Sport, tragedy and 1D trigger UK's 2013 Twitter surges

Crucial football matches, Mumford and Sons and the death of Cory Monteith all whip up hashtag storms

LAST UPDATED AT 13:47 ON Thu 12 Dec 2013

WHAT do Manchester United and Mumford and Sons have in common? They both made it into the Top 10 list of events that produced the biggest spikes in Twitter traffic in the UK during 2013.

Sitting at No 1 is the 5 March Champions League match in which Real Madrid beat Man Utd 2-1, knocking them out and triggering a deluge of anguished tweets.

At No 2 is an old favourite, New Year's Day. Tweeters went beserk on 1 January as they wished each other well (or told each other how drunk they were).

Sporting events also account for No 3 and 4. Andy Murray's Wimbledon victory on 13 July made him Twitter's bronze medallist and - rather surprisingly - England's 2-2 draw with Brazil on 2 June was at No 4.

Real Madrid pops up again at No 5 thanks to its 30 April defeat of Borussia Dortmund. The Spanish side won 2-0, but, agonisingly, were knocked out of the Champions League on aggregate.

Who can forget Wigan's unlikely FA Cup victory on 11 May? Certainly not Twitter users, who sent enough 140-letter missives to make the event No 6.

Events 7 and 8 are England's victory over Scotland on 14 August and Bayern Munich's 4-0 demolition of Barcelona in the first leg of the Champions League semi-final on 23 April.

Folk music makes an unexpected entry at No 9, courtesy of Mumford and Sons performance at the Glastonbury Festival on 30 June. The folk-rockers can't take all the credit, however. A special appearance on stage from The Vaccines and Vampire Weekend, singing the Beatles' With a Little Help From My Friends pushed them into the Twitter hall of fame.

Normal service is resumed at No 10, with another football match. England's 2-0 victory over Poland saw them qualify for a place at the 2014 World Cup and made millions of proud supporters reach for their smartphone.

Britain has “been revealed as a nation of sporting fans," says Channel 4 News, although it could be argued that it's not much of a revelation.

Twitter also released a Top 10 list of the most retweeted messages. At No 1, with a staggering 408,000 retweets, was a message from Glee actress Lea Michelle thanking fans for supporting her following the death of her boyfriend, Cory Monteith.

Another sad message - the official confirmation that /Fast & Furious/ star Paul Walker had been killed in a car crash, was also massively retweeted.

Boy band One Direction also dominated the retweet list, without experiencing a tragedy. Leading the way was a picture of a sleeping Harry Styles and a message from Zayn Malik announcing his engagement. 1D's Niall Horan also got in on the act when his message announcing his 20th birthday was retweeted across the world. · 

For further concise, balanced comment and analysis on the week's news, try The Week magazine. Subscribe today and get 6 issues completely free.