Outside the Box: Fans vote with their feet as the credit crunch puts bite on gates

Is the credit crunch beginning to have an effect on football attendances? It was noticeable that of the 10 home teams in last weekend's Premier League fixtures, no fewer than six recorded their lowest League gate of the season. In the case of Everton's game with Fulham, it was the smallest crowd at Goodison Park (31,728) since February 2002, and Newcastle's Monday-night match with Aston Villa proved the worst attended there in six years. Significantly, both those matches were live on television, which also contributed to a small away following – in Fulham's case a paltry 275. Taken overall, however, it does appear that the continuous rise in gates since the Premier League began 16 years ago may finally have peaked. Last year's average among the 20 clubs was 36,076 per game; this season that figure is down to 35,094, a loss of more than 100,000 people so far. It would take a good PR man to put a positive slant on those figures; so here is a good PR man, the Premier League's Dan Johnson. "The average is slightly down, but the occupancy rate of 92 per cent is exactly the same," he says. "There are varying factors at work. For instance, the three promoted clubs this season have between them crowds of about 5,000 fewer than the three relegated clubs. We're one [postponed] game down at present, which is a Manchester United home game, and that changes things. Public transport hasn't always been at its best. [True; try travelling between London and Merseyside on a Saturday]. And you do find that gates increase as the season goes on." We shall see.

Tigers' sightings on the up

No worries on that score at Hull City, where the recent home gate against Chelsea of 24,906 was a club record for the KC Stadium, and illustrates the impact made by miracle worker Phil Brown. Meanwhile, they continue with plans to paint the world, er, black and amber. Shirt sponsors Karoo have started a campaign to discover expat fans all overthe globe, and sightings of Tigers have so far been recorded as far away as New Zealand (11,650 miles from Humberside), Australia (10,485 miles), Thailand (9,849) and Venezuela (4,787).

Not like watching Paint dry

At the other end of the scale, teams in the lower divisions are embracing the sort of initiatives that Premier League clubs may soon have to consider. A good example is for matches in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy, the latest incarnation of the Freight Rover Trophy, Auto Windscreens Shield, LDV Vans Trophy, etc, the sole attraction of which appears to be a Wembley final for smaller clubs (last season's crowd for Grimsby against MK Dons: 56,618). To attract younger fans and families, home teams are encouraged to provide free admission for under-16s, kick-off if possible at 7pm and go straight to penalties without extra time. No fielding reserve teams, either; every side must contain six of the 11 players who have made most first-team appearances to that date.

Tim should be committed

Post-match interviews at Tottenham Hotspur, like the football, are a lot livelier since Harry Redknapp replaced Juande Ramos, for sure. And coach Tim Sherwood has added a new dimension to an old football cliché by suggesting he is "one million per cent" committed to the job. Any advance on a million?

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Phillips Idowu, Stella McCartney and Jessica Ennis
fashionMcCartney to continue designing Team GB Olympics kit until 2016
Sport
Shinji Kagawa and Reece James celebrate after the latter scores in Manchester United's 7-0 victory over LA Galaxy
football
Voices
voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
Sport
Farah returns to the track with something to prove
Commonwealth games
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

Farewell, my lovely

Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
Will The Minerva Project - the first 'elite' American university to be launched in a century - change the face of higher learning?

Will The Minerva Project change the face of higher learning?

The university has no lecture halls, no debating societies, no sports teams and no fraternities. Instead, the 33 students who have made the cut at Minerva, will travel the world and change the face of higher learning
The 10 best pedicure products

Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
Commonwealth Games 2014: Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games

Commonwealth Games 2014

Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games
Jack Pitt-Brooke: Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism

Jack Pitt-Brooke

Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism