Manchester United claim to have 659m fans worldwide
Manchester United claim one in 10 of the world's seven billion population support the club
A new survey has revealed that one in 10 of the world's seven billion population follow Manchester United.
That's an incredible 659 million fans worldwide, with China claiming to have the most - 108 million United fans.
According to a BBC report, Manchester United used market research company Kantar to carry out a worldwide survey of 54,000 people in 39 countries between June and August 2011.
Kantar extrapolated from their survey results to produce a figure for each of the 39 countries, and the rest of the world, taking into consideration details such as the popularity of football in each country and whether any players from each country had played for United.
The survey also showed that United had 55 million fans in Indonesia, 35 million in India, 33 million in Nigeria, 26 million in Vietnam, 25 million in Mexico and 15 million in South Korea.
However the figures have been dismissed in some quarters. Nick Harris, SportingIntelligence.com editor, said: "The idea that United have 108 million fans in China is ludicrous."
He also argues that a survey published in 2007 stated that United had 333 million followers worldwide and therefore such a growth in five years was impossible.
"In five years, purportedly, Manchester United's following has gone from 333 million, or thereabouts, to 659 million," added Harris. "So almost a doubling of people following Manchester United in five years. This is eyebrow-raising stuff!"
If correct, the figures will surely delight the Glazer family but opposition fans will perhaps throw up one of their favourite criticisms - that none of United's fans are from Manchester.
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