Top 20 Best Supported Clubs in the Premier League

emirates_stadium.gifWhich clubs in the Premier League have the fewest empty seats, on average as a percentage of their capacity? And which ones have the most empty seats on matchdays? You may be surprised by the facts for the 2007/2008 season thus far.

Note, the numbers show the average attendance, followed by the capacity of the stadium and then the average attendance as a percentage of the ground’s capacity.

1. Arsenal, Emirates Stadium, 60,062, 60,432, 99.39%
2. Man United, Old Trafford, 75,638, 76,212, 99.25%
3. Tottenham, White Hart Lane, 35,931, 36,247, 99.13%
4. West Ham, Boleyn Ground, 34,616, 35,089, 98.65%
5. Chelsea, Stamford Bridge, 41,499, 42,449, 97.76%
6. Newcastle, St. James’s Park, 51,122, 52,387, 97.59%
7. Reading, Madejski Stadium, 23,469, 24,200, 96.98%
8. Portsmouth, Fratton Park, 19,999, 20,600, 96.67%
9. Derby, Pride Park, 32,270, 33,597, 96.05%
10. Liverpool, Anfield, 43,529, 45,362, 95.95%
11. Aston Villa, Villa Park, 39,848, 42,719, 93.28%
12. Fulham, Craven Cottage, 23,503, 25,600, 91.81%
13. Everton, Goodison Park, 36,766, 40,170, 91.53%
14. Manchester City, Eastlands, 42,069, 47,300, 88.94%
15. Birmingham City, St. Andrews, 26,176, 30,009, 87.23%
16. Sunderland, Stadium of Light, 42,546, 49,000, 86.83%
17. Middlesbrough, Riverside, 26,401, 35,049, 75.33%
18. Wigan, JJB Stadium, 18,740, 25,023, 74.89%
19. Blackburn Rovers, 23,369, 31,367, 74.50%
20. Bolton, Reebok Stadium, 20,412, 27,879, 73.22%

Incredibly, the top 13 clubs – on average – fill up more than 90% of their seats week-in week-out for matches. Near the bottom, Blackburn suffers from two things: an economically plighted area where there aren’t a ton of jobs or money, and a stadium that Jack Walker rebuilt at the height of their success with a capacity that is too large for the crowds that Rovers now get.

At the top of the table, Arsenal’s board can probably justify the most expensive seats in the Premier League after knowing that their ground is sold out more than any other team in England’s top division.

Compare the above statistics to the top 20 average attendances. One interesting observation is how Sunderland has the fifth highest average attendance in the league, but yet has a large percentage of empty seats on matchdays. That means that the club, if they can avoid relegation, have a great potential to climb higher up in the ‘average attendance league’ if they can sell more tickets for matches.

One important note to consider is that these attendances often rely on away support, so if clubs bring fewer away fans to cities in the northeast (Newcastle and Sunderland) or the northwest (Blackburn, Bolton, Wigan, for example), then the home club’s attendance figures will be impacted. Football supporters who live in the south of England know how difficult it can be traveling to matches in the north of England and trying to find transportation (trains, most especially) to return that same day. And vice-versa for fans living in the north.

For the above top 20 chart, what observations are interesting to you? Please share them by clicking the comments link below. Thanks in advance for your feedback.

19 thoughts on “Top 20 Best Supported Clubs in the Premier League”

  1. These stats are interesting however other factors must be borne in mind, such as the attendance of away surporters.

    In terms of percentage of ground filled, it is important to note the issues surroung segration of away fans and the impact that these empty seats have. The seats will not be on sale but are counted in the overall capacity. This will probably help account for the less than 1% of seats not filled in Emirates and Old Trafford.

    Also wondered if you are sure if the reported attendances are accurate? In Scotland, particuarly Celtic and Rangers, there is a tendency to overstate the attendance.

    With Celtic, i believe that we include all season tickets holders, even though in some occasions they fail to attend. E.g. recent midweek games against Inverness and Dundee Utd were no where near the reported attendance.

    Does this problem exist in England?

  2. i agree with the earlier comment, segregation must have a big impact on these figures, accurate though im sure they are.
    Some clubs chose to barely segregate, whilst other such as Sunderland, have a large expanse of area between opposing supporters, and no doubt Sunderlands massive away following will help the percentages of others!!

  3. Yes, certain clubs like B’ham choose to fleece the away support thus potentially reducing their percentage still further.

    Could we see average ticket prices for each club again, please?

  4. Good work Gaffer. But it isn’t enough.

    Now a ranking based on decibels and % singing support.

    Then a ranking based on the average age of the supporter’s jerseys (the bandwagon index).


  5. kat kid,

    Love the idea of an “average age of supporter’s jersey” metric :)

    Based on decibels and signing support (from my TV-only experiences), Pompey and Liverpool would have to be at the top of those tables. The crowds always seem to be good and loud there.

  6. Wow, looks like you’ve got your work cut out for you Gaff.

    Or maybe even some stats concerning the popularity of different football clubs across the world (EX. Barca = popular in china).

    BillieShears… have you not looked at the table the whole year? I thought I remember seeing Arsenal being #1 until 2 weeks ago?

    The ticket prices all depend on different things though… like in Arsenals case it’s the fact that they just built a new stadium…

    Credit to Manchester United, so many seats and to fill ’em all week after week is something else…
    I just can’t stand their fvcking fans.

  7. While watching the derby this Sunday look out for the following banner:

  8. “TT // Mar 27, 2008 at 6:43 pm

    While watching the derby this Sunday look out for the following banner:

    That’s HILARIOUS!!!

    Very clever, I love it… will it be in camera view tho?
    what side?

  9. Are there any TV rules in England? Thats a terrible way to put it but I mean in America for NFL games, they cant be shown on TV in the home markets unless the game is a sell out, is there any type of rule like that in England?

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