Comment: Seven-year hitch in West Brom attendances?

Albion had won seven of their previous eight league games at The Hawthorns in the run-up to their last home fixture, but the attendance still only nudged just over 24,000...writes Matt Wilson.

SOCCER - English Premier League -  Everton  v West Bromwich Albion
John Williams Chairman of West Bromwich Albion arrives at the stadium

The Baggies were sitting eighth in the Premier League, on course for their best season in more than 30 years, and yet there were at least 2,800 empty seats – probably more if you include those who had tickets but didn’t make it.

During the first half of the season, attendances were dismal and the gate of 21,467 for the December game with Swansea was a club low in the Premier League.

Last season’s grind to safety under Tony Pulis was a large contributing factor to that sharp decline with many stayaways citing the head coach’s style as the reason behind their absence.

This stunning season has encouraged a few people to return during the second half of the campaign, and the club were pleased with the Crystal Palace attendance because they offered fewer complimentary tickets for that game than they had all season.

But the Baggies are still some way away from selling out The Hawthorns and it’s now clear that results and performances are not the only factors at play.

Apathy is spreading among supporters because of a number of reasons. In their first season in the Premier League, Albion sold out nearly every game and the average attendance was 26,731 despite the team getting relegated.

But familiarity breeds contempt. The Baggies are now in their seventh successive season in the top tier and it’s getting boring.

Attendances have been dwindling for the past few years, dropping from an average of 25,327 in 2012/13 to 24,631 last season. Season ticket sales fell from 19,300 to 17,925 across the same period.

Football clubs are also facing a new battle, because supporters have changed the way they watch the game.

Every Premier League game, 3pm kick-off or otherwise, is now available on a live stream if you know where to look, there are goal packages sent straight to mobile phones and in-depth highlights on Sky Sports each night.

The armchair is looking increasingly comfortable.

This saturation doesn’t help either. Football, particularly Premier League football, is now an all-consuming behemoth that is constantly in the news, on our television sets and all over social media.

SOCCER - English Premier League -  Everton  v West Bromwich Albion
Attendances at the Hawthorns have been disappointing despite Albion's success this season

What used to be a way to escape the hum-drum of the world has now engulfed so much of our lives that it is football people sometimes wish to escape from.

The Premier League used to hit back against questions over ticket prices with the boast that every stadium was more than 95 per cent full, but that is no longer the case this season for six teams in the league (Sunderland, Middlesbrough, Hull, Southampton, Burnley and Albion).

But only Sunderland and Hull – who are disillusioned with their owners – fill less of their stadium than the Baggies.

Albion’s new regime know they have an issue on their hands, chairman John Williams and chief executive Martin Goodman both outlined the need to halt this decline when they arrived.

Nor have they been idle this season, offering discounted tickets for several games so far.

In fact, some weekends, it’s been cheaper to watch the Baggies than a National League game, and several local schools have benefited from complimentary tickets through club charity the Albion Foundation in an effort to create supporters for the future.

But season tickets make up the bulk of the gate and that is the market that needs addressing.

The club are releasing their prices for the next campaign in the first half of April.

Considering the dwindling attendances, and the bumper TV deal coming into play at the end of this season, freezing the prices will be the minimum expectation.

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Comments for: "Comment: Seven-year hitch in West Brom attendances?"

Jack the Hat.

Albion haven't had a miserable 422 gate away from home.

BOING~~~~BOING~~~~J♣H.

Reans

And is that genuinely what you think of after an article about Albion? How many Wolves took to Ipswich on a Tuesday night.

For two similarly supported clubs, our gates have held up well considering we might well go down to the 3rd tier again. I am personally amazed Albion only attracted 21000 home fans v Palace, chasing a possible European place and after 5 consecutive home wins.

Don't worry about Wolves Jack, we've got plenty to worry about ourselves, but you are out of order to knock Wolves current generation of support who averaged over 20,000 in the third division and there are signs ST sales are around 17-18000 already for next season.

The Real Bully Hoo.

Hi Reans.

I occasionally put genuine football posts about Wolves on your site but you've never replied to one. Jack puts something pointless up on here and you can't wait to jump in with both feet.

Why?

Jack the Hat.

Bully,

I obviously know how to rile the Hostiles to get a response. Keep going and you might get one soon.

All the best in your attempt.

BOING~~~~BOING~~~~J♣H.

Reans

Because he's Jack The prat, I think he embarrasses you lot more than Wolves.

The Real Bully Hoo.

Reans.

So you'd rather rise to Jack's obvious attempts to get a response from you than talk football to me about your own club. Even when it means chasing him over here to do it.

Jack.

I really don't want to play silly games. to get an inane response I back you fully in this case though because it's on our own site and if Wolves fans come over here then surely they expect to see a bit of this. A bit like Mary Whitehouse watching grown up TV programmes and then complaining because they had adult content.

Sharmwolf

Spot on Reans. Don't forget their attendances include an away following of 3000 every game as well.

And they couldn't sell their allocation against Everton at Goodison last week. Only took half the allocation and that was in a game against their main European qualification rival. Big club eh?

CantelloRocket 78

Sharm-

you always seem to be obsessed with ' Big ' and attendances - in truth, Wolverhampton covers a much wider area and much higher population than West Bromwich, yet during the very brief time you were in the top division, our average gates were little more than 2,000 difference-

added to which, bragging about ' mossive ' supporters at Wolves makes you wonder about the average 3,000 gates you had in the 4th division, the Baggies have never been that low in the league, and never had such poor, small crowds, so it may be wise to stop ranting and go away, because as usual you're just embarrassing yourself.

Bye, bye...

We Only Need One Half!

Yes Sharm we "only" took 1800 to Everton which was all the tickets our Club put on sale, tell me, how many tickets did your Club put on sale for the Ipswich game? seeing you only took 443?

Couldnt find a figure for the Brentford game, but seeing there was only 8k in the whole ground.....and your Club being such a big draw unall ;-)

El Bastado

If it wasn't for Walsall the baggies would be the worse supported team in the West Midlands. I just can't see them ever drawing in a big following because they are so unfashionable.

Even with very low ticket prices and kids for a quid no one really wants to watch them.

We Only Need One Half!

Yeah, keep telling yourself that bastado, then go look at the links I posted below and then you can come back and explain why Wolves average gate is even lower than ours.

Like the League Tables, the facts dont lie, bastado!

CantelloRocket 78

Simple fact is, the Baggies best ever home gate's higher than the wulfs ever achieved, and our darkside neighbours have lowest-ever gates way below ours-

I also believe they've now played lower league football probably about 31 out of the last 35 years, and a win against rock bottom Rotherham in the chumpionship gets 'em comin' out the woodwork in celebration-

they really ain't called ' deluded dingles ' for nothin'...lol...!!

Jack the Hat.

Sharm,

Bilston Town, Stafford Rangers, Telford Utd, Low Hill City's main rivals, there are the three reasons why wolves have reasonable gates.

wollffiee

If you were to go to the games, Jack the Prat, it would be one more to count!

Instead you're just a keyboard warrior constantly commenting on the biggest and best supported team in the Black Country. Envy is one of the 7 deadly sins!!

Jack the Hat.

Wulufee,

You would know all about envy as your lot have had enough practice over the last seven years at least.

We're in the moneybags Premiership whilst your lot are involved in the annual struggle against relegation from the nether region Chumpionship.

*Pride of the Midlands*

BOING~~~~BOING~~~~J♣H.

Jack the Hat.

Wulufee,

You need to clean the ring of feathers around your puckered lips instead of spewing crap.

BOING~~~~BOING~~~~J♣H.

BaggiesMark1968

People have so many other things to do nowadays and working practices have changed. Also lets be honest, irrespective of its success the football at the Hawthorns has not been enthralling. Personally I recall far better times and worse times as well, Bobby Gould, Saunders, Wylie days etc. With continued progress and signings to improve the team and style of play I'm sure we will get higher crowds, however, I do recall a time when we were top six in the old first division and we beat West Ham 3-0 in front of under 20,000 fans, so I think low attendances are what West Brom are used to. Wolves and Villa have always generally commanded greater crowds.

CantelloRocket 78

Well it's not a simple situation, several reasons obviously contribute to attendances, promotions can cause great excitement, recessions can cause financial hardships, etc., etc., plus these days the Premier League's split into two or three separate ' groups ' of clubs - also there's many TV and internet ' fans ' - you can even watch Sky and BT games on mobile phone free apps...!!

Saying that, ' Stoney Lane ' has said Albion have averaged around 20,000 gates over many past years, and I noted once in the 60s we drew at home 4-4 with this week's visitors Arsenal in front of a 16,000 crowd.

It's just the way it is, ups and downs and variations, not an easy solution...

Reans

Cantello, in response to your other post, I don't actually think there is much difference between WBA and Wolves fanbase wise.

A lot of Albion fans actually forget their lowest top flight crowd was a mightly 6100 in the dark 80s, our lowest top flight gate was only slightly better at 6600.

Of course we then dropped like a stone, you couldnt even buy ST's because none were produced, bottom of the 3rd tier we averaged 3000. Do you really think Albion gates would have been any better in that circumstance? Of course they wouldnt.

CantelloRocket 78

Like I said Reans, in terms of support, Wolverhampton has a much higher population and ' cachment ' area than West Bromwich, so if you take the percentage of the local population that go to games, the Baggies have a much higher percent of support than Wolves from their localities.

Regardless, apart from Wolves having such resources, they've also had a series of rich benefactors over a number of years, yet millions have been wasted, and the club have lurched from one disaster to another - the Baggies meanwhile have consistently played at a higher level, and been run in a very professional, debt-free manner.

It's all down to what you do with what you have, and in truth we've done that very impressively...

Reans

Cantello , I can't and wouldn't disagree that on the pitch you have wiped the floor with us over the past 20 years, its embarrassing from our point of view how one-sided its been. Nothing the fans can do about that, as you say we have had benefactors and spunked the money. You are an excellent tightly-run ship who are performing incredibly well.

But this fan base thing I disagree with, we may have a slight advantage, and yes you have 2 Birmingham teams to compete with, but I am sure Villa feel that they have you on their doorstep to compete with too, in terms of attracting support. At least 25% of your support will live in Birmingham. Like Wolves, you attract a good % of your support from Dudley and Walsall boroughs, as well as from outlying towns like Kiddy.

We may well have Shropshire, but its thinly populated compared to Brum obviously.

I fully understand your low crowds for the £39 Cat A fixtures, but still maintain I was shocked at your Palace gate, given a premiership league position we admittedly could only ever dream of. 5 home wins on the run, can't remember when we last did that except maybe in the 3rd tier.

RobinBrittain

Mr Williams has no one except himself and the owners for not being able to fill the ground . I don't think it's boredom more a realisation by supporters that the club are unwilling to push the boat out to push into the higher echelons of the league. Let's face it Pulis has done wonders with the playing staff he has at his disposal but it's really not good for us to have just one central striker. Look at the impact Gabbiadini has had at Southampton , no doubt we showed interest but not at the money Saints paid.

It's a recurring theme , always trying to find a bargain . I can't remember it ever being different.

Williams and Laid will have a golden opportunity in the summer to back Pulis in the transfer market. If they don't I am afraid the number of empty seats will increase.

The Real Bully Hoo.

I agree Robin. When trying to sell a house it's always said to be easier if it has a "Wow Factor." Mr Williams needs to ask himself what our wow factor is.

Rather than helping with the situation he's made a series of contradictory statements regarding incoming transfers. "we're big players in the market now," "we're going to hit the ground running when the window opens."

He's then made this even worse by A) not living up to these rash promises and B) coming out with a statement afterwards that we didn't need any more players.

Some of us will continue to support through thick and thin, it's what we do but there is a new breed of supporter that are "snowflakes" ie they're lightweight and need constant stimulation or they will find some other bright shiny object to occupy them on a Saturday afternoon and especially on a cold wet Tuesday night.

JP never promised us anything except blood, sweat and lots of tears and he kept that promise with the occasional surprise, Ideye, Rondon etc. Mr Williams could learn a lot. As my hate figure BFR used to say, 'don't tell us what you're going to do Mr Williams, show us.'

Kev in Mallorca

Robin

I'm not having a knock but how do you know the details of who we have been in negotiations with and why deals have broken down, there could be many reason why players don't sign for us, not all of them are down to Mr Williams or the owners but your post implies it is purely down people at the club, it's unsubstantiated talk like that that fuels the conspiracists, IMHO that is.

'deu

Kev in Mallorca

Robin

See what o'mean.

RobinBrittain

Hello Kevin hope you are well.

Have a knock by all means but experience of following the Albion for many many years leads me to believe that despite supposedly wealthy new owners little has changed in the dna of the club. As Bully points out earlier Williams has made conflicting statements reference recent transfer windows and as I said before it is a disgrace that we only have one central striker. There have been so many players linked with us during the last two windows that it seems unlikely that we had no interest in any of them. It was obvious that Berahinio had no future with the club last summer but nothing has been done to replace him . If it's not down to Williams and the owners to maintain a squad sufficient in numbers who is it down to ?.

The Real Bully Hoo.

Robin. The fact is that the article is questioning the reason that the crowd numbers have remained disappointing despite relative success on the field and both of us have put forward our own thoughts on the matter.

This doesn't amount to claiming to know things and neither of us have said that we do. We have put up posts with our own points of view on a topic that's up for discussion. Last time I checked this is still allowed.

baggietillidie

Bully mate - and as far as the chairman is concerned, we've put up posts directly related to what he's SAID, and my own posts have focused purely upon two of his VERY OWN comments of a couple of weeks ago, namely that he doesn't want players who can only play for Pulis, and his admission that a striker was never in his sights in the last window. Two worrying comments worthy of questioning posts from any of us who care deeply about our club.

Kev in Mallorca

Rumpole

Where has it been said fans are not allowed to voice their opinion, you seem to imply that someone is trying to stop you and Robin.

I can't see where you've got that from or is it just another court room game, now if someone had made a "comment" then I would understand, if I didn't know better I could think you were talking about my post but it couldn't be that cause I'm only offering an opinion like others do.

Kev in Mallorca

Robin

I'm not saying you are wrong but I not saying you are right, what I am saying is you, me or any other fan were not present at negotiations so it could be that the players we were reported to be interested in may have turned us down for other reasons than purely money but you are saying it's down to money and laying the blame at the Chairman and owners.

Obviously I'm not saying you can't say that but I just think it feeds a frenzy, the sheep follow and before we know it Mr Williams will be the new Jeremy in the days when he was the villain in many fans eyes.

'deu

Kev in Mallorca

Robin

My memory's crap but wasn't there empty seats under JP's rein and correct me if I'm wrong but the only posts I've read on here that could account for the empty seats are from fans saying the football under TP is boring the pants of them so they haven't renewed their season tickets, except for Kim Philby from Wall Heath that is, he ay coming cause the half time food is crap and the Hawthorns ay situated at the end of his road.

'deu

The Real Bully Hoo.

Yes Tillie, that 'we don't want players that can only play for Tony Pulis' was unnecessary and seemed to be firing a warning across the manager's bows. It would be easy to put it down as a slip of the tongue were it not for the previous, 'the manager asked for 5 players and I gave him 5 players.' and also as you say, saying we didn't need another striker after the manager had said we did.

As you or anybody else on here knows, I've never been a conspiracy theory merchant or one to pick on anybody but sometimes things can't be more obvious, like being hit around the head with a wet haddock. There would seem to be some sort of personality clash between these two and to deny it would be like an ostrich burying your head in the sand.

Tony Pulis keeps saying he gets on well with the new chairman and let's hope that's the case, I get on well with Rocket and WONOH when I see them but I've never felt the need to tell people. Then again I've never felt the need to call other posters daft nicknames when berating them.

Kev in Mallorca

Rumpy

You speak with forked tongue, The long range sniper is one that comes to mind, I ay guna go into your little quips like "last time I looked it was still allowed" and the best of the lot which gave birth to the Rumpole tag was when you were outraged accusing me of all sorts of skulduggery in tarnishing your whiter than white reputation by saying you did make "comments" on Dingle threads, do want me to repeat the "outrageous" disclaimer the E&D have the audacity to print below the reply box.

The Real Bully Hoo.

Sorry Tillie. I did make a mistake in saying 'I've never felt the need to call other posters daft nicknames when berating them.' I should have added, 'except in retaliation.' If somebody insists on doing it to me when laying down the law then I will in all probability return the favour.

baggietillidie

Afternoon Bully, we are indeed in agreement on our genuine concerns regarding some pointed remarks of the chairman, and just as I've said earlier, us deeply passionate Baggie-boys are rightly questioning such..............the rest of it IMO being too tedious for words.

Kev in Mallorca

There you go again with your lies Rumpy, "laying down the law"?????, am I not allowed an opinion, and come on? you "made a mistake" where any body else would be "telling lies". It's a good you are not under oath.

But I must offer an apology for degrading these threads by making "comments", by the way could you explain why you were so outraged at me describing YOUR posts as "comments"?

Kev in Mallorca

Btid

Yowm right there I feel the same, especially when I know who's telling the truth.

'deu

baggietillidie

Robin - Totally in agreement. We heard from Mr Williams' own mouth that in the last window they did not even bother to look for a striker - this for me shows either downright complacency, or a total lack of ambition, either way points to empty seats.

rvd2016

Anybody who blames it all on Pulis is an idiot. The gripes have been around for a long time.

A lot of the younger fans now in their 20's and 30's jumped on the bandwagon in the yo-yo days. They were young and impressionable when Mowbray have the largest budget in the Championship and flat track bullied the opposition. Playing the mythical 'Albion Way' which made the club's ethos superior to everybody else.

Have a look on social media and you will see this age group as the most vocal when it comes to wanting Pulis out. They are also the ones who have stopped attending... For some reason they take great pride in Pepe Mel doing well in Spain while ignoring his 17% win rate at the Albion. These people should be the core support over the next 30-40 years but do we really want such poisonousindividuals being the voice of the fan base? If I was Mr Williams and Mr Goodman I would by-pass this generation and concentrate on the schoolkids in the local area. Give away hundreds of free tickets and get the youngsters to attend and fall in love with their local club. Within the next decade they will replace the old Mowbray-Mel lovers who want style over substance.

brumboy

you should all wake up and smell the coffee, it is not about fans anymore but media revenue and merchandising.

Jack the Hat.

Premiership clubs need four strikers, Albion have two at this time and they are disfuncional where goals are concerned.

Albion have had greats in the striker dept, Kevan, Allen, Astle, Regis, Taylor, Phillips remembered without much strain on the mind, in my time. There lies one of the main reasons why our gates are down.

BOING~~~~BOING~~~~J♣H.

brumboy

remember jack what has happened to fans living standards over last seven years, many have simply been priced out.

Kev in Mallorca

Bb

Think you're barking up the wrong tree there mate, it's all down to Mr Williams, which must be true cause the "usual suspects" are telling us nearly every day.

'deu

CantelloRocket 78

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz......

Reans

Albion have always offered cheap tickets, thats no excuse.

Kev in Mallorca

Ditto, zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz, not to mention down right lies.

CantelloRocket 78

I said awhile ago that ' someone ' on here could argue with himself in a broom cupboard, having had more run-ins, disgreements, and conflict with Baggies fans than I could even attempt to keep count of -

and the proof is clearly there for everyone to see.........lol...!!

Kev in Mallorca

I know that Trbhoo's a pain ay 'e, lets look on the bright side at least it ay yo he's arguing with, saving us from listening to yowa lies and constantly repeat yourself over an' over agen.

CantelloRocket 78

I can point out lies and incorrect facts you've quoted on here about me, and I've discussed them privately with both my Wife and Bully, who've advised me to stay calm, so unless you want to brand ALL of us liars, I suggest you stop running around the site shouting ' Liar! Liar! ' like some annoying kid in the school playground-

as I've pointed out, I've lost count how many Baggies fans you've had conflict with on here, and when we joined another Albion site a few years back, you were banned within days for arguing with Albion fans on there.

I'm sure as usual you'll throw back more criticism or sarcasm, and want the last word, but I couldn't care less, everyone can see how you turn these pages into battle grounds, so I've had enough of this carp-

fill yer boots, I don't give a flyin' fig anymore.

END.

Kev in Mallorca

Yo butted in throwing accusations, I never mentioned your name so don't come on here blaming me trying to make me out as the antagonist with your "I don't give a flying fig anymore" yo should've had that thought before YO butted in , as for you telling lies, in our last little tay tar tay did you or did you not say that you NEVER post comments on Wolves sites?

While I'm at it you and the other chuckle brother constantly tell lies about me, when I'm expressing an opinion according to your gang I'm telling people what to do while trying to prevent them expressing their opinion, "last time I checked this was still allowed" "if someone insists on doing it to me when laying down the law" two quotes from above, lies damn lies.

If you, your wife and Trbhoo discuss me in you spare time I suggest all 3 of ya get out more, but dow forget to duck with all the flyin' figs about. PATHETIC

Dave Gilberts old sock's

Kev,

I come in peace,

If your battle weary "friends" day no better they'd swear yow were me in one of my numerous guises. A tenner says they talk about me in private as well.

Karlis

Kev in Mallorca,

100% in agreement with you on your post regarding CantelloRocket 78,

He has posted on our threads many a time and if he's denying it he's a bloody liar !!!

CantelloRocket 78

People closest to me know me to be a fairly laid back, positive kind of guy, who likes a sense of humour, and most of the time I can take it all in my stride - but when I see someone blackening my name by repeatedly shouting ' liar ', and bringing my name up in a criticising way when I'm not even posting - as I've seen a few times on here - then it can have some affect, which they notice, and they mention it to me.

I like to think the vast majority of those I chat with on here are now friends, and have said good things about me, so at the end of the day, ultimately that's all that really matters, it'll certainly do for me...!!

Kev in Mallorca

Are you mentally retarded, you cast the first stone on this thread and the only times I have questioned your honesty is when you shook my hand in person then ripped me apart on here, the other time was when you told a bare faced lie about NEVER posting on Wolves sites and I pointed out the contradictory evidence.

Where you get repeatedly shouting "liar" God only knows, just show me the evidence, maybe it come from a guilty conscience.

Anyway how do you explain the lies you tell about me?

Don't fool yourself, not everyone has good things to say about you, the same as some people like me and some don't, that's life my dear boy.

Please don't come out with your usual parc of me trying to have the last word here, if you haven't got the hang of it yet, if someone talks to you or about you, YOU ANSWER IT.

Anyway I thought you'd had enough of this parc and couldn't give a flying fig, or was that lie NO 3?

Sorry folks, if he doesn't come back neither will I.

Kev in Mallorca

Just though Canty, am yo guna have as many come backs as Frank Sinatra.

CantelloRocket 78

Looks like the broom cupboard must be locked....switch off the lights, and it's cheerio..........

Kev in Mallorca

Is this a fresh fig?

AVylla

Attendance figures depend on alot of things, population, history and general current interest..we tend to be in an area of top to middling clubs that all can have large gates for certain games if the excitement is there. West ham and other middling clubs get higher gates because of the local pride competing what's on there doorstep and over exposure of world media bubbles centered on biased areas, north west south east. The reason why Everton and formally Man city got big crowds was because of what they have rammed down their throats from local media also.

Liverpool have glory hunters from rightfully being successful, Man utd have massive support because of munich, they were a middling club before hand then over night they became every bodies second club, tgen generation grew up following them...if we had the media drive and interest like we did pre billionaires that have distorted the whole foootball thing, to make money for people without the same interest in the game and meaning as we do.

AVylla

Only if , rather