Reasoning that loyal fans turn out to support their club regardless of its results on the field, the complex and sophisticated Fan Loyalty Index (FLI) divides a club's total attendance by its points in the league table, arriving at a measure of total fans per point. The system was developed by scientists and statisticians at NewcastleUnited.us, an American web site coincidentally devoted to fans of the Newcastle United Football Club.
In the inaugural March 1, 2011 rating, Newcastle piled up 18,291 fans per point, edging Manchester United by just short of 800 fans for the league lead. West Ham United, Aston Villa and Liverpool rounded out the top five.
At the bottom of the index, four clubs failed to manage 10,000 fans per point in the debut FLI: Tottenham Hotspur, Wigan Athletic, Bolton Wanderers, and cellar-dwelling Blackpool, hampered by a small park in its first Premier League season.
NewcastleUnited.us officials say their site intends to post updated ratings weekly until the end of the season, or until Newcastle United drops from the lead, whichever comes first.