With empty stadiums set to continue, the fan ‘watchalong’ phenomenon is growing exponentially

With empty stadiums set to continue, the fan ‘watchalong’ phenomenon is growing exponentially

The new normal

With minutes remaining on the clock, Spurs were moments away from securing 3 valuable points and climbing to second place. Then, in the dying embers of a pulsating fixture, having already scored twice after the 82nd minute, Manuel Lanzini broke Spurs hearts with an unbelievable strike into the top corner.

Football social media exploded. Fans from all corners of the Premier League and the continent rushed to react, posting tweets, Instagram posts and stories. The 21st-century football fan is digital. Gone are the days where the sole place to debate the game was down in the pub post-match.

The year 2020 has taken things even further. The coronavirus pandemic has ripped away the ability of fans to attend games. Confined to their living rooms, fans have been finding new ways to provide entertainment for their fellow peers.

The trend of ‘watchalongs’ has exponentially grown. A medium in which a fan or group of fans will live stream a feed showing them watching and reacting to the game.

In the official scene, Sky Sports’ Soccer Saturday hosted by Jeff Stelling builds the basis for these ideas. The YouTube scene has enabled fans and content creators to provide their own versions whilst not confined to the rules and regulations of television.

The Kick Off, a show hosted by True Geordie is arguably one of, if not, the most successful of its type to not specialise for a single club. Covering the Premier League and European football, thousands of viewers tune in to watch the panel of fans talk about and discuss the ongoing game.

Times are changing

Just like on Soccer Saturday these ‘watchalong’ shows provide a wealth of entertainment. However, whilst Sky’s original incarnation is based around the informative genre, providing viewers with in-depth professional analysis and pundit’s opinions, it deviates when concerning the YouTube phenomenon.

From studios to bedrooms, what makes the majority of these shows entertaining is the raw attachment to the club the fan has. Whilst the likes of Paul Merson may show excitement or frustration at a match, witnessing the joy and despair of a fan has become football social media prime time.

Those responsible for putting on the shows have relinquished the personal struggle a fan goes through internally. Publicly broadcasting the embarrassment of celebrating a goal before it is ruled out by VAR. Confidently speaking about a seemingly unassailable lead to see the cruel game of football rip it away.

These videos are becoming more and more common. Soccer Saturday’s reshuffle of its presenters has even led to Phil Thompson, Matt Le Tissier and Charlie Nicholas moving to YouTube with Paddy Power.

Even the clubs themselves have created their own ‘Gogglebox’ style shows on their YouTube channels, with hundreds of thousands watching.

Times are continuing to change and as the future of football fandom remains uncertain, the popularity of fan ‘watchalongs’ appears to only grow stronger.

See also: Saliba set to stay with Arsenal until at least January / What’s the potential impact?

Ben Chilwell shows exactly what Chelsea have been missing at left-back as Blues see off Crystal Palace

This article was edited by Josh Barker.

Arsenal betting odds, next game:

Tottenham vs Arsenal odds: result, both teams to score, correct score & goalscorers

Tottenham vs Arsenal Full time result
Tottenham vs Arsenal Result/Both teams score Yes No
Tottenham 3/1 9/4
Arsenal 6/1
Draw 15/4 10/1
Tottenham vs Arsenal Correct Score
Tottenham vs Arsenal Goalscorers First Last Anytime
Harry Kane7/4 7/4 1/1
Carlos Vinicius11/5 11/5 5/4
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang9/4 9/4 8/5
Alexandre Lacazette3/1 3/1 9/4
Eddie Nketiah3/1 3/1 9/4

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Premier League table
# Team MP D P
1 Tottenham Hotspur FC 10 12 21
2 Liverpool FC 10 5 21
3 Chelsea FC 10 12 19
4 Leicester City FC 9 6 18
5 Southampton FC 10 3 17
6 Wolverhampton Wanderers FC 10 0 17
7 Everton FC 10 2 16
8 Manchester United FC 9 0 16
9 Aston Villa FC 8 8 15
10 Manchester City FC 9 4 15
11 West Ham United FC 9 5 14
12 Leeds United 10 -2 14
13 Newcastle United FC 10 -3 14
14 Arsenal FC 10 -2 13
15 Crystal Palace FC 10 -3 13
16 Brighton & Hove Albion FC 10 -2 10
17 West Bromwich Albion 10 -11 6
18 Burnley FC 9 -13 5
19 Fulham FC 9 -9 4
20 Sheffield United FC 10 -12 1
Premier League 20/21
Player Team Goals
Calvert-Lewin, Dominic Everton FC 10
Son, Heung Min Tottenham Hotspur FC 9
Vardy, Jamie Leicester City FC 8
Salah, Mohamed Liverpool FC 8
Kane, Harry Tottenham Hotspur FC 7
Fernandes, Bruno Manchester United FC 7
Wilson, Callum Newcastle United FC 7
Bamford, Patrick Leeds United 7
Watkins, Ollie Aston Villa FC 6
Grealish, Jack Aston Villa FC 5
Zaha, Wilfried Crystal Palace FC 5
Ings, Danny Southampton FC 5
Jota, Diogo Liverpool FC 5
Ward-Prowse, James Southampton FC 4
Werner, Timo Chelsea FC 4
Mahrez, Riyad Manchester City FC 4
Mane, Sadio Liverpool FC 4
Maupay, Neal Brighton & Hove Albion FC 4
Bowen, Jarrod West Ham United FC 4
Jimenez, Raul Wolverhampton Wanderers FC 4