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Study reveals: Britain’s biggest football frustrations

Publish Date: 12/03/2024
Fact checked by: Mike McKean

Slow VAR decisions and screen blocking during crucial moments are the top frustrations among British football fans, according to a recent study by In the midst of the football season, we polled over 1,500 British footie enthusiasts to uncover what really grinds our gears when watching an important match.

Football is known for its emotions, they say. And let's be honest – from pure joy to utter frustration, those feelings can really get intense, especially when considering football betting odds. Waiting for VAR decisions is the most irritating thing when watching a football match, taking the top spot in the top 10 list. Poor referee decisions come in second place, followed closely by players' exaggerated actions. These players make another appearance in the fourth spot, this time for unnecessary time-wasting. Finally, wrapping up the top 5 is the irritation caused by poor commentary.

What better not to say or do during a football match

We also asked respondents what fellow viewers should steer clear of doing or saying during a footie match. Take note: standing in front of the screen at crucial moments is overwhelmingly considered the most irritating. The remark "It's just a game" takes the second spot, and in third place is the question of what's so enjoyable about watching 22 people chasing a ball. But there are more queries that make our hair stand on end. Coming in at number 4 is the classic "Why don't they just score?", followed by the dreaded request to explain the rules.

Premier League players who get on our nerves the most

Which players in the Premier League can be crowned top scorers when it comes to the frustration they evoke? Leading the pack in the top 11 players who can really get under our skin in the Premier League is the Portuguese sensation Bruno Fernandes. The midfielder from Manchester United steals the spotlight from Erling Haaland and Jack Grealish of Manchester City, who take the second and third spots, respectively. However, Liverpool takes the cake in annoyance with a whopping five of their players making the cut. Virgil van Dijk clinches the highest spot for the Reds at number 5. Furthermore, we find Darwin Núñez grabbing the 7th spot, while Mohamed Salah, Trent Alexander-Arnold, and Andrew Robertson wrap up the bottom three positions.

Erik ten Hag considered most frustrating coach

When it comes to Premier League coaches who tend to cause frustration, Manchester United's Erik ten Hag is at the top of the list. This places him ahead of Liverpool's Jürgen Klopp and Arsenal's Mikel Arteta, securing the second and third spots, respectively. At number four, we have Manchester City's Pep Guardiola, followed by Chelsea's Mauricio Pochettino.

In the bottom half of the top 10, we find the man in charge at West Ham United, David Moyes. At number 6 is Sean Dyche of Everton, followed by Spurs' Ange Postecoglou. Eddie Howe of Newcastle United takes the ninth spot for the most annoying Premier League coaches, while the tenth place goes to Crystal Palace's Roy Hodgson.

For more footie insights, check out our football betting tips.


In December 2023, we conducted a survey among 1,563 British football fans. Of all respondents, 80% identified as male, 19% as female, and 1% as non-binary.

Editor's note: The survey was conducted in December 2023, before Jadon Sancho moved to Borussia Dortmund and Roy Hodgson stepped down as the manager of Crystal Palace.

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