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Premier League: The Happy Fans

Six teams pleasing their fans thus far in 2012-13

By | 13th December 2012
Everton Norwich

In the fourth article in the series Premier League: The Happiest Fans, Premiership Talk collaborates with to take a look at the six teams whose fans are not completely ecstatic, but still pleased with the start their clubs have made to the 2012-13 campaign.

Factors determining the six teams whose fans classify as happy include the team’s on-field performance (success, entertainment level), off-field performance (performance trends, success in rivalries), value for money (ticket prices, brand value), and organization (management’s reputation, stability).

Using the aforementioned factors, it was found that Stoke City, Fulham, Everton, Southampton, Norwich City, and West Ham United have all made their supporters happy this season, with a little room for improvement in each side’s case.

Stoke have quietly put together a strong run of matches in the opening third of the season, elevating themselves to a respectable ninth position in the table.

Many people both inside and outside the club now believe that the Potters have become established as a Premier League outfit and are far more consistent than some of their counterparts who are perennial relegation contenders.

In addition to success in the top flight, manager Tony Pulis has also proven his credentials during the team’s strong recent displays in the FA Cup and the Europa League.

Perhaps the most important feel good factor for those who attend the club’s matches is the excellent record the team has maintained at home. The Britannia Stadium is certainly a fortress no matter who the opposition is, making Stoke City’s home fixtures a fantastic value for money.

Fulham may appear as somewhat of a surprise on this list given their mediocre 13th place positioning at the moment.

The Cottagers have managed only 20 points from their opening 16 fixtures but watching Martin Jol’s side play gives an impression that they are a few wins better than their record would suggest.

They put up an impressive fight against top teams such as Manchester United, Chelsea, and Arsenal, while their most recent home win over Newcastle United reaffirmed what they are capable of on a good night.

On the field, they can easily leapfrog several positions and compete for European qualification, considering that they are only six points behind sixth place West Bromwich Albion.

Off the field, they haven’t given rivals much reason to mock them and the signings of Dimitar Berbatov, Mladen Petric, and Hugo Rodallega went a long way in compensating for the loss of Moussa Dembele and Clint Dempsey to Tottenham.

Craven Cottage also remains one of the most fun venues in England to watch a Premier League match, with passionate Fulham supporters, loud traveling fans, and excited tourists in the heart of London creating an unparalleled viewing experience.

It should hardly come as a surprise that Everton supporters are happy at the moment; in fact, they should be ecstatic.

David Moyes continues to prove himself as one of the best managers in the world, using a medium-sized squad to compete toe-to-toe with England’s biggest clubs on a consistent basis.

Last weekend’s dramatic late win over Tottenham Hotspur propelled the Toffees into the top four, only three points adrift of third-place Chelsea.

While the Toffees are only four points clear of a Liverpool side that started the season off slowly, it helps nonetheless to enjoy superiority in Merseyside.

With ‘reliable’ quickly becoming the middle name of Everton, fans flock to Goodison Park as well as away venues to watch the team play an entertaining yet successful brand of football.

The only blemish remains persistent speculations surround the futures of Moyes and star midfielder Marouane Fellaini. While the former is likely to stay on and snub bigger offers, the latter has already expressed a desire to compete at an even higher level.

Their position may not be even close to that of Everton, but Southampton have managed to keep their fans happy nonetheless.

The Saints started off the season poorly, losing their first four matches in disappointing fashion before bouncing back with a resounding 4-1 thrashing of Aston Villa.

Between the end of September and early November, they went on another horrific seven match run without a win but manager Nigel Adkins finally figured out a more successful formula that has allowed his side to pick up 10 out of their last 15 available points.

Due to the postponement of this weekend’s fixture against FIFA World Club Cup finalists Chelsea, Adkins’ men will have an extra week to prepare for the busy festive period but they are sweating on the fitness of injured skipper Adam Lallana, who has enjoyed a stand-out season along with summer signing Gaston Ramirez.

Another team whose fans have expressed nothing but joy this season is Norwich City, whose astute manager continues to impress with limited resources at hand.

Chris Hughton may have been unfairly sacked by Newcastle United but at Norwich, he is reinventing himself as the type of boss that many other teams can only envy.

League Cup elimination at the hands of Aston Villa earlier this week was disappointing but a nine-match unbeaten run in the Premier League more than makes up for that setback.

The Cannaries are only four points adrift of fourth-place Everton and have shown no signs of stopping either home or away. The defensive duo of Michael Turner and summer signing Sebastien Bassong is simply dynamic, with the latter even scoring frequently this season.

They may just be offering their supporters the best value for money compared to any other Premier League rival but if the Cannaries are to remain successful, they need to look below them in addition to looking upwards.

After all, they are only seven points clear of the relegation zone and must not allow the festive period to overwhelm them by any means.

Tied on points with Norwich is West Ham, whose supporters are also anxiously looking at three tricky fixtures coming up against West Bromwich Albion, Everton, and Arsenal.

Nonetheless, tricky has so far not been able to trip Sam Allardyce’s tactics; the veteran boss has led the promoted Hammers to a strong start in this campaign, picking up some massive points along the way.

Whether it was the tough defending in the goalless draw against champions Manchester City, or the clinical attacking prowess in wins over London rivals Fulham, QPR, and Chelsea, West Ham have shown the type of character that is likely to take them far away from relegation scares in the weeks ahead.

Yes, they couldn’t hold on to a 2-1 advantage against Liverpool on Sunday and ultimately slipped to a 3-2 defeat at home but supporters at Upton Park have generally been delighted with the product they have seen this season.

So far, so good in East London but as Allardyce would very well know with all his experience in English football, things can change quickly in the Premier League and like Norwich, the Hammers must watch their backs to ensure that they don’t slip towards the bottom on the other side of the festive season.

Do you agree with these rankings of the Premier League’s six happy, but not quiet ecstatic, set of fans? Comment via the Facebook plugin below for a chance to win a pair of Sondico goalkeeping gloves endorsed by Wigan Athletic’s Ali Al-Habsi.

Reader Comments

The below views are those of our readers and do not reflect the opinions of Premiership Talk or its employees.
  1. Humza Usman says:

    All of the teams mentioned in the article have many reasons to be happy. West Ham and Stoke are two solid teams who will most likely finsih the season close to the spots they are in at the moment. This would be a huge achievement for West Ham considering that they have just been promoted to the Premier League. Stoke will be happy with their finish but, supporters will hope that the team can improve and challenege for European spots in the coming seasons. Fulham and Norwich have been fairly similar in their performances this season. Norwich has been playing extremely well in their last couple of games while Fulham has dropped in performances but, as mentioned in the article, offer lots of enetertainment. Southampton wre promoted this season and have struggled in the premier league so far. They are barely out of the relegation zone but, they still give fans many reasons to be happy. One reason is their offence which score numerous goals. In my opinion, Everton fans are ecstatic at the moment. Their team has started the season on a roll. They are currently fourth in the Premier League table which is higher than most expected them to be. Many would ahve thought that Arsenal and or Tottenham would be holding the fourth spot. Everton has suprised many and I have a feeling that there is even more to come from this side.

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