Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Where is everybody?

A report in Rupert Murdoch's S*n today about SPL attendances this season.

And, surprise, it doesn't make for a particular cheery read:
Figures calculated by the SPL up to the top-six split showed Hearts are one of just THREE teams whose average attendance has gone up this season.

Kilmarnock and Falkirk have shown marginal improvements, but for other sides the attendance figures make grim reading.

Celtic's average gates this season are down by more than 11,000 and Parkhead was half-empty for the visit of Hibs last weekend.

Aberdeen, Dundee United, St Mirren and Hamilton have also seen major drops, while Hibs and Motherwell made smaller losses.

Even Rangers, despite going for their second successive title, are being watched by an average of 2,000 people less than last season.
These statistics need more analysis than I've got time to do at the moment. But a quick check reveals that Hearts' growth still leaves them down on where they were a couple of years ago.

And Hibs are now well below the "break-even" figure that the club said they needed to hit a couple of years ago. Although having only three stands for part of this season is partly to blame.

Dundee United's drop would seem to be the most worrying - this is a club enjoying their most successful season for years with the press gushing about the belief at Tannadice. For those who turn up anyway.

Reasons for the slump? Not really got time for that either because there are a hell of a lot.

But I will jump on my favourite hobby horse (one of them) and say that the SPL needs to return to clubs playing one game at home, one game away.

Going to games is a habit (and it's difficult to get people back into the habit once they've gone) and a home game every other week is a far easier pattern to develop than the mess of a fixture list we've got just now.

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