Here at IC Towers, we've been wondering what are the best and worst teams to support, from the point of view of maximizing happiness?
The natural answer - Arsenal - won't do. Sure, they play the best football. But this is offset by the fact that it's hard to get tickets, and when you do, you're surrounded by tourists. And tourists have no more business being at football grounds than women or the middle classes. By contrast, fans of smaller teams get to have a laugh with their mates, and get the civic pride of supporting their local team and not being glory hunters.
This leaves two theories.
1. People adapt to their circumstances. This predicts that the happiest fans will be those doing well relative to the recent past - Watford, West Brom, Man City - whilst the unhappiest will be those doing badly - S****s, Sheffield United.
2. Memory matters. My Evertonian colleagues seem happy enough, even though they last won the league 20 years ago. And Paul rarely shuts up about Forest's European Cup wins. This suggests that the memory of good times can tide us over lean periods; it's not too bad to live in the ruins of an empire.
The thing is, these two theories conflict. If Forest and Everton fans take pride in the glories of 20-30 years ago, shouldn't S***s fans take comfort from the relative success of the last couple of seasons? But this seems not to happen, suggesting a non-linear relationship between past happiness and present happiness. Does this generalize outside football?
As the answer to the original question, how about Newcastle as the worst team to support? They don't have any glorious history, at least in living non-fictitious memory. And yet their fans seem never to have adapted to their team's mediocrity.