|Attendances? We've Never Had it So Good|
Written by CherryHintonBlue on Thursday, 6th Apr 2017 10:22
There’ll be a lot of pointing towards the number of spectators against Wigan being under 15,000, and therefore the lowest home league crowd since 1999, but we need to remember that consistent attendances of the levels we see nowadays are far from typical in the club’s history. Since 1960, there have been nearly 300 home league matches with attendances lower than 15,000.
We’ve just come off the back of 14 years of attendances in the 15,000 to 20,000 range, or above. There was a similar period throughout Bobby Robson’s heyday in the 70s and 80s. But before that, back in the 60s, attendances of 12,000 or fewer were normal.
In the 80s, even in the old First Division, we usually had attendances under 15,000. This even included relatively poor attendances at matches against big teams like Everton (13,910 in November 1985) and Arsenal (14,186 in March 1986). By 1989, 11,000 had become normal.
Things didn’t pick up even in the 1990s. During that decade there were 26 league matches at Portman Road with an attendance under 10,000, the famous low point being the match against Swindon in November 1996 when just 7,086 turned up. There’ll be plenty of readers who’ll remember that - and there seem to be about 20,000 who claim they were there.
The boom in attendances didn’t really start again until about the start of 1999. We now take crowds of over 15,000 for granted, because this century, that’s what they’ve been - almost exclusively. But in the club’s history, consistently getting crowds of this size is actually quite unusual.
The table below shows the home matches with crowds of under 15,000 in the past 20 years. Nearly all were in the first two years of that period, before attendances took off.
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