robbie Fowler and Ian Rush, two legendary players for Liverpool.
These programmes have increased the club’s recognition among South Asians and their success in recent years have boosted the club’s global awareness.
Arsenal is another football club that South Asians love.
The club has won 13 English Premier League titles and has a rich history that includes legendary players like Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp, and Tony Adams.
One of the reasons why South Asians support Arsenal is the club’s style of play.
Arsenal is known for playing attractive, attacking football, which has won them many admirers around the world.
The club’s success in the late 90s and early 2000s under the leadership of Arsene Wenger also helped to increase its popularity among South Asians.
Arsenal has also been proactive in engaging with its fanbase across the world, including those in South Asia.
The club has a significant presence on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, which has allowed it to connect with fans in the region.
Arsenal has also launched several initiatives to engage with South Asian fans, including the ‘Arsenal Kicks’ program, which provides coaching to young people from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Chelsea’s success on the pitch as well as its global appeal and star players are some of the reasons why South Asians support the club.
Chelsea have had a lot of success on the pitch over the years, winning numerous trophies, including six Premier League titles, five FA Cups, and one UEFA Champions League.
The club’s triumphs have helped to increase its popularity among South Asians as they’re drawn to the club’s winning mentality and its ability to consistently compete.
Chelsea has had many legendary players over the years, including Didier Drogba, Frank Lampard, and John Terry.
These players have become household names worldwide, and their contribution to the club’s trophies has given some South Asians the best footballing memories ever.
South Asian celebrities have also expressed their love for Chelsea.
Bollywood actor Abhishek Bachchan is a big Chelsea fan and has been spotted wearing the club’s shirt on several occasions.
In an interview with The Times of India, he said:
“I have been a Chelsea fan for over a decade now. The club’s success on the pitch, global appeal, and star players are something that has always impressed me.”
The club’s popularity among South Asian celebrities is also a testament to its influence in the region.
Barcelona is one of the biggest and most thriving clubs in the world, raking in millions of fans since it’s inception.
The club is known for playing a smart style of football, often referred to as “tiki-taka” which was popularised by club legend and former manager, Johan Cruyff.
This style of play involves a high level of possession, short passes, and quick movements.
The club’s ability to control games has led them to great success which includes 26 La Liga titles, five European Cups, and four FIFA Club World Cups.
But perhaps the main reason why many British and South Asians love Barcelona is Lionel Messi.
The Argentinian is arguably the best football player in history and solidified this argument by winning the World Cup in 2022.
Messi was at Barcelona for over 20 years, having blossomed in their academy and ruled their first team.
His massive following attracted many fans worldwide, including those in South Asia where Messi’s name still rings around the streets.
Likewise, many South Asian celebrities have also expressed their love for the club. Indian actor Arjun Kapoor revealed his admiration, saying:
“I have been following Barcelona for years, and I think they are the best team in the world.
“Their style of play is just amazing, and it’s a joy to watch them play.
“I think they are a great example for other teams to follow, and they have a huge fan following in India.”
Football has become a global phenomenon, with millions of people from different parts of the world tuning in to watch major football events like the FIFA World Cup and UEFA Champions League.
This has allowed South Asians to connect with people from different cultures and backgrounds, while also showcasing their own love for the sport.
What’s even more interesting is the rise of football players from South Asian backgrounds in the sport.
Many homegrown British talents have signed professional contracts and are diversifying the teams they play for.
This has helped to inspire a new generation of South Asian football fans and players, who are eager to showcase their talents and represent their countries on the international stage.