Clydebank's Record Attendance

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Tom Brogan
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Clydebank's Record Attendance

Post by Tom Brogan » Thu Oct 03, 2013 5:29 pm

As long as I've followed Clydebank their record attendance has always been listed as 14,900 for a Scottish Cup replay between ES Clydebank and Hibernian on 10th February 1965. However, reports in the Evening Times, Glasgow Herald and Clydebank Press all report the attendance as 11,500. I wondered if anyone could point me to a source of the period that gives the 14,900 figure. Or indeed if anyone can ascertain where that figure originates.

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Re: Clydebank's Record Attendance

Post by Scottish » Thu Oct 03, 2013 6:32 pm

I have 11,500 as the attendance for the Easter Road game and 14,900 for the replay - though as it's one of thousands of figures I couldn't give the exact source other than to speculate it was one of the following day's papers or even accepted it as being from the club itself using the reasoning that they would know better than the press. However, John Byrne in his 'Scottish Cup 1873-1986' has 11,500.

In any case - and I know this is a thorny issue with both clubs - I regard ES Clydebank as East Stirling playing out of town for a season. I can give reasons should anyone want to enter discussion. For Clydebank I have an attendance record of 10,605 v Celtic in a Premier Division match on Nov 26th 1977. For the first Clydebank club (league 1914-1931) I have 23,193 v Celtic for a Division One match, Aug 22nd 1925.

For East Stirling I have 12,000 v Partick Thistle, Scottish Cup Third Round, Feb 19th 1921.

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Re: Clydebank's Record Attendance

Post by Tom Brogan » Thu Oct 03, 2013 7:35 pm

Thanks for that David. The Evening Times lists the Easter Road 'estimated attendance' as 9,000. I assume that the 14,900 figure has originated from the club.

Your second point was my next issue. Like I say that attendance has always been listed as Clydebank's record attendance, but if it's accepted that the 1964-65 season as ES Clydebank is really part of East Stirling's history I wondered what the record attendance for the 1965-2002 existence of Clydebank was. But no need to ask that now. :)

Alan McCabe
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Re: Clydebank's Record Attendance

Post by Alan McCabe » Thu Oct 03, 2013 9:47 pm

And there lies another dilemma David, namely, where did the 12,000 figure for Merchiston Park emanate from?
The (Glasgow) Herald lists 10,000 as the attendance. Does anyone know the source of the higher figure.
Working purely on the basis of limited photographic evidence and OS maps of the ground, I would be astonished if any such crowd was ever accommodated at Second Merchiston Park. One end of the ground, coincidentally like the late Firs Park, was merely a solid boundary wall hardly able to take two rows of spectators. I've seen pictures of equestrian events at the ground and would be surprised if any more than 7-8,000 could ever been accommodated.
We will, of course, never really know but will see the figure listed in perpetuity I reckon.

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Re: Clydebank's Record Attendance

Post by Scottish » Thu Oct 03, 2013 10:52 pm

Alan McCabe wrote:And there lies another dilemma David, namely, where did the 12,000 figure for Merchiston Park emanate from?
The (Glasgow) Herald lists 10,000 as the attendance. Does anyone know the source of the higher figure.
Working purely on the basis of limited photographic evidence and OS maps of the ground, I would be astonished if any such crowd was ever accommodated at Second Merchiston Park. One end of the ground, coincidentally like the late Firs Park, was merely a solid boundary wall hardly able to take two rows of spectators. I've seen pictures of equestrian events at the ground and would be surprised if any more than 7-8,000 could ever been accommodated.
We will, of course, never really know but will see the figure listed in perpetuity I reckon.
The 12,000 figure is from John Byrne's book. In The ROAR Of The Crowd' I suggest three factors for the large attendance - the opportunity to see a top league side in action, the chance to reach the last eight for the first time since 1891, and the anticipation that in event of defeat this would be the last Scottish Cup tie played there.

However, here's a quandary. I wrote that book eight years ago with the majority of the research undertaken long before that. I now have a figure in my files of 8,000 for this game. When the particular edition of the Sunday Post became available on the BNA, 8,000 was mentioned there. My rule is that where figures are in dispute, to go for the one cited most often. 8,000 is given in both the Post & The Scotsman, 10,000 in The Herald and 12,000 in Byrne. I said 12,000 above, consulting the book,not my files - which are obviously more up to date.

One other thing is that sometimes it does seem incredible to think that grounds ever accommodated crowds they reputedly did. Fortunately, from the 1930s onwards, we can say with certainty for at least some grounds that they did. Anyone acquainted with - for example - Douglas Park in the 1970s/1980s which doesn't look much different from pre-war days would be astonished to think it once accommodated over 27,000 spectators. The example I cite most often is Somerset Park. Show someone a photo of the ground - not as it is now, though it's much the same give or take a bit of cover - from the 1960s or 1970s and ask them if they could envisage that ground ever holding over 25,000 people and I'd wager an overwhelming majority would say no. I would be one of them - if it weren't for the fact that I was one of the 25,225 there on the day in question.

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Re: Clydebank's Record Attendance

Post by Gorgiewave » Thu Oct 03, 2013 11:42 pm

Tynecastle looked packed with 28,967 in the ground v Celtic in the Cup in 1987. How 24,429 more got in is mind-boggling.
Volunteer Park (Armadale Thistle) seemed full with 3,000 inside against Auchinleck in 1988. It must have been amazing with 11,000 inside.
Cliftonhill is another.

What was it like, David, being among the 25,225? Were you all packed dangerously or do we just misjudge when thinking such a number seems impossible?
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Re: Clydebank's Record Attendance

Post by Scottish » Fri Oct 04, 2013 9:01 am

Gorgiewave wrote:Tynecastle looked packed with 28,967 in the ground v Celtic in the Cup in 1987. How 24,429 more got in is mind-boggling.
Volunteer Park (Armadale Thistle) seemed full with 3,000 inside against Auchinleck in 1988. It must have been amazing with 11,000 inside.
Cliftonhill is another.

What was it like, David, being among the 25,225? Were you all packed dangerously or do we just misjudge when thinking such a number seems impossible?
Cliftonhill, absolutely.

As to the rest, in order: Tynecastle had an original post-war capacity of 49,000. That was the maximum number of tickets printed for big games. By the 1980s this had reduced for three reasons, as follows: 1. A general reduction in capacity at ALL grounds in the wake of the Ibrox Disaster. 2. The introduction of segregation and police 'corridors' created empty spaces. 3. More seating. Tynecastle gained around 3,000 seats in the 1970s/1980s. By itself and going by the rough estimates of Simon Inglis, that would have reduced capacity by 6,000.

So, yes it would have been jam(bo)-packed. But a crowd of that size even in the days of 49,000 capacity would still have looked pretty mobbed as those earlier capacities were based pretty much on a cheek by jowl basis.

Volunteer Park I can't really comment on, other than to make the same remark as point one above and also that their record gate came just a few months after the SFA cocked up the Scottish Cup Final with twice as many attending as they had bargained for. The post-war boom after the end of WW1 tends to get forgotten about in the wake of the more recent and larger boom post-WW2, but it existed nonetheless. Many clubs saw record gates (some since superseded thanks to increased capacity) during this period. But I don't know how different Volunteer Park was in 1988 compared with 1921.

3. It was dangerous but this was some fifteen months or so before the Ibrox Disaster and almost a quarter of a century since the last such incident in British football, at Bolton in 1946, so no one thought in those terms. Anyway, at thirteen years old these things don't really cross your mind. I do recall though many younger children sitting round the pitch and older teens and adults hanging off pylons and sitting on top of turnstile roofs. The same happened at the Scottish Cup semi-final a few months later - and that was with a crowd some 3,500 BELOW capacity.

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Re: Clydebank's Record Attendance

Post by Gorgiewave » Fri Oct 04, 2013 10:20 am

Another example of this is Brockville. I was excited about the Falkirk-Aberdeen game at the end of 1994-95, waiting for the attendance. 12,835.

(4.01 in this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nXhElU69MEY

According to the record attendance, it was at most 56% full. Unless there had been serious work, I can't see how.
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Re: Clydebank's Record Attendance

Post by Scottish » Fri Oct 04, 2013 6:37 pm

Gorgiewave wrote:Another example of this is Brockville. I was excited about the Falkirk-Aberdeen game at the end of 1994-95, waiting for the attendance. 12,835.

(4.01 in this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nXhElU69MEY

According to the record attendance, it was at most 56% full. Unless there had been serious work, I can't see how.
That was absolute capacity in 1995. But as said earlier, in the days of largely terracing, a ground 50% full would look pretty packed as all it did really was allow for some leg room.

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Re: Clydebank's Record Attendance

Post by Gorgiewave » Sat Oct 05, 2013 6:59 am

I believe it could be deceptive, yes. My dad recalls playing football on the north terrace at the Scotland v England game in 1970, when the attendance was 3,438 above capacity.
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Re: Clydebank's Record Attendance

Post by MadMac » Sat Oct 05, 2013 10:35 pm

scottish wrote:[I do recall though many younger children sitting round the pitch and older teens and adults hanging off pylons and sitting on top of turnstile roofs. The same happened at the Scottish Cup semi-final a few months later - and that was with a crowd some 3,500 BELOW capacity.
I recall a friend of mine talking about a European Cup Quarter-Final between Celtic and Basle in 1974, where he actually left at half time literally in fear of his life due to crushing. Published attendance was 71,000, which was some 9,000 below the official capacity at the time.

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Re: Clydebank's Record Attendance

Post by Scottish » Sat Oct 05, 2013 11:23 pm

Oddly enough, I've felt safer at 'big' games than in matches I've instanced above. That same 1969-70 season as the terrors of Somerset & Muirton, I was at that Scotland v England match when the declared attendance was indeed above capacity, as was the Celtic v Leeds European Cup semi-final ten days earlier. Why that should be, I'm not quite sure. But I've counted and recounted the Hampden gate book figures and they are correct. 136,505 for Celtic and 137,438 for Scotland. Normally 134,000 tickets were printed and you would expect not all to turn up for various reasons. But those were the biggest crowds at Hampden since the Scottish Cup semi-final between Rangers and Hibs in 1948, which drew 141,968 (NOT the more frequently cited 142,070 or 143,000).

The same season I was at the European Cup tie between Celtic and Benfica. That had 74,894 and I felt fine. Same at Hampden in 1972 for the last 100,000+ crowd for a Scotland home game - v England, though I was a bit scared at Elgin earlier that year with nearly 10,500 inside Borough Briggs. I've been to Wembley several times from 1975 onwards with round about 100,000 inside the ground and without any worries.Similarly, capacity crowds at Newcastle, Sunderland and Middlesbrough never fazed me (though I once thought 40,000+ at Molineux was a bit dodgy, likewise almost 50,000 at Highbury for a cup tie). Nor here in Barcelona either. The only time I've felt uncomfortable here was after a Gamper Trophy match v Man City which drew over 94,000. The routes out of the stadium complex are excellent but once outside the stadium but still inside the boundaries it can be hellish as supporters head every which way and fans are pushed up against walls. I fear that unless stewards start shepherding supporters out of the same gates through which they came in that there's a potential tragedy in the making.

Might be time for a Hampden crowd records thread.

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Re: Clydebank's Record Attendance

Post by LEATHERSTOCKING » Mon Oct 07, 2013 5:36 pm

Reason for the above official ticket sales attendances @ Hampden for the Scotland vs. England & Celtic vs. Leeds games in 1970 was the discovery(until it was too late) of approximately 5,000 forgeries for both games.

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