I have to admit I am a football follower, albeit a late convert to the beautiful game. Watching the Scotland v Netherlands match in Euro 1996 did it for me. It was also the first time I’d seen large numbers of Englishmen weep unashamedly in public when we went out at the hands of Germany.
Sixteen years later, and I was rather relieved at England’s performance against France last night.
But we are only at the beginning of the tournament, and these days I can keep in touch with all the action online if I can’t get to a television or the pub.
The presence of social media has changed the way we follow football. England and Germany lead the way with an incredibly active and popular Facebook and Twitter presence. 1.4 million of us have signed up to the England team’s Facebook page and there are 166,000 Twitter followers. Similar numbers follow Germany.
Interestingly, the same can’t be said for some of the other countries in the competition. Croatia, Portugal and Denmark have entered the fray without any recognisable social media presence at all, in fact Denmark has banned their players from social online activity. Russia has attracted a paltry 658 supporters to its Facebook page but has managed to double that number on Twitter.
Euro 2012 has its own Facebook page which is also popular, but no Twitter feed for some reason.
Luckily the hashtag #Euro2012 owns more than 70% of the Twitter conversation and you can get every possible angle on Roy and his 3 weeks in the job as well as discussion on all the other matches as they happen.
I enjoyed the French chatter last night almost as much as the English!