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The ROAR Of The Crowd

Posted: Fri Jun 17, 2005 2:47 pm
by Scottish
Is it embarrassing to post a review of my own work? Yes, but what the hell. This is by David W Potter who is himself the author of several football books and who wrote this for the historical magazine 'The Celt' (and is therefore aimed at Celtic fans) and also for

"The Roar Of The Crowd" by David Ross, Argyll Publishing £7.99

"This is a fascinating study of Scottish football, written from the standpoint of crowds and attendances, but it is also a potted history of the sport in Scotland.

The best part is the attendance statistics, which, from a Celtic point of view, are quite astonishing in parts. Did you know, for example, that in season 1924-5 (the year of Patsy Gallacher's great Cup Final goal) that Celtic were SEVENTH in the list of average attendances with only 11,000? Even more staggering is that HEARTS were top! It is only in recent years since the arrival and departure of Fergus McCann (and the building of the biggest stadium) that Celtic have topped the table on a regular basis, and that for years Celtic lagged far behind Rangers, although, crucially, they were normally able to pull out the big crowds when it mattered in Cup Finals etc.

The photographs are good, usually of Hampden, and the front picture shows fans in the rain at Hampden, one presumes, in the early 1950s, at a guess. No favours or scarves are visible, so one presumes that it is not a Scotland International where tammys would have been prevalent.

The text is interesting and readable, and the author does well to make what might seem to be a dry subject come alive. The end of the book has an account of the record attendance for each team (rightly Mr.Ross queries whether Celtic Park actually did hold 92,000 as claimed on New Year's Day 1938), and there is also a section on the "dead" teams of Scottish football. We'd heard of Third Lanark and St.Bernard's, but how many knew of Dumbarton Harp, Mid Annandale, Linthouse or Dundee Wanderers?

This book is a masterpiece of highly researched information presented in a highly amusing way with a few jokes and puns along the way. For the amazing price of £7.99, it is a bargain. Mr.Ross also has his own website called That too is worth a visit."

'The ROAR Of The Crowd is available post-free from the publisher

Posted: Fri Jun 24, 2005 8:22 pm
by Gersman
Brilliant book. Getting a few good mentions over on Hope it does really well for you mate.

Posted: Thu Jun 30, 2005 11:18 am
by Sat31March1928
Just got my copy in the post today. Superb book.

I'll be getting extra copies as prizes in out lottery.

Good work.

Posted: Thu Jun 30, 2005 3:59 pm
by Scottish
Thanks. Greatly appreciated. I've got to say thanks to my publishers - Argyll Publishing here. They did a really first class job with it and their promotion has been great.

Posted: Thu Jul 07, 2005 8:51 pm
by bobby s
I read about this book on the forum, thoroughly recommended by a contributor who had emailed the author about the 875 v Stirling Albion attendance.

I ordered my copy today online, so I look forward to receiving it.

Magic forum this.

Posted: Thu Jul 07, 2005 9:47 pm
by Scottish
Hope you enjoy it. And I hope you ordered from the publisher rather than Amazon.

A. You receive it quicker.

B. There's no postage costs

C. The author gets a bigger cut :lol:

Have you got a link for the Hibees bounce page?

Posted: Thu Jul 07, 2005 9:53 pm
by bobby s
I hate amazon. Delighted to order it from Argyll. 8)

Posted: Thu Jul 07, 2005 10:03 pm
by Scottish
I've never had as much trouble with them as for this book. Calling it 'fiction' in a review :roll: then listing availability as '1-2 months' instead of days!

And I'm still waiting for a book I ordered from them in mid-April

Posted: Sat Jul 09, 2005 2:33 pm
by bobby s
And book duly arrived this morning.

Great publisher that.

Posted: Sat Jul 09, 2005 4:42 pm
by bobby s
See the Rangers attendances.

Did you take the offishul figures or the real figures?

Was it not the season before last where attendances were given as nigh on 50k when there was about 10k in the ground?

Posted: Sat Jul 09, 2005 7:25 pm
by Scottish
AFAIK Rangers have always included season tickets for every game whether present or not. See page 124 for an account of how this distorts figures in the days when they only had around 3,000 STs. I'll be interested to see if the new Rangers book does the same or not as I understand a lot of new figures have come to light but I don't know how far back they go or even if they'll be included.

It used to be said that clubs kept their figures artificially low so as to avoid paying Entertainment Tax. Nowadays they have a vested interest in keeping them as high as possible. There's a big difference in approaching sponsors and advertisers and telling them you have 50,000 bums on seats every game and saying there might be 35,000 at kick-off and 12,000 or so might hang around to the end.

Be interesting to see what happens next season as they have a scheme to re-sell seasons for games book holders can't attend. Will they just count the re-sold ones or maybe count them twice. You could have a situation where 60,000 people have paid to go to a ground that holds 50,000 but only 40,000 are actually there.

If that makes sense :roll:

Posted: Sat Jul 09, 2005 8:51 pm
by bobby s
scottish wrote:12,000 or so might hang around to the end.
The 38,000 Clockwork Orange Loyal :twisted:

Posted: Sun Jul 10, 2005 12:24 pm
by bobby s
A couple of early observations, Old Firm attendances have never been higher. Is it because there is so little chance of any other team winning the league?

Also, once another team does win the league, that will surely end the high attendances at the Old Firm. Rangers attendances are not as solid since 9 in a row ended, and the trick pulled to get 50k season ticket holders at Parkhead would surely crumble if it was between Rangers/Celtic/Aberdeen for the league?

Posted: Sun Jul 10, 2005 1:47 pm
by Scottish
I deal with this in the last chapter. IMHO a lot of it was down to shrewd marketing, particularly by Fergus McCann. Historically the OF attracted under 30,000 per game per season. And that's counting the post-war boom years. Looking at a specific period, during Celtic's nine in a row they averaged just 29,000 in the League and around 34,000 in all competitions with Rangers just behind.

Now at that time they played in grounds which held in excess of 70,000. Maybe once or twice a year the ground was filled. Four or five times with a good European run. So the chances of the regular fan getting a ticket for a big game were good, particularly as clubs would include tokens in the match programme which gave preference to regulars.

All-seaters are smaller. Murray managed to fill Ibrox in the Souness era because Rangers were winning things again and the ground only held around 40,000 so there was a genuine possibility that a non-ST holder wouldn't gain admission.

What McCann managed to do was more impressive. He persuaded Celtic fans they needed to get a season ticket if they wanted to get in to Parkhead at a time when the average gate was under 25,000 and he was building a ground that held 60,000.

These people aren't buying seasons to watch Livvy or Caley Thistle or even Hearts/Hibs/Aberdeen. They're buying them for Europe. A season ticket is the only way to guarantee the right to buy a ticket for UEFA games. And they're not buying them to see their team get humped in the first qualifier either. They expect at a minimum Champions League group matches

Other teams didn't have much chance during the Stein era. For the first five seasons of that it was the OF 1-2 and they did much better in Europe then but their crowds were nowhere near present-day levels.

Where they have a big problem is that despite record crowds they're still in debt. That's why they're so interested in moving to England. They can't get any more money via the turnstiles so they have to look to TV and sponsors.

These empires are built on sand. Yes, if they have a prolonged period of struggling (by their own definition of struggling, i.e.coming second) the fans will vanish. To an extent every club that has an all-seater ground has benefited from an increase in STs. But the OF are relying on huge increases compared to previously. Rangers sell around fourteen times as many as they did pre-Souness and Celtic an incredible forty times as many compared to the same period.

Posted: Sun Jul 10, 2005 2:19 pm
by Scottish
Crowds before and after European success.

1967 Celtic's last home game before Lisbon was 19,097 v Killie in the league (second lowest league gate of the season) ten days before the European Cup Final. First home game after Lisbon was 51,101 v Dundee United in the League Cup Aug 12th 1967. Only Rangers and Dinamo Kiev drew bigger crowds to Parkhead that season.

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. Oddly enough there were 500 FEWER seasons sold at Ibrox in 72-73 compared to 71-72 which would suggest their poor league season (16 points behind Celtic, at the time the furthest they had finished behind them) counted for more than success in Europe.

To complete the comparisons with successful teams in Europe Aberdeen's last home game before Gothenburg was 12,002 v Killie the Saturday before they beat Real Madrid and 23,080 v Hibs the Saturday afterwards. Both in the league.