So just who is the biggest?
It’s a debate that’s been raging between Newcastle United and Sunderland AFC football fans in South Tyneside for years.
Now the answer has finally been revealed, not on the football pitch, but by a team of boffins at the Oxford Internet Institute (OII), who have mapped out support for the Premier League rivals on the world wide web.
Football lovers at statistical information website, floatingsheep.org, teamed up with researchers Joshua Melville and Scott Hale from the OII, to create a map detailing the geography of football fandom – based on the number of Twitter mentions for all 20 top-flight teams.
The results make happy reading for Newcastle United fans, with the map turning black and white in South Tyneside.
The St James’s Park outfit came top of the table for tweets in four of the seven South Tyneside postcodes, with the Black Cats in pole position in one, as the two clubs shared bragging rights with a joint first place in another.
Both clubs were shifted from top spot in Boldon Colliery by Everton, who were most tweeted ahead of Sunderland, with Newcastle back in joint third.
Alan Pardew’s men were the most tweeted about team in South Shields town centre and Higher Shields (NE33), South Shields, including Harton, Horsley Hill, Marsden, Simonside and Brockley Whins (NE34), Jarrow (NE32) and Hebburn (NE31) with Sunderland getting most twitter mentions in the SR6 postcode, which includes Whitburn and Cleadon.
The two clubs got the joint most number of tweets in East and West Boldon (NE36).
The data used include all geotagged tweets mentioning any of the Premiership football teams and their associated hashtags (such as #NUFC or #SAFC) that were sent between August 18 and December 19, 2012.
Compilers have only included one tweet per user to prevent prolific tweeters from skewing the results.
Nationally, Liverpool (722 mentions per million tweets) are the most discussed club ahead of Manchester United (593), with Newcastle United (297) in ninth and Sunderland (99) in 13th position. Wigan Athletic are the least tweeted about club in the Premier League.
TOP OF THE TWITTER TABLE:
4-Liverpool, Manchester City and West Ham
South Shields town centre, including Higher Shields (NE33)
4-West Ham United, Manchester United, Everton and Liverpool
South Shields, including Harton, Horsley Hill, Marsden, Simonside and Brockley Whins (NE34)
5 West Ham United, Liverpool and West Bromwich Albion
Boldon Colliery (NE35)
3-Arsenal, Aston Villa, Manchester United, QPR and Newcastle United
East and West Boldon (NE36)
1-Newcastle, Sunderland and West Bromwich Albion
4 Tottenham and West Ham United
Sunderland, including Whitburn and Cleadon Village (SR6)
3-Everton and Manchester United