Date: 14th July 2016 at 10:48pm
Written by:

This summer has seen work undertaken to increase the capacity of Liverpool’s home, Anfield and Manchester City plan further work to take their capacity closer to Old Trafford levels and with the new television money flowing into the Premier League especially, odds are further grounds next summer will be undergoing work of some kind to either improve capacity levels or revamp or refresh with the ‘customer experience’ drive we’ve seen in recent years in football.

So with that in mind, and with a nod to Talksport for the legwork, what are the highest home attendances in the historical game – as obviously 22 men kicking a football around a pitch has been going for slightly longer than the invention of the Premier League(s) in the United Kingdom.

A number of clubs figure in the overall table, but they aren’t always the names that many of the more younger fans would expect. Few these days – and I say that with respect to the sides I’m about to list – would expect a top 22 table that featured Scottish side Queens Park in second place, Charlton Athletic in eleventh, and below them, Bolton Wanderers, Sheffield United, Huddersfield Town, Birmingham City and even Hibernian.

The table is compiled on the basis of the single highest figure they have achieved at home in their history, and the only club to get in excess of six figures are Rangers with an old firm derby against Celtic back in 1939.

I’m assuming Google and Wikipedia wouldn’t lie to me, but apparently there’s only one stadium currently used for football that has a capacity larger than the Rangers’ attendance record of 118,567 and that’s the Pyongyang, North Korea Rungrado 1st of May Stadium which holds 150,000 people.

For those who are about to quibble, Strahov Stadium in Prague, Czech Republic – largest in the world with a capacity of 220,000 – doesn’t count because it’s classed as not in use for these purposes, as are a number of others.

Yes, I know I could be called a fool for believing Google and Wikipedia but I get credit for at least thinking to check!

With Queens Park coming in at second with 95,722 – against Rangers in the Scottish Cup in 1930 – it really begins to tell its own story when it comes to all seater stadiums and the way that the game has changed over the last century, and some may find it interesting that with Manchester United’s Old Trafford having a capacity today of 75,635 that you have to look to Charlton Athletic in eleventh place before you can get below that number, given they set a record 75,031 against Aston Villa in the FA Cup back in 1938.

Above them we have Tottenham Hotspur, Sunderland, Aston Villa, Everton, Chelsea, Celtic, and the Manchester’s United and City, but for Sunderland’s record that came at Roker Park, and for United, their record came whilst ground sharing Maine Road after damage to Old Trafford in the Second World War.

They aren’t the only records set at former grounds as the Old Wembley features for rsenal, as does Highbury, and Bolton’s Burnden Park holds their record – finally Huddersfield featuring at Leeds Road.

Anyway, with ordinary football almost back with us now as August nears, I thought some might find it of interest, but it’s almost guaranteed that most of the attendance figures listed here will never be seen again, as most clubs thesedays would struggle to grow to the 60,000 mark, let alone higher.

With all seater stadiums posing a real ‘space’ issue to hitting those sorts of attendance figures, equally the television coverage, which is only increasing next season with the number of live games shown, make it too easy for the floating attenders to just watch the box or the internet – especially when you factor in the cost of travelling and ticket prices.

The fact no new records have been set since 1998, and that was old Wembley not a club stadium, is also another pointer as to why these records probably won’t be beaten. Extension work now is about getting in as many as possible and making football ‘a thing’ something the next generation just ‘do’ – it’s carefully based on the financial figures and additional sponsorship space it can also provide, because solely bums on seats is no longer the main revenue source, it just matters far more than it does for others depending on how much of the TV pie your club gets.

No
Club
Attendance
Opposition
Competition
Date
1
Rangers
118,567
Celtic
Division One
2/1/1939
2
Queens Park
95,722
Rangers
Scottish Cup
18/1/1930
3
Man City
84,467
Stoke City
FA Cup
3/3/1934
4
Man United
83,260
Arsenal (Maine Road)
First Division
17/1/1948
5
Celtic
83,000
Rangers
Division One
1/1/1938
6
Chelsea
82,905
Arsenal
First Division
12/10/1935
7
Everton
78,299
Liverpool
First Division
18/9/1948
8
Aston Villa
76,588
Derby County
FA Cup
2/3/1946
9
Sunderland
75,118
Derby County (Roker Park)
FA Cup
8/3/1933
10
Tottenham
75,038
Sunderland
FA Cup
5/3/1938
11
Charlton
75,031
Aston Villa
FA Cup
12/2/1938
12
Arsenal
73,707
Lens (Wembley)
Champs League
25/11/1998
Arsenal
73,295
Sunderland (Highbury)
First Division
9/3/1935
13
Sheffield Wed
72,841
Man City
FA Cup
17/2/1934
14
Bolton
69,912
Man City (Burnden Park)
FA Cup
18/2/1933
15
Newcastle
68,386
Chelsea
First Division
3/9/1930
16
Sheffield Utd
68,287
Leeds
FA Cup
15/2/1936
17
Huddersfield
67,037
Arsenal (Leeds Road)
FA Cup
27/2/1932
18
Birmingham
66,844
Everton
FA Cup
11/3/1939
19
Hibernian
65,860
Hearts
Division One
2/1/1950
20
West Brom
64,815
Arsenal
FA Cup
6/3/1937
21
Blackburn
62,522
Bolton
FA Cup
2/3/1929
22
Liverpool
61,905
Wolves
FA Cup
2/2/1952



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