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?
Sport
Kim Sears is reported to have directed abuse at Berdych
tennis
Arts and Entertainment
Cold case: Aaron McCusker and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvReview: Sky Atlantic's ambitious new series Fortitude has begun with a feature-length special
Voices
Three people wearing masks depicting Ed Miliband, David Cameron and Nick Clegg
voicesPolitics is in the gutter – but there is an alternative, says Nigel Farage
Voices
The veterans Mark Hayward, Hugh Thompson and Sean Staines (back) with Grayson Perry (front left) and Evgeny Lebedev
charity appealMaverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
News
i100
Voices
A mother and her child
voices
News
people
Sport
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho
footballI have never seen the point of lambasting the fourth official, writes Paul Scholes
Life and Style
Vote green: Benoit Berenger at The Duke of Cambridge in London's Islington
food + drinkBanishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turn over a new leaf
News
Joel Grey (left) poses next to a poster featuring his character in the film
peopleActor Joel Grey comes out at 82
News
i100
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

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee