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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.

Tuesday, 4 November 1997Stockport CountyHLeague (2nd Tier)8938
Sunday, 9 November 1997Sheffield UnitedHLeague (2nd Tier)9695
Saturday, 25 October 1997BuryHLeague (2nd Tier)10478
Saturday, 14 February 1998Huddersfield TownHLeague (2nd Tier)10509
Saturday, 20 September 1997Stoke CityHLeague (2nd Tier)10665
Tuesday, 2 September 1997Swindon TownHLeague (2nd Tier)11246
Tuesday, 8 September 1998Bradford CityHLeague (2nd Tier)11596
Saturday, 13 December 1997PortsmouthHLeague (2nd Tier)11641
Saturday, 5 April 1997Oldham AthleticHLeague (2nd Tier)11730
Tuesday, 24 February 1998Oxford UnitedHLeague (2nd Tier)11824
Saturday, 31 January 1998Bradford CityHLeague (2nd Tier)11864
Saturday, 10 January 1998Queens Park RangersHLeague (2nd Tier)12672
Saturday, 17 October 1998Swindon TownHLeague (2nd Tier)13212
Saturday, 15 August 1998BuryHLeague (2nd Tier)13267
Saturday, 30 August 1997West Bromwich AlbionHLeague (2nd Tier)13508
Tuesday, 2 December 1997MiddlesbroughHLeague (2nd Tier)13619
Saturday, 19 September 1998Bristol CityHLeague (2nd Tier)13657
Saturday, 4 October 1997Manchester CityHLeague (2nd Tier)14322
Friday, 12 November 1999Tranmere RoversHLeague (2nd Tier)14514
Tuesday, 4 April 2017Wigan AthleticHLeague (2nd Tier)14661
Tuesday, 3 November 1998Wolverhampton WanderersHLeague (2nd Tier)14680
Saturday, 18 December 1999West Bromwich AlbionHLeague (2nd Tier)14712
Tuesday, 31 January 2017Derby CountyHLeague (2nd Tier)14719
Tuesday, 3 December 2013Blackburn RoversHLeague (2nd Tier)14953

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hucks216 added 10:45 - Apr 6
I'd be interested to know what the 'through the turnstile' attendance figures have been for the last 2 seasons rather than the one they announce.

Suffolk_n_Proud added 10:49 - Apr 6
I'm no statistical expert but you have tm remember population size and in the 80s and 90s the population of Ipswich decreased a little while since about 1998 the population has been increasing dramatically, which corresponds with the upsurge in attendances from 1999. Is there any correlation? Who knows. Who cares. I'm just bored

Ferguson added 10:53 - Apr 6
1975. Very unofficially 30,000 plus at home against Leeds, FA CUP 1/4 final. Kids sitting round the pitch.
That said the core support was around...........14,000.

CherryHintonBlue added 11:51 - Apr 6
38,010 against Leeds. I was there, in Churchmans, standing on my home-made steps, next to my mate standing on his upturned beer crate.

Illinoisblue added 12:02 - Apr 6
Worthy of note: the very high average crowd - 24k - 25k - in the Joe Royle years. Entertaining football and probably people still in the ST routine after the prem years earlier will do that .

Portman51 added 13:56 - Apr 6
Probably no more than 10,000 actually in the ground for Wigan. If the game hadn't been rather more entertaining than of late it would have been possible to count the people in the Cobbold Stand and Bobby Robson Upper from my seat in the Alf Ramsey. But the point about historic attendances is well made. One match that sticks in my mind is the first home game of the 1991-2 season which ended in promotion, beautiful sunny day and under 9,000 turned up as I recall. Even the title-clinching match against Aston Villa in 1962 was nowhere near a sellout at around 25,000.

WeWereZombies added 14:03 - Apr 6
It would be a can of worms to open and people would be forever arguing about which set of figures to use but a comparison of disposable income in Ipswich and surrounds with attendances would throw up a correlation at some points I guess. That and sunny weather in August with the proximity to the coast as a factor.

tallguy6767 added 12:29 - Apr 9
All a bit irrelevant really, the catchment area has increased dramatically over the last 30 years so crowds of 15000 today are piss poor.!

PortmanTerrorist added 16:44 - Apr 10
Rubbish blog. Pointless

Should have titled it:-

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