WHO Poll
Q: 2018/19 Wolves (H)
a. At last we have a win now let's make it two, Win
48%
  
b. A win against 10 men and two leagues below us is fine, but this will be much harder I'll take a point, Draw
13%
  
c. Who are we kidding, a win against Wimbledon and all is rosy, forget it we're getting our arses kicked in this one, Lose
30%
  
d. It's at times like these when you really do miss Love Island
2%
  
e. I was all over this game until I found out it's not on the box, the broadcasting companies really don't care about us hard core fans do they, I might pop off to Thorpe Park for the day instead, obviously in my WHU shirt
8%
  



charleyfarley 10:02 Wed Sep 12
Football club attendances: Are fans getting the full picture? - long article
It's not been much fun being a West Ham fan at London Stadium - but at least when the attendances were announced last season many were able to manage a wry smile.

It's a moment replicated in football stadiums across the country as fans hear the attendance, look at the number of empty seats and ask: 'Really?'

Last season, Arsenal were under scrutiny as supporters appeared to stay away from Emirates Stadium during manager Arsene Wenger's final season. Even pundits joked about the club's official near-capacity attendance compared with the gaps clearly visible in the stadium.

But they aren't the only Premier League club where official attendances appeared inaccurate.

West Ham and Man City show discrepancies
BBC Sport sent Freedom of Information requests to the relevant police forces and local councils for all 20 Premier League teams, asking whether they had figures for the actual number of people in the stadium for each game last season.

Most said they did not hold that information, directing us to figures published by the club.

But we received eight responses, relating to seven clubs. At six of those clubs, police and/or council figures differed from the official published attendances.

Although the figures only covered games which the authorities attended, some of the results were revealing:

What we found - the headlines
West Ham: Newham council says the average attendance at West Ham was 42,779 based on the 12 games it attended - which is 12,530 fans fewer than the club's season average figure of 55,309.
Manchester City: Greater Manchester Police's average figures were 7,482 lower than club figures, again based on 12 games.
Southampton: Hampshire Police figures were an average of 4,246 fans lower than figures issued by the club.
Tottenham: Brent Council says crowds at Wembley Stadium were on average 3,740 less than the club's stated numbers.
Chelsea: Hammersmith and Fulham council says its average was 3,505 fans lower than club numbers, based on six games.
Watford: Hertfordshire Police says its average was 2,602 fans fewer than club figures, based on four games.
Manchester United: Trafford Council and Greater Manchester Police both said United's published attendance figures matched its own, based on 12 games.
Average attendances per club
Club (% of capacity) FOI (% of capacity) Difference (% of capacity)
*based on 12 games; ** based on six games; *** based on four games
West Ham 55,309 (97%) 42,779* (75%) 12,530 (22%)
Man City 53,274 (97%) 45,792* (83%) 7,482 (14%)
Southampton 29,906 (92%) 25,660 (79%) 4,246 (13%)
Tottenham 61,843 (69%) 58,103 (65%) 3,740 (4%)
Chelsea 40,593 (98%) 37,088** (89%) 3,505 (8%)
Watford 20,319 (95%) 17,171*** (80%) 2,602 (15%)
Man Utd 73,575 (98%) 73,575 (98%) 0 (0%)
So why the difference?
Most teams in the Premier League choose to publicise the number of tickets sold for a game rather than the number of people actually in the stadium. That means they include season ticket holders who don't attend, and complimentary tickets that are not used.

They are not breaking any rules by choosing this method.

According to the Sports Ground Safety Authority, clubs are required by law to know the number of people attending each game for safety reasons and plan in advance for expected attendances. They do not need to release this information, however, and authorities broadly accept there is sometimes a difference between publicised attendance figures and those obtained by BBC Sport.

Man City attendances
Some clubs say they choose to publish 'tickets sold' because the data is more consistent and provides a simpler auditing process.

At Arsenal, the official average was 57,054 at Emirates Stadium last season - 2,813 short of the 59,867 capacity - but the Arsenal Supporters' Trust claims the actual average attendance was about 46,000.

The club disputes that figure, and FOI requests to local police and council could not confirm it either.

Football finance expert Rob Wilson believes publicising 'tickets sold' attendance figures is done for commercial reasons.

He says publishing higher attendance figures could "potentially bring in better sponsors" and generate more interest in season ticket sales by making them appear a "scarce resource".

But Southampton are among those clubs who said there was no commercial gain from doing this as television money was the biggest source of income.

Why do fans stay away?
There are lots of reasons fans stay away from games: cheaper season tickets at some clubs allowing fans to pick and choose games; life or work commitments; games being rearranged for TV.

The health of the club and relative success on the field are also a factor. Both Arsenal and West Ham's reduced attendances last season came when the general mood was less than ecstatic.

Arsenal failed to reach the Champions League for a second season in succession, while some West Ham fans are still disgruntled with the 2016 move to London Stadium, as well as the team's poor form.

But that cannot be said of Manchester City, who won the Premier League by a record margin last season and, based on 12 games obtained by BBC Sport, still showed an average discrepancy of 7,482.

The club, which offers some of the cheapest season tickets in the league and has had record sales for 2018-19, said they were "aware that a percentage of fans are unable to attend matches on occasion, due to a variety of factors often related to individual circumstance".

Do the figures say anything about the health of the Premier League?
The Football Supporters' Federation says there is "an issue of transparency" if clubs only release data on tickets sold.

"Quite often clubs or the authorities will refer to 'occupancy rates' in their arguments," a spokesperson said. "But they are often misleading according to the BBC's research and don't highlight how many fans stay away when matches are rescheduled for TV."

The Premier League rejects that claim, saying occupancy rates in stadiums have remained at 95-96% over the past five seasons despite increasing numbers of games being broadcast live.

But if BBC Sport's research is used as a barometer, albeit from a small sample, it would suggest true occupancy in the Premier League is about 85%.

For the three seasons from 2013-14 there were 154 TV games per season, but from 2016-17 that rose to 168 games for another three seasons - and there will be 200 televised games when the new rights deal kicks in from 2019-20.

The FSF added: "If clubs know the actual number of fans through the turnstile, rather than the number of tickets sold or given away, then there's no reason they shouldn't publish that figure."

But Wilson says there is no real implication for the success or popularity of the Premier League.

"The tickets are being sold whether or not the person turns up to the game," he said. "Where it starts to fall down is if lots of free tickets are being given away to try and pack the stadium.

"[Business analyst firm] Deloitte data said it's about 96% utilisation, but if you take into account [actual] attendances, I would imagine it's still around 90%. Even if it is 85%, that's still pretty healthy."

West Ham attendances
What else did we learn? The outstanding differences at each club
West Ham's biggest difference in figures was 17,523 fans for the home game against West Brom on Tuesday, 2 January 2018. The official attendance was 56,888 but the council said it was 39,365.

The Hammers' matches against Chelsea and Arsenal in December had a discrepancy of 11,953 (56,953 - 45,000) and 14,721 (56,921 - 42,200) respectively.

Manchester City's largest discrepancy was 15,277 for the visit of Southampton on Wednesday, 29 November 2017 (53,407 compared with 38,130).

For games over the festive period, there was a difference of more than 9,000 fans for City's games against Bournemouth (54,270 - 44,406) and Watford (53,556 - 44,207).

But there was still a difference of 8,687 (54,214 - 45,527) for the 4-1 win against Tottenham on Saturday, 16 December; 4,218 (54,286 - 50,068) for the 3-1 victory against Arsenal on Sunday, 5 November; and 5,524 (54,172 - 48,648) for the 5-0 win over Liverpool on Saturday, 9 September.

Tottenham's largest discrepancy was 8,686 (55,124 - 46,438) for the game with Brighton on 3 December.

Strangely, there were five matches at which Tottenham's published number of tickets sold was lower than the council's attendance figure. There were between 16 and 104 more people in the stadium than the club accounted for. That included the Premier League's record attendance of 83,222 for the north London derby on 10 February 2018. The actual attendance was 83,290.

Four of the six Chelsea matches that Hammersmith and Fulham Council attended were European games where the difference ranged from zero for their last-16 Champions League tie against Barcelona on 20 February (attendance 37,741) to 5,222 (41,150 - 35,928) for their group game against Qarabag on 12 September.

For two Premier League fixtures the difference was 6,345 (41,364 - 35,019), for the visit of Tottenham on 1 April, and 3,096 (41,324 - 38,228) for West Ham a week later.

Chelsea did not want to comment on the differences reported but it is understood attendances are capped at a lower level for European games and to allow broadcasters more space for technical equipment.

At Southampton, who only achieved Premier League survival on the last day of the season, the biggest discrepancies came towards the end of the campaign, according to Hampshire Police.

The Saints said their attendance for Chelsea's visit on 14 April was 31,764 but police figures show 6,945 fewer fans at St Mary's. There was also a difference of 6,799 (31,778 - 24,979) for the home game against south-coast rivals Bournemouth.

At Watford, only four attendances were obtained via Hertfordshire constabulary - for home games against Liverpool, Brighton, Manchester City and Arsenal.

But in each case, fewer fans attended than were advertised - amounting to an average discrepancy of 2,602 per game. The biggest difference was for Brighton, amounting to 3,568 (20,181 - 16,613).

'Every empty seat is a tragedy' - what fans and clubs said
At Emirates Stadium, where there is a long waiting list for one of 48,000 season tickets, the Arsenal Supporters' Trust (AST) says publishing attendance figures would "highlight the scale of empty seats and perhaps put more emphasis on it being addressed".

The AST's Tim Payton says every empty seat is "a tragedy for those who want to watch but can't get in".

Payton believes Arsenal could tackle the problem by introducing an app to improve ticket resales, although it is understood 60,000 tickets were sold through the club's ticket exchange last season.

Other clubs are attempting to improve that type of facility, too, including West Ham.

The Hammers' 2016 move to London Stadium from Upton Park has been beset by problems and Paul Turner of the West Ham Supporters' Trust calls the attendances "fake news" and a "face-saving operation" for the club's owners, who he claims are still trying to prove to some fans that the move was a good idea.

With a court case to come in November, at which the club will attempt to boost its capacity, Turner says the publication of inflated attendances "helps their narrative".

But West Ham claim the discrepancy is because they offer some of the cheapest season tickets in the Premier League, and the cheapest among the top-flight's London clubs. As a result they have 50,000 season ticket holders, with 10,000 junior season tickets among them.

Meanwhile, Southampton season ticket holder Nick Illingsworth has questioned police figures given the biggest discrepancies came when they were battling for survival against Chelsea and Bournemouth.

Replies - Newest Posts First (Show In Chronological Order)

Sir Alf 2:09 Thu Sep 13
Re: Football club attendances: Are fans getting the full picture? - long article
I never bought into the "saviours" bit but did think that although they saw financial opportunity they would also want to really improve the club and its team. In the end, they have only invested ( badly) this season because they were forced to and the sum invested … more than half was perhaps money they did not spend previous seasons or from sales.

We need new owners but ones that care about the football side and the legacy. They also have to be mega rich since modern football is like a game of footie manager and seeing who can spend the most and on the best blend of mercenaries. This means a foreigner who truly has West Ham in his blood/DNA. In other words, there aint one.

Like Norm said on another thread, the real dream now might be to start again AFC Wimbledon style.

Northern Sold 1:58 Thu Sep 13
Re: Football club attendances: Are fans getting the full picture? - long article
G & S killed the club really?



daft thing is it was only 2 or 3 years ago that they was still be touted... by quite a few on here... as `Club Saviours`.... come on don't be shy... put your hand up....

Sir Alf 1:42 Thu Sep 13
Re: Football club attendances: Are fans getting the full picture? - long article
The move as many suspected but some hoped not was almost exclusively about increasing the wealth of the owners. Some said ( not me unfortunately - I bought into the dream that it was about improving our fortunes on the pitch and the "next level" as in my advancing years I do not have much time left to see us win anything again or at least have a team to be proud of again ) at the time that it was all about the money. They were right.

The whole move, modern football etc. is just another part of the devaluing of the game and what made it so enjoyable.

All that is left is the name and even that has changed to West Ham London !! Really there aint much left other than memories of how it used to be. G & S killed the club really?

brick_lane_batty_boy 1:15 Thu Sep 13
Re: Football club attendances: Are fans getting the full picture? - long article
Jaan Kenbrovin 3:07 Wed Sep 12
Re: Football club attendances: Are fans getting the full picture? - long article

Well the point being - our average attendance is 44k now - so yeh, I think we'd just about have filled 45k developing the east stand.

An average attendance suggests that's what we get most weeks does it not?

You can not have a 55k seater stadium and expect to fill it in London with a team that is invariably in a relegation dog fight most seasons. I say in London, because I know Newcastle get big attendances - there are just so many more things to do down here at weekends than there is in the North East.

Pop Robson 1:38 Thu Sep 13
Re: Football club attendances: Are fans getting the full picture? - long article
Under 40,000 for WBA in a stadium that held 80,000 for athletics, talk about rattling around and freezing cold.

Boleyn bar lot can jump ship next season, a few I know panicked and signed up for the better "view"

£12,000 for 2 seats over 3 seasons, still a free programme and a beer happy days !!!

penners28 1:25 Thu Sep 13
Re: Football club attendances: Are fans getting the full picture? - long article
BANGED OUT

AKA ERNIE 11:28 Wed Sep 12
Re: Football club attendances: Are fans getting the full picture? - long article
sold we moved to make the owners richer thought we all knew that

geoffpikey 10:31 Wed Sep 12
Re: Football club attendances: Are fans getting the full picture? - long article
I'm more concerned by the erroneous claim we've had 11 footballers on the pitch in recent games.

, 7:03 Wed Sep 12
Re: Football club attendances: Are fans getting the full picture? - long article
Cannot be bothered to read all that but has anyone come up with a figure of how many unsold seats there are at EPL clubs for their league games?

Sir Alf 6:38 Wed Sep 12
Re: Football club attendances: Are fans getting the full picture? - long article
I was duped and was supporting the move. I was wrong completely. The team is no better ( perhaps worse) and the "experience" worse.

Still at least S & G have increased their wealth from miillions to billions :-(

Northern Sold 6:19 Wed Sep 12
Re: Football club attendances: Are fans getting the full picture? - long article
ERN... I think it's more of a case of why did we bother moving ... you know we could have stayed put.... and managed the 42k quite easily with a bit of development... and everyone apart from D3 would have been happy as Larry...

Far Cough 6:15 Wed Sep 12
Re: Football club attendances: Are fans getting the full picture? - long article
AKA ERNIE 6:03 Wed Sep 12
Re: Football club attendances: Are fans getting the full picture? - long article
so reading this thread it's pretty much posters that don't go moaning about fans not going




Hahaha, spot on

JOHNNY V 6:04 Wed Sep 12
Re: Football club attendances: Are fans getting the full picture? - long article
Jaan the article doesn’t point out that several clubs aren’t selling out, it’s pointing out that the clubs are selling the seats but supporters are not turning up. As others have said allowing groups to buy junior tickets that can be upgraded from the offset was of the owners making, all too keen to announce 50,000 season tickets sold as early as possible.

AKA ERNIE 6:03 Wed Sep 12
Re: Football club attendances: Are fans getting the full picture? - long article
so reading this thread it's pretty much posters that don't go moaning about fans not going

Jaan Kenbrovin 5:43 Wed Sep 12
Re: Football club attendances: Are fans getting the full picture? - long article
I'm not saying the stadium doesn't have an effect on people's decisions, but we have had two relegation battles which would be a far greater influence on people not to go.

Depspite being largely shit, we have sold out ST's 3 times on the trot though, so people obviously want them.

The fact the prices are decent for many and there are so many cheap kiddies tickets, it gives a lot of fans the luxury of not losing a lot of money when deciding not to go.

Northern Sold 5:21 Wed Sep 12
Re: Football club attendances: Are fans getting the full picture? - long article
Jaan... not sure how old you are or whether you went in the 80's... the reason crowds were down was mainly that 75% of the crowds were young blokes getting their weekend kicks... you had fuck all women... fuck all families on their days out ... just a massive lad culture... so either you embraced it... or you thought fuck that for a laugh... plenty did the latter... although granted once we went on that decent run and Cottee/McAvennie got their exposure the crowds picked up... so much so after having no probs getting in for teh majority of teh games me and my MATES were locked out of the CFC home game... glory hunting cunts

What this article proves is the day dreamers on here and in the boardroom who think that we need to increase our attendance... although I can see why Beardy Gold0 wants it above 66k... you know being the biggest (most seats that is) club in London blah blah...

In anycase regarding the cost... aren't out prices for ST's etc dirt cheap??

BulphanIron 5:18 Wed Sep 12
Re: Football club attendances: Are fans getting the full picture? - long article
None have anywhere near the same amount empty as us.

We're the only ones who have recently moved into a far bigger stadium as well, the novelty shouldn't have even worn off yet, yet nearly a quarter of the crowd have fucked it off by the looks...

Jaan Kenbrovin 5:12 Wed Sep 12
Re: Football club attendances: Are fans getting the full picture? - long article
Spin what, the article points out several clubs aren't selling out, not just us?

In fact with the costs of going now and the amount of televised games, streaming, I can't get how someone can act like it's any worse now, than the example I gave in our most successful season ever, before all seaters, and when games were nowhere near as regularly televised?

BulphanIron 5:05 Wed Sep 12
Re: Football club attendances: Are fans getting the full picture? - long article
Jaan Kenbrovin 4:50 Wed Sep 12
Re: Football club attendances: Are fans getting the full picture? - long article
“the crowds in the 80's were consistency low and that was not just our place”

So much like now with the example of Man City not filling there’s in a title winning season, you mean?

How can you even try to spin this?

Lily Hammer 4:52 Wed Sep 12
Re: Football club attendances: Are fans getting the full picture? - long article
These iconic attendances are down to the state of the art retractable promises.

Jaan Kenbrovin 4:50 Wed Sep 12
Re: Football club attendances: Are fans getting the full picture? - long article
“the crowds in the 80's were consistency low and that was not just our place”

So much like now with the example of Man City not filling there’s in a title winning season, you mean?

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