The Best Travelling Fans in the World - Ranked

Oct 29, 2020, 9:45 PM GMT
Raja Casablanca's following both home and away ranks among the best in the world | GERARD JULIEN/Getty Images

Away fans are an entirely different breed to the supporters that frequent their warm and cosy home stadium on a biweekly basis. That's not to say that the team belongs more to those who travel the length and breadth of the country or beyond, but they certainly are different.

They are emphatically pivotal to the spectacle of a football match played before a crowd, a sight which is seemingly becoming something bound to the realms of the past more and more.

They can provide the dull roar which incites an upset, represent their nation abroad and even eclipse the achievements - or lack thereof - of those they have travelled to support.

9. Marseille

Not many clubs can boast a stand named after a single fan, but the Virage Nord of Marseille's Stade Vélodrome is called the Tribune Patrice de Péretti, in honour of the founding member of the club's most raucous ultra group, MTP.

However, De Péretti ensured the club's presence was felt even when they ventured away from home. Inspired by visiting AEK Athens fans in 1989, De Péretti was perennially bare-chested wherever Marseille went, including a rather brisk trip to CSKA Moscow in March 1993 with the temperature recorded at -12°C.

8. FC Köln

FC Köln's travelling support made a particularly memorable trip to Arsenal in 2017 | AFP Contributor/Getty Images

Central London streets were awash with German supporters when FC Köln travelled to face Arsenal in the Europa League in 2017. However, a small minority of the following sullied what was a largely peaceful visit to the capital.

Köln's £53,000 fine may have stained their reputation but their fans are best represented by their touching gesture earlier that same season.

In an attempt to secure tickets for every Europa League away trip, fans of the Billy Goats were forced to buy a package deal, including all three home games of fellow group stage opponent Red Star Belgrade. En masse, Köln's supporters donated the two matches not involving their side to an orphanage in Belgrade.

7. Japan National Team

Japanese fans attracted global attention after clean up after themselves at the 2018 World Cup | ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT/Getty Images

Rather than gaining recognition for bare chests or ear-splitting chants, Japan's following at the 2018 World Cup earned widespread acclaim for cleaning up after themselves after the match.

A simple gesture, Japan-based football journalist Scott McIntyre explained to the BBC: "It's not just part of the football culture but part of Japanese culture."

6. Celtic

Celtic fans
Celtic fans received particular recognition for their behaviour at the 2003 UEFA Cup final against Porto | Michael Steele/Getty Images

Typically, when vast quantities of football fans without tickets gather in a foreign city, the looming threat of trouble is never far away.

However, the 80,000-strong Celtic which travelled to Seville in 2003 may not have been able to celebrate a UEFA Cup triumph, but did garner widespread adoration for their 'extraordinarily loyal and sporting behaviour', earning FIFA's Fair Play Award that year.

5. Peru National Team

Australia v Peru: Group C - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia
Peruvian fans didn't only outnumber Australian supporters at the 2018 World Cup | Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Russia may very well have been covered in red and white for the 2018 World Cup regardless, but the Peruvian sash was seemingly prevalent everywhere you turned.

Having last appeared in the world's biggest sporting event 36 years earlier, generations of families descended upon Russia, with stories of travel funded by sold cars, abandoned jobs and bank loans almost as plentiful as those decked in plastic sets of ears in tribute to Edison Flores, 'Oreja' (Big Ears).

4. Newcastle United

Rochdale AFC v Newcastle United - FA Cup Third Round
Newcastle United's away support has become renowned for watching games, whatever the weather, topless | Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Newcastle United's fans have been forced to endure a lot in recent years, from dreadful football to an owner loathed even more, but their (sporadically topless) support has rarely had its fervour dampened either home or away.

This prolonged vigour was recognised at the start of 2020 when the Toon Army were voted the best away fans in the Premier League.

3. Raja Casablanca

FC Bayern Munchen v Raja Casablanca - FIFA Club World Cup Final
Raja Casablanca's following when they met Bayern Munich in the 2013 Club World Cup | Steve Bardens/Getty Images

Since its founding in 1949, Raja Casablanca has defined itself as the club of the people. One of Morocco's most successful teams boasts arguably the continent's most fanatical following, with the club's Green Boy Ultras forming a notably boisterous support home, away and even outside the stadium.

When the club had filled its allocated seating for a run-of-the-mill league match away to Rabat in 2015, dozens of supporters gathered around the outer wall of the stadium, peeking over the top and sharing songs with their fellow fans inside the ground.

2. Republic of Ireland National Team

Republic of Ireland  v Switzerland  -EURO Qualifier
Fans of the Republic of Ireland have garnered a lofty reputation on their travels | Soccrates Images/Getty Images

Whether they are sharing a friendly joke with the local police, helping an elderly couple change a flat tyre, or lullabying a baby to sleep in a train carriage, the Republic of Ireland's following at international tournaments has descended into folklore.

After a particularly memorable handful of weeks in France at Euro 2016, fans of the Republic, and Northern Ireland, were given the Medal of the City of Paris for their 'exemplary sportsmanship'.

1. Dynamo Dresden

Dynamo Dresden v SpVgg Greuther Fuerth - Second Bundesliga
Dynamo Dresden's fanatical following in full swing | TF-Images/Getty Images

The thrilling 3-3 draw Dynamo Dresden (then of the second tier) played out away to top flight Hertha Berlin in the 2019 German Cup was a spectacle befitting of the 70,000-strong crowd in attendance at the Olympiastadion. Yet, Dynamo's travelling support boasted 30,000 members of that sizeable following.

However, this is far from a one-off occurrence for the Saxony-based outfit. In 2016, they brought more than 20,000 to the Allianz Arena to face 1860 Munich and around 10,000 loyal followers travelled in excess of 200 miles to see Dynamo beat Nuremberg 2-1.