Thanks to Pajustka for his usual break down of attendances in League Two.
There have been exactly 400 games played so far in the 2017/18 EFL Division 2 which represents about 72% (72.46% to be exact) of all the scheduled fixtures in the season (excluding the play offs). So I felt that this was an opportune time to review attendances.
The 400 games already played have attracted an aggregate attendance of 1,733,371 fans, which equates to an average gate of 4,333 per game. The highest crowd being on Saturday 10th February at The Ricoh Arena with 28,343 witnessing Accrington Stanleys’ 2-0 victory against Coventry City. This was however a ”Club Community Day” with the hosts virtually giving tickets away to local schoolchildren, so perhaps can be considered an artificially inflated figure.
There have been another five fixtures attracting an attendance of over 10,000 fans with ALL of these involving Notts County:-
17274: home to Crewe Alexandra on 3rd February
13672: home to Forest Green Rovers on 7th October
11672: home to the Imps on 23rd September
10350: away at Coventry away on the opening day of the season
10063: away at Luton Town on 9th December
Of these five games however the two biggest gates were also ‘Club Community Days’ with reduced gate costs for the fan, so it could perhaps be stated that the best ‘natural’ gate where fans paid full price to see a game was The Imps visit to Meadow Lane on 23rd September.
Ten games attracted gates 9 and 10 thousand fans, 6 of these at Sincil Bank and the other 4 at Kenilworth Road. 19 games were watched between 8 and 9 thousand fans, 7 at Kenilworth Road, 6 at Sincil Bank, 4 at The Ricoh Arena and 1 each at Meadow Lane and the County Ground.
The poorest gate of the season remains the fixture between Morecambe and Crewe Alexandra on Tuesday 21st November when on a cold night only 927 attended. There have been a further 48 matches which have attracted attendances below 2,000; 27 of those (57.4%) can be attributed to two teams – Accrington Stanley and Morecambe. In fact of the 16 home games both have played, The Accies have only had 3 gates over 2,000 (2,850 being there highest against Coventry City on 14th October) but The Shrimps have only had 1 gate above 2,000, when 2,059 watched; ironically a local derby against Accrington Stanley on 2nd September!
The following table provides a breakdown of the gates: –
|9000 to 9999||10|
|8000 to 8999||19|
|7000 to 7999||22|
|6000 to 7999||24|
|4000 to 5999||102|
|3000 to 3999||92|
|2000 to 2999||76|
|1500 to 1999||25|
|1000 to 1499||23|
The follwing table shows the total number of fans watching each club home and away: –
|Home & Away||Played||Total||Average|
|Forest Green Rovers||33||121210||3673|
The team that has been watch by the greatest aggregate of fans remains Lincoln City with 224,542 people seeing their 33 games. In fact only 3 other teams have passed the 200,000 for the total games played, Coventry City (223,182 from 32 games), Luton Town (218,257 from 34) and Notts County (208,604 from 33) with only Morecambe failing to achieve over 100,000 (86,228 from 32).
Table for Home attendances: –
|Forest Green Rovers||17||45597||2682|
At home the 3 best-supported teams remain, The Imps, Luton Town and Coventry City, in that order. A total of 145,987 fans have attended Sincil Bank for their 17 homes games an average gate of 8,587 per game. The Hatters are second with an aggregate of 144,638 for their 17 home games (average 8,508) with The Sky Blues third with a total of 141,483 fans attending the 16 home games (average 8,843) however the ‘Club Community Day’ attendance of over 28,000, may have distorted their figures. Whilst The Imps entertain Crewe Alexandra this Saturday The Sky Blues next home fixture is not until 3rd March…against The Imps where a dumper crowd is anticipated, so expect Coventry City to take over top spot shortly.
The two teams in the North West and the three around London fill the bottom five places in the aggregate attendance table, I suppose reflecting the competition from other bigger clubs in their areas playing in higher leagues. It is interesting to note however that both Morecambes’ aggregate attendance (23,069) and Accrington Stanleys’ (25,509) for their 16 home games are lower than the best gate in the division so far this season!
Away from home, I suppose most people will be stunned to see that Accrington Stanley are the most watched travelling club with 86,865 fans watching their 17 games (Average 5,110 per game). However bear in mind that total benefits from the ‘Club Community Day’ at The Ricoh Arena when 28,343 watched. If you remove that attendance from The Accies figures and then add the average Coventry City home gate only 66,065 people watched their 17 games reducing the average gate to 3,886 per game. Those figures would drop them to 23rd in the aggregate table and 22nd in the average attendance table. Just shows what one freak gate can do!
Table of attendances for Away Team: –
|Forest Green Rovers||16||75613||4726|
At the bottom of the table, the clubs with either the poorest travelling fans, or perhaps the teams that home fans are not attracted to watching are Yeovil, Morecambe, Cheltenham and Stevenage. Whilst these four hold the table up it should also be borne in mind that some may still have to visit the better supported teams, so the aggregate attendance my shoot up. Look what has happened to Accrington Stanley!
Finally as an aside I have looked at how each club in the division have filled their ground. The following table compares game attendance against ground capacity
|Home Games||Ground||Games||Maximum||Actual||% Ground|
|Exeter City *||6087||16||97392||63556||65.26|
|Forest Green Rovers||5141||17||87397||45597||52.17|
|*Exeter City ground capacity currently reduced from 8541|
The right hand column shows how full a clubs ground is on match day. Surprisingly, or not only 5 clubs are filling their ground over 50% whereas 3 are achieving less than 25%. It is interesting to note that 3 of the 5 grounds with capacities over 15,000 are towards the bottom of the table, reflecting in the case of Coventry City the hard times they are experiencing.
Perhaps some will say that it is a disadvantage to have a large capacity in a lower division, as you’ll struggle to fill it! However look at the table again and note Accrington Stanley, they have the smallest capacity in the division and are only filling it just over 30%!
Although the above provides good and interesting reading, everything will change as further big matches and local derbies are played. As the season comes to its’ climax some teams will better their position in these tables whilst some won’t, it’ll all depend on the fans and which games they want to watch.
Pajustka 22nd February 2018.