NORTH-EAST football fans are top of the league for their all-round knowledge of the beautiful game, according to a new study.

The region has long been recognised for its passionate support of local clubs.

Now the Open University Business School and The Football League Trust have found that there is brain as well as heart .

The study of more than 1,000 fans, by Opinion Matters, compared understanding of on-pitch and off-pitch matters and uncovered which region’s supporters know most about the game.

North-East fans scored 40 per cent overall with supporters from Yorkshire coming in sixth out of ten areas with 37 per cent and Londoners scoring lower than any other region, 33 per cent overall.

Researchers uncovered huge disparities between British football fans’ knowledge of the rules of the game compared with their understanding of the business decisions behind it.

The average fan showed a lack of knowledge of the business of football, scoring 16 per cent in the off-pitch questions, such as the laws of the game, was 58 per cent.

Ben Oakley, Senior Lecturer at The Open University and former Olympic coach, said: “Football is a sport that generates a huge level of emotion amongst its supporters. Every action a manager or player makes, both on and off the pitch, is dissected and discussed; everyone has an opinion and these on-going narratives are all a part of football’s appeal.

“Fans that begin to understand the business of football as well as they do the game itself are in the best position to evaluate the actions of their beloved clubs.”