The ROAR Of The Crowd

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Post by Scottish » Sun Jul 10, 2005 4:10 pm

Looking at Celtic's crowds. Last season they averaged just under 58,000 in the league. In the European Cup-winning season the only crowd bigger than 58,000 was against Rangers (61,333). Next biggest was 40,741 v Dundee United. the average was 31,082. The year after winning the European Cup best was 73,480 v Rangers. Next best was 47,902 v Morton. One gate (v Airdrie) was as low as 15,392. The average was 31,373. That was when they were champions of Europe!

Rangers average last year was just under 49,000. In 71-72 when they won the ECWC they only drew one gate above that (70,088 v Celtic) with the next best 42,386 v Aberdeen. Average was 26,199. The year AFTER winning in Europe they drew just TWO crowds above their current average - 67,580 v Celtic and 52,592 v Hibs and despite having a European trophy in the boardrom fell as low as 14,515 v Killie. And that's assuming 2,851 season book holders and complimentaries attended that game. Average was 27,469.

The comparison with Scotland's only other European trophy winners is illuminating. Aberdeen averaged around 13,500 last season. In 82-83 when hey won the CWC they averaged 15,534 and the following season it was 17,138.

It's the Dons figures that are 'normal' in the sense that the better a team does the bigger its crowds. Either those OF crowds have to start falling soon or they have radically altered PERMANENTLY the entire pattern of attendance history. If it's the latter then you'd expect every other club to be doing the same and they're not.

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Post by bobby s » Sun Jul 10, 2005 9:12 pm

I'm sure you have the figures, but in 1986 Hibs defeated Celtic in the Scottish Cup at ER in front of 24k.

A few weeks later Hibs went to Darkheid in the league and the crowd was just 20k. Celtic went on to win the league that season.

I think your analysis is spot on: have they really permanently changed everything?

I note in the book you comment upon changing to a 10/12 team set up. The friggin turkeys voting for Xmas, and I bet most club chairman still dont see it.
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Post by Scottish » Mon Jul 11, 2005 6:50 am

Only 14,966 for that league game. Lookin back at the vote to go to three divisions, it was pretty clear-cut. It needed 25 for to go through and was carried by 29-8.

Dundee United were pretty voluble in their opposition which is pretty ironic as for the first two decades anyway they were one of the biggest gainers. The East Fife chairman hit the nail on the head saying something along the lines of being a First Division side at the moment (this was March 1974) and it would be mad to vote to relegate themselves.

I don't know who the other seven refuseniks were but most of the really small clubs voted in favour as they saw a future for themselves in the new middle division but not the old First Division.

There WERE gainers from the change and clubs like Alloa, Brechin, Forfar, Montrose were among them. They spent decent periods in the middle flight and got games against 'big' teams fallen on hard times like the Edinburgh clubs and Dundee, Motherwell, Killie, Thistle, Dunfermline etc.

As for permanent change in crowd patterns, I suppose the OF think seven years into the SPL that's already happened. I'd pose three tests before accepting that.

1. A period of 2-3 years not challenging for the title
2. Recession/increasing unemloyment
3. A further three years at the same level meaning a decade of huge gates unbroken

Obviously I'd prefer to see the first test, wouldn't wish the second on even the OF but suspect the third will be the one that determines things.

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Post by the hibLOG » Thu Jul 21, 2005 11:30 am

scottish wrote:Crowds before and after European success.

1972 Rangers v Ayr United in the League was officially 5,869 (lowest of the season and actually fewer than stated as they counted all ST holders as being present). First afterwards was 27,610 v Clydebank in the League Cup Aug 12th 1972

So maybe they didn't see their European triumph in the same light as Celtic's.
Maybe they were all still banged up in Barcelona jails :wink:

Seriously though, on the question of changing attendance patterns, what do you make of the fact that Hibs are also going to sell more season tickets this year than ever before (I believe)?

I agree with your analysis of the OF about guaranteeing a seat for big European nights, but do you think price has a part to play too? I'm guessing that walk up prices are comparatively much more expensive now than they were in the 70s. Hibs have done a good job of offering attractive discounts with their current season ticket packages and with people more accustomed these days to paying for things by credit card or direct debit is this driving increased sales? Has the number of season ticket holders at other clubs increased in the era of the all-seater stadium?
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Post by Scottish » Thu Jul 21, 2005 7:00 pm

Hi and welcome to the forum. Good point about walk-up prices in comparison with seasons. But the big increases in walk-up admission came AFTER the expansion in seasons. It would have crippled clubs to do this before building up a large base of ST holders.

Now that most regular supporters (in the SPL anyway) are ST holders big walk-up costs hit only the occasional fan (like the poor sod who travels up from England :( ) and of course away supporters. As home clubs now keep all gate money they're not too bothered about that.

It's a good sign that Hibs are selling so many STs but not that surprising given the season they had in 2004-05. Yes, every club has seen the number of seasons rise. At Rugby Park 3,500 STs now means a bad return. Before all-seaters the club would have killed for that level of prepaid support

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Post by bobby s » Thu Jul 21, 2005 10:36 pm

I believe Hibs season ticket holders will number around 9k next season, by far the highest ever.
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Post by Scottish » Fri Jan 20, 2006 6:59 pm

Review of 'ROAR' by Paul Grech here http://www.squarefootball.net/article/a ... p?aid=2612

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Post by bobby s » Fri Jan 20, 2006 7:17 pm

It's a bit fawning isn't it? :twisted:

You must be pretty chuffed with that, I'm too lazy to do a review but the best endorsement I can give to ROAR is that it's the only non Hibs book on the top shelf of my bookcase.
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Post by Scottish » Fri Jan 20, 2006 7:23 pm

bobby s wrote:It's a bit fawning isn't it? :twisted:
I thought it was a touch too critical - "There are occasional offhand comments...." :roll:

I must admit it was a pleasant surprise to be e-mailed by Paul Grech about this. I never expected to be reviewed in Malta! That's the power of the internet, I suppose.

I hope to be able to announce details of a new book soon, planned for the start of next season.

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Post by BMCCOLL » Thu Mar 23, 2006 8:12 pm

Received "Roar" today from the publishers - only ordered it on Monday!
:D

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Post by bobby s » Thu Apr 24, 2008 1:53 pm

I've been faithfully typing up all the hibs attendances since the year dot and one thing that seems to have struck me is that either there was a great slump in attendances in 1961 or the actual returns from 61 onwards highlighted that the guesstimates were hopelessly high.
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Post by Scottish » Thu Apr 24, 2008 4:55 pm

There was a slump. I don't have the book to hand but I recall mentioning something about it when comparing attendances to those in England - which of course are documented since 1925. The English figures showed a substantial decrease around the start of the 1960s and there is no reason to suppose Scottish figures didn't follow suit.

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Post by StAndrewsHMFC » Thu Apr 24, 2008 10:15 pm

Just to add to everyone else's comments thought the book was really good. Never thought attendences would be that interesting. . Just out of interest is it known which clubs if an just add on all there season ticket holders presently, or is it a given that club will quote the total number of people who have the right to attend

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Post by Skyline Drifter » Thu Apr 24, 2008 10:49 pm

StAndrewsHMFC wrote:Just to add to everyone else's comments thought the book was really good. Never thought attendences would be that interesting. . Just out of interest is it known which clubs if an just add on all there season ticket holders presently, or is it a given that club will quote the total number of people who have the right to attend
We certainly don't count people who "have the right to attend" but don't. We count people who enter the ground on the day. Can't speak for other clubs.

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Post by Scottish » Fri Apr 25, 2008 1:28 pm

StAndrewsHMFC wrote: Just out of interest is it known which clubs if an just add on all there season ticket holders presently
Given the contrast between official figures and gaps in the stands I can think of two.

The problem is that all the SFL (and subsequently SPL) figures have been computerised since 1989 so only the totals show. Between 1971-1989 there was a breakdown of terraces, stands, season ticket holders, comps, youth/OAP etc so it was much easier to find out what was what. Between 1961-1971 totals were recorded as were season tickets but it was difficult to say who was adding in all the ST holders and which clubs were counting the ones that came through the turnstile.

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