SUNDERLAND and Newcastle fans are being offered knitted football strips after being revealed as those most likely to suffer hypothermia while on freezing terraces.
A poll of 2,000 football fans has found revealed weather-hardened supporters in the North East are most likely to bare their flesh and wear short sleeve tops to football matches in the depths of mid-winter.
Newcastle United football fans topped the poll with 48 per cent responses – and were also found to be most likely to take their tops off at matches, come rain or shine.
Sunderland came next with 28 per cent, and Manchester United third with 23 per cent.
Bookmakers William Hill, which conducted the survey, has now unveiled prototype hand-knitted football top, shorts and socks of the top three teams in response to concerns for fans wellbeing during the cold winter months.
The “non-itchy” designs feature a 5GG knit and are crafted from the finest wool to keep out the cold.
The William Hill survey also revealed that the term “Southern Softy” may hold some truth, as over half of all respondents thought northern football fans dealt with the cold better than those down south. Football stadia in the North were also thought to be the fullest during the winter months, with 51 per cent of fans believing Manchester United has the most packed out terraces.
William Hill spokesperson Joe Crilly said: “It’s freezing on the football terraces in January, so our new range of knitted football kits have been specifically designed to keep supporters warm whilst they cheer on their team.
“We are trialling our replica knitted strips with those fans who are at the highest risk of catching hypothermia.
“Newcastle United fans in particular, who brave the cold bare-chested week in week out, may want to get their hands on one.
“We have been careful to ensure that our knitted kits come in a short sleeve design that enable fans to keep some flesh on show, giving them the best of both worlds.
“We believe the strips are the perfect fashion statement for any true football fan and provide a great talking point with friends down the pub before kick-off.”
•Directions to enable fans to ‘knit their own kits’ can be found on William Hill’s Facebook and Twitter channels – www.facebook.com/williamhillsports and @WillHillBet.
The English Premier League’s most weather-hardened football fans are revealed as:
Newcastle United - 48%
Sunderland - 28%
Manchester United – 23%
Liverpool – 18%
Hull City - 10%
Stoke City – 10%
Burnley - 9%
Manchester City - 8%
Everton - 5%
Swansea City - 4%