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Greed is God
Posted: Tue May 22, 2012 10:38 pm
As regular forum contributors and anyone who bought ‘ROAR of the Crowd’ will be aware, complete attendance figures for ALL clubs are only available from 1961 onwards. To show how attendances have changed over the past half century I have split these figures into three groups. The first is for the old 18-club Division one from 1961-1975 inclusive, the second for the pre-SPL Premier Division which consisted of ten clubs 1975-1986, twelve 1986-88, ten again 1988-1991, twelve 1991-94 and back to ten 1994-98. The final set encompasses the fourteen years of the SPL 1998-2012 which consisted of ten clubs 1998-2000 and twelve from 2000 onwards.
To make sure I am comparing like with like I have only included matches in the top division at any given time as, inevitably, crowds are lower further down the scale. Also, I have included only the fifteen clubs which have spent time in the top flight during all three eras. Thus the following clubs are excluded: Inverness CT, Livingston, Gretna, all of whom joined the league after 1961 and played in the top flight in the SPL only, Airdrieonians, Ayr United, Dumbarton Morton and Raith Rovers who all played in both Division One and the Premier Division but not the SPL, Clydebank who played only in the Premier Division, and Arbroath, Clyde, Cowdenbeath, East Fife, East Stirlingshire, Queen of the South, Stirling Albion and Third Lanark who played in Division One only.
The remaining fifteen are the seven big city clubs of Celtic, Rangers, Hearts, Hibs, Aberdeen, Dundee and Dundee United plus the seven leading ‘provincial’ sides Dunfermline, Falkirk, Kilmarnock, Motherwell, Partick Thistle, St Johnstone and St Mirren. Yes, I know the Jags are a Glasgow club but in terms of size and history they have more in common with this second group than the Old Firm and other city teams.
The fifteenth club is Hamilton Accies. Although they have played in the top flight during all three eras, it would be stretching it to put the Accies on a par with the other provincial teams as they have spent just six of the 51 seasons covered as a top flight side.
The first analysis is to determine mobility between the divisions. In the 1961-75 era with two up and two down in a two-division set-up each season there were 26 promotions and relegations (it didn’t apply in at the end of 1974-75 when the league was reconstructed). A total of 28 clubs played in the top division. Seven were constants - the seven big city clubs. In addition, five of the provincials - Dunfermline, Killie, ‘Well, the Jags and St Johnstone all missed just one season, Airdrie and Falkirk just two and Clyde three. In other words fifteen of the eighteen were pretty much the same year in year out. Morton (ten seasons), St Mirren (nine) and Ayr United (seven) spent 50% or more of the time in the top division. So there was an established hierarchy back then just as there is now, only slightly larger. Indeed with 28 clubs playing in an 18-club division over fourteen seasons it represents almost the same average as the fourteen years of the SPL which has seen eighteen clubs in a twelve-club league. . The middle period - the pre-SPL Premier Division has a participation rate of over 200%, that is 21 clubs in what was usually a ten-club division. Of course that extends over a longer period than either of the other eras.
Between 1975-1998 there were 39 promotions and relegations, a lower rate than before as the divisions were altered, one up one down operated at times and towards the end of the period play-offs were introduced. The 1975 reconstruction was the first step in the extension of the dominance of the Old Firm. They wanted fewer clubs in the top division and the other big city clubs were happy to go along with it (Dundee United being the notable exception), tempted by two extra home games against the big two instead of visits from the likes of Arbroath and East Fife. Clubs at the top end of the old Second Division were happy too as they scented bigger crowds from entertaining Kilmarnock and Partick Thistle than from Brechin City and Stenhousemuir. Oddly enough the Brechins and Stenhousemuirs were in favour too as they reckoned they could never push for promotion to the top division but could to a middle one.
So the clubs which lost out the most were those provincial ones which had enjoyed a semi-permanent position at the top table prior to 1975. Of the seven provincials mentioned earlier Motherwell spent the most time at the top (nineteen seasons) and they were helped twice by changes to relegation rules. St Mirren had fifteen seasons, Partick ten, Kilmarnock nine, St Johnstone seven and Dunfermline and Falkirk both six - a far cry from 1961-75. But much to their astonishment the big city clubs suffered too. For a long time (until they eventually fixed it) they failed to realise that a relegation rate of 20% every year put them in danger. In fact if we take the Old Firm out of the equation the practical relegation rate was 25% - two from eight. Every one of the other city clubs except Aberdeen went down at some stage and even the Dons were only saved in a play-off in 1995. Worst affected were Dundee who went from being consistently the sixth biggest club in Scotland to second in their own city, spending just thirteen seasons in the Premier. Hearts - never before relegated - went down three times between 1977-1981 and spent four of the 23 seasons out of the top flight. Both Hibs and Dundee United fared better, missing just one season.
So, only three clubs - the OF and Aberdeen - spent all 23 years at the top with just Hibs and Dundee United keeping pace at 22 seasons. Of those outside the ‘regulars’ Morton fared best at seven seasons. Airdrie had four, Ayr United, Clydebank and Raith Rovers all had three and Dumbarton one. The outsider of the ‘regular’ fifteen, Hamilton, had two.
So to the SPL era. While the percentage of participants is the same as the old Division One, so is the NUMBER of permanent members, hence a much greater percentage of the latter. Like Division One, seven clubs (the Old Firm, Aberdeen, Hearts, Dundee United with Kilmarnock and Motherwell replacing Dundee and Hibs) have been in the SPL each and every season. The rate of permanence in 1961-75 was 26%. In the SPL it is 39% - a 50% increase. With a pathetic twelve relegations and fourteen promotions (including 2011-12) reasons for this aren’t hard to find.
In addition to this, Hibs have missed just the inaugural season so two-thirds of the SPL are pretty much permanent fixtures. Of the rest of the regulars, Dunfermline have had nine seasons, Dundee, St Johnstone and St Mirren seven, Falkirk five, Hamilton three and Partick Thistle two. True, there have been new clubs in Inverness CT, Livvy and Gretna. Ross County will join next year but the SPL can claim no credit for these clubs admission to the league structure or their progress or otherwise since.
I will show the attendance figures in my next post which demonstrates just how much the SPL has transformed the landscape in favour of the big two. This one is long enough as it is. I’ll close with just one other fact. In the 1961-75 period no top flight clubs went into administration. Nor did any between 1975-1998. In the SPL era there have been FIVE, all within the past decade. That’s 28% of the membership during that time.
Re: Greed is God
Posted: Tue May 22, 2012 11:49 pm
During the period 1961-1975 the Old Firm easily outstripped the rest in terms of attendances but not to the extent they do today. Here are the average home league attendances (of the fifteen clubs to play in the top flight in all three periods) over the fourteen seasons. Remember, only top flight games are included so as not to skew the figures of provincial clubs downwards.
7736 Dundee United
7526 Partick Thistle
7032 St Mirren
5688 St Johnstone
This was the Celtic nine-in-a-row and European Cup-winning era yet Rangers were still the best supported team. Seven other clubs won major trophies. Dundee and Kilmarnock both won the league, Dunfermline and Aberdeen the Scottish Cup, Hearts, Partick Thistle, Hibs and Dundee the League Cup. Eight of the 42 domestic trophies available were won outwith the big two. Dundee also reached the semi-finals of the European Cup, Dunfermline the same stage of the Cup-Winners Cup and Killie and Dundee likewise in the Fairs Cup. The Old Firm of course excelled in Europe during this era.
Turning to 1975-1998 and the Premier Division these are the figures:
9523 Dundee United
7471 St Mirren
6661 Partick Thistle
5968 St Johnstone
It was during this period that the ‘New Firm’ came to the fore with Aberdeen winning three league titles and Dundee United one. The Dons also won the Cup-Winners Cup and United reached the final of the UEFA Cup. The Old Firm, still reasonably strong in Europe at the outset of this period faded with only the Rangers campaign of 1992-93 making any real impact after 1980. Aberdeen won five Scottish Cups and St Mirren, Motherwell, Dundee United, Kilmarnock and Hearts all got their hands on the trophy as well. Aberdeen won three League Cups, Dundee United two, Hibs one and even Raith Rovers got in on the act. Eight non-OF trophy winners in all and twenty of the 69 trophies - almost one in three - being won outside of Glasgow.
Not surprising then that the Dons overtook Hearts as third in the rankings. The Old Firm continued to increase though not at a spectacular rate until near the end of this period. Of the fifteen clubs, eleven show an increase in crowds with four dropping. One of the four drops is marginal (Killie), another (Dundee) can be attributed to the greater success of their neighbours. The extent of the Hibs decline is puzzling. But Partick Thistle are feeling the effects of the Old Firm. Third Lanark vanished in the 1960s. By the end of this era Clyde have moved. Even Queen’s Park’s crowds are half what they were twenty 15-20 years earlier (and they weren’t much then). So despite spending almost half this period in the top flight and with four home games in each of those seasons against the Old Firm, the Jags lose nearly 1,000 per match compared to when they played the big two just twice and had fixtures against clubs paying only fleeting visits to the big time.
Now to the SPL years and the average gates of the big two compared to times past almost leap up off the page and spit into the faces of non-OF fans everywhere.
7991 Dundee United
5184 Partick Thistle
5106 St Johnstone
4966 St Mirren
Celtic up by 200%, Rangers by nearly 150% on the old Premier Division and taking 32% of all prize money for finishing 1st and 2nd in thirteen of the fourteen seasons as well. Now, it doesn’t matter if these figures include season ticket holders who haven’t turned up or not. These are the numbers of people who on average have paid to get into each and every one of the home matches staged at Ibrox and Celtic Park under SPL auspices over the past fourteen seasons.
Setting aside Rangers current travails, it has - or should have been - a gold mine for them. Now look at the others. Hearts are holding up well. Not surprising as they have been the most successful club outside the Old Firm. They are the only team to split them since 1995. They have had five third place finishes, three more than anyone else. When they were third for the second year running in 2004 it was the first time Hearts had enjoyed two successive top three placings since they last won the league in 1960. In terms of trophies they are the only team other than the OF to have won more than once, with two Scottish Cups. Only four other clubs have enjoyed trophy success. Dundee United in the Scottish Cup and Livingston, Hibernian and Kilmarnock in the League Cup. That’s just six of the 42 on offer and two of those have come within the past couple of months. The OF apart only Hibernian and Kilmarnock have won trophies in all three periods
Looking at the other averages, Hibs have risen from their mid-period low but they are still drawing less today, with three guaranteed home games against the Old Firm and several seasons when they have not only four home matches against the Glasgow clubs but two Edinburgh derbies as well, than they did back in the 1960s and early 1970s. Aberdeen are down on the middle period and their average is decreasing year on year. Dundee United are down too and Dundee have dropped consistently throughout. So too have Kilmarnock if more gradually. Motherwell draw 800 less on average in the SPL than they did in the old Premier despite two third places and several top six finishes. Dunfermline are down drastically on the middle period, Falkirk have lost nearly 1,000 and Partick Thistle have dropped a further 1,500. They have lost almost one-third of their pre-1975 support as football rivalry in Glasgow crystallises ever more into a contest between only two clubs. St Johnstone have lost close to 900 but perhaps worst of all is St Mirren. Consistently above 7,000 in each of the previous two periods they are now below 5,000. True, like elsewhere, capacity is much less nowadays, but that is not a reason for such a precipitous drop. Like the Jags it would appear they are suffering from proximity to the big two.
Finally, Hamilton, the cuckoo in this particular nest given how rarely they play in the big time. But consider this: Between 2008-2011 they played for three years in succession at the top level for the first time since Hitler marched his troops into Poland. During those three seasons they enjoyed five visits from Rangers, four from Celtic and five from local rivals Motherwell. In their solitary term in the big-time in the 1961-75 period they endured a torrid season, losing 29 of the 34 games they played and finishing with just eight points (eleven under three for a win) and of course had only one home game against ‘Well and each of the OF. Yet their 21st century average gate was scarcely 100 more than that of the mid-1960s.
This is what fourteen years of this woeful misbegotten SPL has brought us. An Old Firm that controls (even in Rangers present state) the levers of power with their blocking minority vote and with the lion’s share of the takings going to those that already receive the most. At the bottom the ladder has been more or less pulled up, with an average change of clubs in the SPL of less than one per season. It can’t go on like this with the rich getting richer (or in the case of Rangers the rich getting bankrupt), the rest of the SPL running hard to stand still, and others locked out.
The Rangers crisis offers a golden opportunity to rip it all up and start again with a new national league structure, based solely on merit (regarding all-seater rules, why not do what UEFA does and limit the attendance to seated parts only rather than impose an arbitrary and changing figure on clubs), with a more equitable distribution of funds, including television, two national divisions and a pyramid system below that incorporating junior leagues. Open up the Junior Cup to senior non-league clubs and the Scottish Cup to all junior sides which meet the playing requirements or can acquire a pitch to do so.
Re: Greed is God
Posted: Wed May 23, 2012 1:34 am
For clarity here are the averages of the other clubs to have played top flight football in Scotland during the periods in question.
Division One 1961-75
6465 Ayr United
5053 Queen of the South
4945 Third Lanark
4728 East Fife
4419 Raith Rovers
4258 Stirling Albion
3270 East Stirlingshire
Premier Division 1975-98
6603 Ayr United
5472 Raith Rovers
4528 Inverness CT
Re: Greed is God
Posted: Wed May 23, 2012 8:27 am
Back in Scotland to see an embarrassing humiliation, I brought my copy of ROAR back to Spain and am now gorging on the stats again. It was a present from one of three people who've ever tholed my fascination for attendance figures.
These figures are indeed disheartening. Money cannot be allowed to be the determining factor in football or any sport,
or what's the point of sport at all?
I strongly favour maximum wages and maximum transfer fees, or possibly combine them and say a maximum overall budget.
It would make football more competitive and make it more affordable for fans.
I think the SPL could be doing with imposing a maximum entry fee. 28 or 35 quid for a Cup Final compares very favourably with England, but 20 quid for Hamilton or 22 quid for Kilmarnock is too much.
I think Kilmarnock and Motherwe, especially, could use the very many empty seats to include season-long free entry for under 16s. Though there might be a short-term loss, if some of those people bought a scarf and a strip and then a season ticket, clubs might well get their money back.
Maybe Aberdeen as well, since they struggle to 50% capacity these days, even Hibs, who also get attendances below 50% of capacity quite often.
Re: Greed is God
Posted: Wed May 23, 2012 9:39 am
27 years and counting of OF domination, coupled with RFCnewco could have a catastrophic effect on attendance figures next season.
An awful lot of people I speak to have held off renewing their season tickets (even with the lure of a cup final ticket) to wait and see what's happening and will boycott the league if RFC get off lightly. People say one thing, and do another, but I think this might well be the trigger for a lot of people - the last straw on the SPL years.
Personally, I won't be going to any league games if RFCnewco are in the SPL.
I did notice that some SPL teams are pulling in barely more fans in a season, than Celtic pull in, in a game. What a scenario.
Re: Greed is God
Posted: Tue Jun 19, 2012 4:54 am
Some explanation for the extent of the decline in Hibs average gates in the 75-98 period...
Relegation in 1980 ushered in a long period of very mediocre performance from Hibs and further flirtations with relegation. In particular Bertie Auld's tenure as manager was notorious for the dearth of attractive football which many Hibs fans regard as the sine qua non of watching their team. And while Alex Miller's long reign from 1986 to 1995 had its moments of enterprise and success, it also produced more pragmatism than flair and consequently crowds didn't always reflect results. Miller's 'Hun' heritage elicited a fair amount of disapproval from fans and was undoubtedly wheeled out as a convenient excuse for staying away during the leaner periods. You can see the same readiness of the Hibs fans to abandon their team when the style of play is perceived to be on the grim side. Even Mixu Paataleinen was ousted as much because of style as results (which weren't that bad by recent standards).
More generally I think your analysis of attendances and league reconstruction invites over simplistic conclusions. There are too many other variables at play over such a long period to blame the creation of the Premier Division/SPL for certain trends in attendance. Social change alone is one factor which has had an immense effect on people's leisure habits since 1961. Ground capacity is another. If you plotted all clubs' maximum and minimum attendances over 1961 to the present you would see a narrowing of the range between the highs and lows. In 1965 for example Hibs averaged 13,860. The maximum was 43,499 and the minimum 5,093, a range of over 38,000. In 2008 the average was a similar 13,754, but the range was less than 10,000 from 17,015 to 7,650. With smaller all-seater stadia the fluctuation in attendances has flattened out. It's now more important for clubs to sell more season tickets to raise their minimum gates when the option of a small number of bumper attendances no longer exists. With the rising cost of a seat it is also more economical for fans to buy season tickets. The logical deduction is that a club's aggregate support is now made up of a smaller number of individuals than before when thousands of fans who never went regularly would turn out for the big games.
You have also persuasively argued before that the huge increase in the Old Firm's attendances since the mid 90s was more about securing access to Champions League football than domestic. That was explicitly how Fergus McCann persuaded record numbers of Celtic fans to buy season tickets in the years following the reconstruction of Celtic Park. Europe was where the money was even before the riches of the English Premier League became a putative target for the old Firm. Even then, the argument for their defection to England was to gain access to the income that would enable them to compete with Real Madrid and AC Milan. The invention of the SPL and its income distribution model which favoured the Old Firm post-dated the great surge in their average attendances. In fact, Rangers' big increase really came in the late 80s with the Souness era since when Ibrox was filled closer to its capacity than at any time in the club's history.
Re: Greed is God
Posted: Tue Jun 19, 2012 8:28 am
hibLOG - some excellent points in your post above.
The clubs in the SPL should surely be working harder at attracting and keeping sweet their core support of season ticket holders. Perhaps more padded seats, a bit more leg room, plusher, season ticket holders-only refreshment areas and so on. They should, also, be doing more to make these core fans feel part of the club. It's all very well looking after the corporate "prawn sandwich brigade", but a lot of these attendees only turn up once or twice per season.
It will be a long-drawn-out affair, but, if the clubs worked harder at making attending football a more-pleasurable experience, they might get their reward through the gates. The days of treating the ordinary fans like cattle are over.
Re: Greed is God
Posted: Tue Jun 19, 2012 10:03 am
I don't disagree with what you say about capacities and the difference between highest and smallest gates and I know that Hibs fans weren't all that happy under Auld and Miller but the extent of the drop in support is still perplexing, particularly as Hearts were relegated THREE times in the same period.
However, there are more factors at work in analysing crowds post-Souness. Yes, there was a great surge in Rangers attendances under Souness but their average never reached 40,000 and it was some years after his departure before they felt the need to fill in the ends to bring Ibrox up to a 50,000 capacity. You're right that I've said before the great genius of Fergus McCann was not so much in building a 60,000 all-seater but in convincing Celtic fans they needed a season ticket for it when for all but a handful of games per season there was no need. This was a club which averaged less than 30,000 historically and had never averaged 40,000 in their history. Celtic's fourteen highest average league attendances have been in the past fourteen years - all in the SPL. For Rangers over the same period these fourteen seasons are amongst the sixteen highest in their history and the two others were the two seasons immediately preceding the SPL when they were chasing nine and ten in a row respectively.
Re: Greed is God
Posted: Tue Jun 19, 2012 10:35 pm
Posting from my phone, and dont have the exact numbers to hand but my interpretation of the numbers is the biggest factor was selling pat stanton in 1976 which wiped 3.7k off the average league crowd - I know of many Hibs fans who never went back after that.
Re: Greed is God
Posted: Tue Jun 19, 2012 10:46 pm
scottish wrote:I don't disagree with what you say about capacities and the difference between highest and smallest gates and I know that Hibs fans weren't all that happy under Auld and Miller but the extent of the drop in support is still perplexing, particularly as Hearts were relegated THREE times in the same period.
That's true, but Hearts bounced back much more successfully. Within three years of their last relegation they came within a ba' hair of winning the Premier League, finished runners up twice again in the next 5 years and consistently turned in better league performances than Hibs. From promotion in 81 and Miller's appointment in 86 Hibs were sliding inexorably back towards relegation, and there was slow progress after that. Between 81 and the final season before the SPL (when they were again relegated) Hibs only finished higher than 5th once. In the same period (or since promotion in 83) Hearts only finished lower than 5th on 4 occasions. The days of Hibs having higher attendances than Hearts date only from the 50s to 70s when they were generally more successful, had a bigger ground capacity, and thereby benefited more from big derby and Old Firm turnouts and the habit of fans of watching whichever Edinburgh team was playing at home that week if their own team's away day was not sufficiently appealing. Since the 70s Hibs have under-achieved to a far greater extent than Hearts and that's why their attendances have gone south.
scottish wrote:However, there are more factors at work in analysing crowds post-Souness. Yes, there was a great surge in Rangers attendances under Souness but their average never reached 40,000 and it was some years after his departure before they felt the need to fill in the ends to bring Ibrox up to a 50,000 capacity. You're right that I've said before the great genius of Fergus McCann was not so much in building a 60,000 all-seater but in convincing Celtic fans they needed a season ticket for it when for all but a handful of games per season there was no need. This was a club which averaged less than 30,000 historically and had never averaged 40,000 in their history. Celtic's fourteen highest average league attendances have been in the past fourteen years - all in the SPL. For Rangers over the same period these fourteen seasons are amongst the sixteen highest in their history and the two others were the two seasons immediately preceding the SPL when they were chasing nine and ten in a row respectively.
Capacity when Souness arrived was 44,000 and the averages ran in the high 30s which isn't bad - certainly a lot better than the preceding years. The dip in 90-91 was presumably due to the construction of the Club Deck on the main stand - which was before Souness's departure. Enlargements to capacity were pretty continuous and incremental throughout the 90s and averages have been pretty close to capacity ever since.
Re: Greed is God
Posted: Tue Jun 19, 2012 10:58 pm
bobby s wrote:Posting from my phone, and dont have the exact numbers to hand but my interpretation of the numbers is the biggest factor was selling pat stanton in 1976 which wiped 3.7k off the average league crowd - I know of many Hibs fans who never went back after that.
Not just Stanton, but other stalwarts such as Cropley the year before, and then Brownlie, Schaedler, Edwards over the next couple of years. People saw Turnbull's Tornadoes being dismantled and replaced with slightly inferior product.
Actually though - just checking - Stanton was sold at the beginning of 76-77 season, but crowds for that season averaged 13,000 and dropped to 10,000 the following, so the effect obviously wasn't instant.
Re: Greed is God
Posted: Wed Jun 20, 2012 6:49 am
Fraser looking at this page:
http://www.fitbastats.com/hibs/club_rec ... ndance.php
The figures for league games only - as supplied by David, are:
71/72 ave 14057 high 40671 low 6052
72/73 ave 16100 high 45443 low 7344
73/74 ave 14339 high 48554 low 5491
74/75 ave 13721 high 38585 low 5325
75/76 ave 13797 high 32923 low 4082
76/77 ave 10003 high 23773 low 2835 (Pat Stanton sold before opening league game at end of league cup section)
& from 77-87 attendance ave never got higher than 9950, highest crowd was 22928, lowest crowd was 1191
Quite a lot of qualifications for that though - from 75/76 included 2 visits from Rangers, Celtic, and Hearts when they were in the same division which should in theory have put the crowds up I'd have thought. Hibs did spend a season in the lower league.
There may be an element of coincidence in the figures, but there does seem a clear marker of serious crowd decline around the time that Stanton was allowed to leave that took a significant amount of time to rectify.
Re: Greed is God
Posted: Wed Jun 20, 2012 1:12 pm
I accept what you say re the respective performances of Hibs and Hearts in this period but it remains a fact that Hibs spent only one season out of the top flight and Hearts had four 1st division seasons to depress their average over the whole period. Hibs had one trophy win, other finals and seasons in Europe so it wasn't all doom and gloom. I still think the extent of their drop still has some unexplained factor(s). Particularly if you look at the other periods. The gap between Hibs and Hearts in the SPL era is 1,000 less than 1975-98 and you can't argue that's because Hibs have been more successful than Hearts. A narrow lead over Dundee United 1975-98 is now a chasm and they have even overtaken Aberdeen, though admittedly Aberdeen have been mostly poor during this time and certainly by comparison with the earlier eras.
Yes, there was a great increase when Souness first went to Ibrox but averages never reached 90% capacity during his time compared to 95%+ which has happened several times since.
Re: Greed is God
Posted: Wed Jun 20, 2012 9:40 pm
scottish wrote:I accept what you say re the respective performances of Hibs and Hearts in this period but it remains a fact that Hibs spent only one season out of the top flight and Hearts had four 1st division seasons to depress their average over the whole period. Hibs had one trophy win, other finals and seasons in Europe so it wasn't all doom and gloom. I still think the extent of their drop still has some unexplained factor(s). Particularly if you look at the other periods. The gap between Hibs and Hearts in the SPL era is 1,000 less than 1975-98 and you can't argue that's because Hibs have been more successful than Hearts. A narrow lead over Dundee United 1975-98 is now a chasm and they have even overtaken Aberdeen, though admittedly Aberdeen have been mostly poor during this time and certainly by comparison with the earlier eras.
Maybe I'm missing something in your methodology, David - I was assuming you were averaging only the top-flight seasons, so Hearts' average will be calculated from fewer seasons but the average will still be higher. You aren't counting seasons outside the top flight as 0 and dividing the aggregate by the same number of seasons as everyone else?
I'm a bit mystified as to how you can't see how much worse Hibs have been 83-98 than Hearts. Yes there was one League Cup win but that was achieved before Christmas 91, after which the rest of their season became a pointless amble - European qualification came with the League Cup in those days and there was little danger of either relegation or any more heroics in the league. When they reached the 85 final (again before Christmas) they did so after having lost a straight six games in a row at the start of the league season, and by the time they lost to Aberdeen they had scraped a princely 3 wins from 11. The rest of that season (Scottish Cup semi aside) was another exercise in avoiding relegation. Yes, there was Europe, but only in two seasons between 83 and 98, never getting beyond round 2. Hearts had seven, including a run to the quarter finals in 89.
As for the narrowing of the gap since 98, again I'd argue that ground capacity has a lot to do with that along with the general narrowing of the fluctuation between high and low gates that you see all over with the increase in season ticket buying. If Hearts had had a 25,000 capacity during the Romanov era you would have to think their averages would have been higher. Hibs haven't done well enough to test the capacity of Easter Road but their average has held up thanks mainly to successful season ticket marketing.
Re: Greed is God
Posted: Wed Jun 20, 2012 11:41 pm
the hibLOG wrote:
Maybe I'm missing something in your methodology, David - I was assuming you were averaging only the top-flight seasons
Yes, I was. My mistake. Sorry. And yes I understand Hearts performed much better than Hibs between 1983-1998 but the reverse is true for 1975-83. Even taking everything on board that you say, the drop still looks pretty drastic.