The 12 SPFL Premiership Clubs Ranked For The Stay At Home Fan

Are you Pure Fitbaw but also pure lazy?

Or perhaps there are other reasons such as disability, financial constraints, working hours, location or family commitments which mean you can’t actually go to watch football live? Although Scotland does have one of the highest overall attendances at football per capita in Europe there are many more people who love football but don’t go to games. We’ve all read reviews of pies, ticket prices and pubs close to the ground but Pure Fitbaw is here to review some aspects of the modern match experience for the stay at home fan. For each SPFL Premiership club, to understand how immersed you can get in the experience and to check which clubs are making the most of opportunities to engage with their fans away from the ground, we tried to buy the 2018/19 away top from their websites, watch their club TV channel and Instagram Stories content and finally check out the tone and key match day content of their Twitter feed.

In a completely unscientific manner we’ve awarded scores out of 10 for each club and reveal the winner at the bottom of this review.

Aberdeen

Buying The 2018/19 Away Top

The Aberdeen website is good looking and clear with a ‘shop’ link at the top along with other key links such as ‘match tickets’ and ‘Red TV’. The online shop landing page  features the team’s kit prominently and it is very easy to navigate to the fairly dull Adidas template in off white/grey which serves as the 2018/19 away top and can be purchased by the stay at home Don for £50 plus delivery.

Aberdeen Legends Bracelet

A small selection of retro kits and a lot of tat is also available including the ‘Legends bracelet’, currently reduced from £350 to £245, if you want to be the dandiest Dandy around!

Watching The Team

Red TV doesn’t bring you a loop of speeches by Lenin and Marx but in fact purports to have live audio of most Aberdeen SPFL Premiership matches,full match replays and highlights, exclusive interviews and behind the scenes content for £5.99 a month or £59.99 for the year. Based on the pricing structure and wording we can assume this is a SportsMediaGB set up (they do the majority of teams in the league) and as usual fans outwith the UK and Ireland can pay to see live matches. The Dons do have some video content on their Instagram but do not appear to use Instagram Stories and are missing a trick when it comes to match day fan engagement.

Twitter Experience

The club’s twitter account is at @AberdeenFC and has 94,000 followers. It is quite formal, clear and professional with sensible content such as info about tickets, reserve matches and links to view post match interviews and highlights. The team line up graphic tweeted out is fine if a little dull.

Celtic

Buying The 2018/19 Away Top

Celtic’s website was certainly not designed by a minimalist. Maybe dearly departed King of Glasgow Moussa Dembélé’s fashion stylist moonlights as a web developer?

Dembele Shirt

There is a lot going on; a flashing betting sponsor advert right at the top, social media links large and in your face and a lot of links to a lot of content. A positive is that there is a clear banner section with links to important sections including tickets, Celtic TV and the club shop.

This summer Celtic brought their shops (both online and bricks and mortar) back under inhouse operation after they had been outsourced for a number of years and now the online store is managed from Celtic Park. The website is quite clean looking and has an attention grabbing headline of ‘free worldwide delivery’ – a smart move given Celtic’s global appeal and widespread fanbase. It is very easy to navigate to the current away top which is available from £56 for a short sleeved adult version with the option to throw more money away customise it with SPFL patches and a player name for an extra £20.

Watching The Team

Celtic TV has a page of ‘freeview’ content which is essentially short player interviews and advertisements for the subscription TV service. There appear to be two packages available for UK and Ireland residents. The ‘online’ package is £50 a year and includes live audio commentary of every Celtic SPFL match, full match replays and ‘the Locker Room’ which is Celtic’s strangely American name for their behind the scenes content. The ‘premium’ package is £80 a year and promises the exact same things but in ‘premium quality’. It’s not clear whether this means Mikael Lustig is replaced by a mobile, 25 year old attacking full back with a crunching tackle and an exceptional cross in all the match replays or if this maybe just means HD. Hilariously the sign up process attempts to conflate the idea of achieving your boyhood dream of signing a contract with the club with the process of agreeing to be spammed as it titles the *send me updates by SMS, email, post etc section* with It’s your time to Sign For Celtic!

Celtic IG Video

Celtic do make some use of video content on social media including, as shown above from the recent Old Firm fixture, Instagram Stories on match days.

Twitter Experience

Celtic have 587,000 followers on Twitter and offer live tweet commentary of their games, lots of post match interview comments and retweets of their own players’ celebratory messages.

Their match day line up lacks player numbers and is strangely focused on it being a ‘starting 11’ but at least it gives some idea of formation given the order of the players.

Dundee FC

Buying The 2018/19 Away Top

Dundee FC have a clear if unremarkable looking website with an easy to locate link to the ‘Shop’ alongside those for ‘Tickets’ and ‘Dee TV’. The team kits are the main image once you click into the shop and it is very easy to purchase the away version which starts at £45 for the adult short sleeved version with, of course, the option to spend up to another £20.50 for name, number and SPFL patches and home delivery from £5.95.

Dundee FC also go in for the wrist bling but with them its a steel and rubber (surely Jute was a more apt option?) bracelet engraved with the name of your choice for £49.95

Watching The Team

Dee TV has, for UK and Ireland residents, live audio of most Dundee FC SPFL Premiership matches, full match replays and highlights, exclusive interviews and behind the scenes content for the familiar price structure of £5.99 a month or £59.99 for the year. They do not have any video content on their Instagram at all.

Twitter Experience

The twitter account linked to in the ‘social media icons’ section of the Dundee FC website is @DundeeFCOnline – which has never tweeted and has 23 followers. In the bio of that page is a message to follow the official Dundee Football Club twitter; @DundeeFC. Not a great start in this area for The Dee.

The in use twitter account has 41,000 followers and on the plus side has a pinned tweet selling season tickets which is a good idea. The account does live tweet matches but the content is not very engaging as it only appears to comment on shots attempted and substitutions. The team line up graphic has a clear hashtag but is otherwise very boring and not engaging.

Hearts

Buying The 2018/19 Away Top

Hearts have a clean, good looking website although links to their social media accounts are nowhere to be found. The ‘store’ is one of the links in the top area along with other key sections such as ‘tickets’ and ‘Hearts TV’. The store itself is very clear with a nicely paced rotating featured item – including the infamous 1998 Scottish Cup Winners lego bus for £79. The team kits are flagged up as being available in a headline and it is very easy to navigate to purchase the Save The Children sponsored (infinitely preferable despite their legacy awards for Tony Blair to the ubiquitous gambling firms) away top. The smart looking Umbro shirt is £48 and you can add up to another £20.50 depending on the length of your name to personalise it and include those SPFL patches.

Watching The Team

Hearts TV is presumably another SportsMediaGB offering as it provides live audio of most Hearts SPFL Premiership matches, full match replays and highlights, exclusive interviews and behind the scenes content for £5.99 a month or £59.99 for the year to the UK or Ireland based customer.

Despite not linking to the account from their website Hearts make some good use of Instagram with engaging Stories on match days.

Hearts IG Stories

 

Twitter Experience

The Hearts twitter account is the informally named @JamTarts which uses a club nickname. They should really buy @HeartsFC too though.

The Jam Tarts account has 78,000 followers and is well run with a pinned tweet which directs the reader to Hearts TV, good use of emoji, shares videos of players warming up before the match and plenty retweets of positive messages from fans especially ones that have taken kids to meet players or go on stadium tour. The match day line up is tweeted out in three different ways – a video featuring each player in kit with their number on shirt, a still graphic with player photos and names and finally, a photo of the official match sheet.

Overall this is an engaging account which helps create a good atmosphere for Hearts fans.

Hibs

Buying The 2018/19 Away Top

Hibs have a reasonable looking website with an immediate pop up advertising the team kit as well as a ‘Shopping’ link in the header area along with tickets and Hibs TV links. It is very easy to navigate to the away kit which is £45 for the adult short sleeve version and has the option to spend up to another £20 on name, number and SPFL patches. The bracelet selection is quite disappointing with just a rubber effort at £15 available although the ‘doggie jumper’ is an interesting bit of merch – if only they still had Brandon Barker to advertise it.

Watching The Team

Hibs TV another SportsMediaGB effort for UK and Ireland residents offering live audio of most of their SPFL Premiership matches, full match replays and highlights, exclusive interviews and behind the scenes content for £5.99 a month or £59.99 for the year. The club’s Instagram mainly includes the same images as those shown on twitter and, while there are some IG Stories from past matches, it is not very engaging.

Twitter Experience

Another team with a social media link on their website which takes the fan to the wrong twitter page – in this case landing at 33 follower having @HibsOfficial

 

The @HibernianFC account has 75,000 followers and has a fairly formal style with live tweeting of matches and information but it does also use a lot of images and also replies to supporters at times

Match day line ups tend to be tweeted twice; firstly as a fairly basic player list image and then as a formation image

Kilmarnock

Buying The 2018/19 Away Top

The website’s link to the online club shop is tucked away in the very top left corner, away from the main header section which does have a link for tickets. Despite this the website is generally pretty clear, with links to social media obvious but not too obtrusive. The shop site looks good and the away top is easy to find and is £45 for the adult short sleeve with the option to spend up to £20 adding name and number and those SPFL patches. In the interestingly named ‘fashionwear’ section there is this lovely top which apparently refers to the club’s founding year rather than alluding to the fact that they may now be fucked at both ends without Yusuf Mulumbu holding things together in the middle.  

Watching The Team

Kilmarnock TV

There is no Killie TV and it is not clear if they’ve had it before and opted out this season for some reason or if they are still deciding what to do in this area. Their YouTube does have about three videos a week including interviews and goals from reserve fixtures but they make no use of IG Stories.

Twitter Experience

Yet another let down in terms of the social media on their website. The twitter link there leads to this account which has ten followers.

The new, current account @KilmarnockFC has 31,000 followers and features a link to the option to buy a digital copy of the match day programme and live tweets of match commentary. The team line up is tweeted as a visual of players photos, with numbers, in formation;

Livingston

Buying The 2018/19 Away Top

Livingston’s website is pretty basic looking and functional. It has a quite incredible array of seven social media icons across the top including the dreaded LinkedIn and flickr – which I had assumed had flickered out of existence long ago. However, at least they all work and go to the right place! The Club Shop link, in the main header, takes us to another page where we have to click through a not very attractive looking photoshop image onto kit maker FBT’s site but once there it is very easy to find the 2018/19 away kit. The adult short sleeved version is £39.99 although there is no option to customise it with patches or names.

There’s not a lot going on in terms of other merch but you can spend £4 on a Livingston FC branded ‘2 in 1 multi functional stylus pen’ though there is no information as to what these functions are and the risk that none of them are ‘writing’ is just too high at that price for me.

Watching The Team

While there is nothing titled ‘Livi TV’ on their website they do link, on their Twitter, to match highlight videos made by a Livingston based media company and posted on Vimeo. There is a ‘match archive’ on the website but this is essentially a list of results dating back to a 2-0 win over Montrose in the Coca-Cola Cup on August 5th 1995 and there is a pictorial history of the club’s kits dating back to the 1940s when they were known as Ferranti Thistle. The club does have an Instagram account but no IG Stories or video content on it.

Twitter Experience

The @LIviFCofficial has 16,000 followers and uses a good, positive tone full of retweets of fans and players and live tweeting of their matches. The team line up graphic is fairly basic but is certainly much better looking than the design of their website.

Motherwell

Buying The 2018/19 Away Top

The Motherwell website is nice looking with a clean design although the social media links are a bit out of sight all the way at the bottom which was a bit of a surprise given how much the club have embraced and excelled in that area. Once into the shop, which is clearly linked at the top of the page, the lead image is for the home and away kits and the top is very easy to find. The adult short sleeved version starts at £45 and, while there doesn’t seem to be an option to have SPFL patches, adding a name and number costs £14. There’s a fair amount of other merch available but it is all, apart from the kit and training gear, generic crap with Motherwell branded onto it – as shown by the steel and rubber bracelet also available at Hibs.

Watching The Team

There’s no obvious link to Motherwell TV on their website but they have actually very recently set it up. It is the same SportsMediaGB set up as much of the rest of the league so live games are only available to subscribers outwith the UK and Ireland (£12 a month, includes most games) but live audio of most SPFL Premiership matches, full match replays and highlights, exclusive interviews and behind the scenes content is £5.99 a month or £59.99 for the year if in UK/Ireland.

They also currently upload a lot of content to their YouTube including player interviews and match highlights, though that may change once Motherwell TV is fully implemented.

In addition their Instagram has lots of excellent content such as this FIFA pre-match simulation using a fan’s choice of Motherwell line up;

Twitter Experience

The @MotherwellFC account has 38,000 followers and it is very engaging; responsive to fans, retweeting players and providing descriptive, emotive live tweeting of matches. The team line up graphic is nice and clear if a bit basic and lacking in numbers or any other detail.

Hamilton Accies

Buying The 2018/19 Away Top

The website looks ok if quite basic. There is a link to ‘Accies TV’ and ‘shop’ but there doesn’t appear to be any way to buy tickets online and while there is a Twitter feed on the website no social media links are shown otherwise. The online shop doesn’t have the 2018/19 kit so we can’t buy the new away top although last season’s is available for £19.99 in an adult short sleeve.

There is also some training kit and a grand total of six items of merchandise ranging from a £3 keyring to a £150 signed, framed 2017/18 strip.

Watching The Team

It turns out the website link titled ‘Accies TV’ just leads to their YouTube and ‘episode 1’ was broadcast two months ago with little follow up since.

There are photos on matchdays on their Instagram and they are using Instagram Stories – with quite unique content such as film of warm ups before reserve matches.

Twitter Experience

The account @AcciesFc has 22,000 followers and is smartly using the pinned tweet function to display a newer Accies TV episode from mid August (suggesting things need to be tied together a bit more across each platform) and it is great to see some engaging video content being shared with their fans

It has quite an open, informal twitter style – retweeting other media accounts and fans and live tweeting match commentary. Their matchday line up is tweeted out twice – once as a gif of players, names and numbers and then just a list – both basic but quite clear.

Rangers

Buying The 2018/19 Away Top

Rangers have a pretty clear, fine looking website with ‘shop’ and ‘tickets’ clearly linked in main header and ‘Rangers TV’ linked at the very top corner along with social media accounts. The ‘shop’ link opens a page with further links to digital programmes, hospitality packages and tours and the Rangers Megastore. Unfortunately, everything is still Puma in the Megastore and whether Hummel themselves are the issue (they have struggled to fulfill orders for some other clubs recently it seems) or if this relates to a Mike Ashley injunction is unclear. Either way, four games in to the SPFL Premiership season and no Rangers fan can buy a 2018/19 Rangers kit. Last season’s away kit is available as an adult short sleeve for £33 – advertised as a saving you a considerable amount against a barely believable RRP of £64.99 – before you add on name, number and SPFL badges.

GOTM_SEP_2018_420 (1)

Watching The Team

While Rangers fans outside the UK and Ireland can pay $299 a year to watch every live game those that live here have the choice of two packages – ‘Standard’ at £5 a month/£49 a year or ‘Plus’ at £12 a month/£96 a year. Those packages don’t include live matches but do include highlights, an archive of classic matches and behind the scenes content. ‘Plus’ level subscribers can watch any item an unlimited amount of times whereas ‘Standard’ users are limited to two watches. There is also some video content on their Instagram including lots of saved IG Stories of the pre-season trip to Spain.

Twitter Experience

@RangersFC has 446,000 followers and has fairly straightforward, quite formal and professional content – linking to articles on the Rangers site and Rangers TV offerings. The team line up is tweeted as a fairly basic image with the players names and numbers listed in rough positional order

St Johnstone

Buying The 2018/19 Away Top

The Saints website is quite old fashioned looking but still functional.  The ‘Saints Shop’, which is clearly linked in the header, doesn’t contain any replica kit – just merchandise – but there is a link to the website of the kit manufacturer BLK. On that site the home top can be purchased but the away is currently only available to pre-order which is worrying as it was due to be released on the 30th of August so it is unclear when or if it would actually arrive. The adult short sleeved version starts at £40 and can be personalised for extra although SPFL patches do not appear to be available.

Watching The Team

There is a link to ‘Saints TV’ on the St Johnstone website but, after you’ve handed over your name and email address in order to register, this turns out to just be a small archive of post game interviews with players and management. The club does have an Instagram which is updated on match days with photos but they do not appear to be sharing any video content or using Instagram Stories.

Twitter Experience

The twitter account, @StJohnstone, live tweets matches in a down to earth accessible tone to its 33,000 followers, retweets fans and players and shares photos (put these on your Instagram too Saints!) of young fans at the stadium participating in their pre-match club.

The team line up is tweeted out as just basic text with no visual and then repeated with a photograph of the official match sheet.

St Mirren

Buying The 2018/19 Away Top

The website is quite busy but looks professional and the main header has links to buy tickets online and to access the club shop. There are also social media links in the top corner and quite a lot of adverts for Buddie Vision – which is the club’s TV channel. Once into the club shop the 2018/19 away top is very easy to find.

The adult short sleeved version is £45 but you can hand over up to an extra £14 to get a name and number on it and it can be collected for free from the club shop or delivered for a fee starting at £5.95. It seems that St Mirren do not have the option to add SPFL patches to the top online. There is a disappointing lack of other merchandise unless you find the link to the ‘club shop’ rather than the ‘e-store’. At that link you can find items from St Mirren Loom Bands (no, me neither) to a framed, light up, club badge.

Watching The Team

St Mirren have, for fans outwith the UK and Ireland, the option to watch a single match live for €6.99 or the full season for €69.99. If you live here you can pay £4.99 a month or £49.99 a year to watch full match replays, archive footage, exclusive interviews, videos from the training ground and regular features produced by the their own media team. The club do also upload a few videos to YouTube a week generally consisting of their manager’s post game reaction but they do not link to their Instagram from their website and have not shared any Instagram Stories.

Twitter Experience

@StMirrenFC is a professional but quite dry twitter feed even when it comes to live tweeting matches to its 27,000 followers. It doesn’t appear to provide much fan engagement or interaction. The team line up is communicated with a simple but clear visual which lacks the players’ numbers but does have their faces and names in formation.

The Ranking

So, after discovering that 25% of the clubs in the league do not have their away top available to buy and 25% link to the wrong Twitter account from their own website we can list which is the best to follow for the stay at home fan. Maybe you watched Scottish football for the first time, or the first time in a long time, last weekend because of Steven Gerrard’s first Old Firm match? Have a look at this list and choose a club to follow from afar.

8/10 for Motherwell – a point off for not linking Motherwell TV on their website!

8/10 for Hearts – lots of good things done well and a lovely away top

7/10 for Celtic – all done very well but a bit cheesy and let down by team graphic 

6/10 for Aberdeen – overall fine but a bit dull from the strip to the tweets

6/10 for Livi – a mixed bag stylistically but they are doing some good things

6/10 for St Mirren but could easily lift that with more video and Twitter engagement

5/10 for Hibs – let down with that Twitter account link and lack of engaging IG video

4/10 for Dundee – lack of video on IG and not the best when it comes to Twitter

4/10 for Rangers – lots of good stuff especially IG stories but no strip!

4/10 for Kilmarnock – lack of video content and the wrong Twitter link hurt them

3/10 for St Johnstone- unclear when the top will arrive and no video

3/10 for the Accies – Let down by lack of the team strip to buy and club TV

Motherwell and Hearts top the table for us! Some promising things from a lot of clubs and some clear fixes they can implement to turn things around for those that need to get out of the relegation spots. Let us know your own rankings and your experience as a stay at home fan of any of these clubs over at Pure Fitbaw on Twitter.

 

 

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