As men gear up for the new football season, stereotype insists women huff about being ignored and take on the mantle of being ‘football widows’ - but are they?
To prove football isn’t as life and death as it’s portrayed, Puma asked experts at the University of Bristol’s School of Experimental Psychology to investigate which the most ardent footie fans would pick – their wife or their team.
For the experiment, 20 passionate Newcastle United fans were selected and asked to cut up a photograph of their partners and then one of their team. They were attached to electrodes that measured their stress levels as they completed the task. Fortunately (though unsurprisingly) cutting up an image of their partner was far more difficult, with stress levels soaring by up to 70 per cent as the men wielded the scissors.
Before the experiment fans claimed they loved football as much as they loved their wives, but unconsciously it seems one women always beats 11 men.
After the more scientific approach, the fans were given another test. Each was given two voodoo dolls, one representing Newcastle United, and the other representing the men’s partners. Sticking a pin in the first would mean the team’s star player would miss a vital game and opting for the second would put their partner in bed with flu for a week.
The results were mixed, with some men choosing to keep their partner healthy but some feeling a week in bed with the flu was a fair trade for a healthy star player.
“When it came down to it, I just couldn’t have Jonas Gutiérrez missing a game so I stuck the pin in the missus,” one explained.
Ultimately, the researchers took into account all the results and concluded that men love their partners five times more than their football team, though some of the men were a little surprised to hear this.
Researcher Marcus Munafò said: “Men in the UK and around the world are undoubtedly passionate about the beautiful game.
“What we set out to do was measure it in a scientific way and particularly focus on using techniques which allowed us to find out what they (the fans) were secretly thinking even when their actions may have been telling a different story.
“This data that we collected certainly found that when it comes down to it they definitely feel more strongly about their partners than their football team.”
Are you expecting to be a ‘football widow’? Try asking your partner to take the test.