The Feeling Of The Five Thousand Colin October 9, 2011 Leeds United 60 Comments The Scratching Shed welcomes Colin, a regular commentator on the site, whose first article looks at Leeds United’s falling attendances. Things aren’t all white at Leeds United. Figures suggest that the Yorkshire club’s fans are deserting a club renowned for its loyal support at an alarming and unsustainable rate. Last season, Leeds United had the highest attendances of any team in the English Football League. The Championship team had an average attendance of 27,299. To put that number in its true perspective – higher than 8 Premier League clubs. This season, things seem a little different. Against Bristol City in September, there were 22,655 fans at Elland Road. Last season, at the same fixture at a similar time of year, November, the attendance was 27,567, a drop of just under 5,000 fans. At the last Leeds United home match against Portsmouth, there were 22,476 fans. Last season, there were 31,556. That match was over the lucrative Christmas break and you expect a higher attendance when you take into account the timing. However, it is still important to note that 9,000 less fans have turned up this time around against one of the ‘bigger’ teams in the league. This year, there are no lucrative Christmas ties. Leeds United will play their Christmas games away from home. The Football League Fixture Generator (sponsored by NPower) has been especially Scrooge-like to Leeds United. And that makes the already dispirited accountant at Elland Road, an even more frustrated Bob Cratchit figure. It’s going to be a cold winter in Leeds and he’s not getting any presents. So why the glum faced accountant? Surely the Manchester United game helped to fill the coffers? It must have been a sell-out? Well, hmmm, no. It wasn’t. Last season, in Leeds United’s ‘big’ test against Arsenal, the attendance was a comfortable 38,000, and it could have been more. The club expected the same result through the turnstiles this time around. But when the Board looked out of the windows expecting to see queues, no-one was there. The club expected huge demand and encouraged fans to guarantee tickets with a first come, first served offer allowing a guaranteed seat if you attended the previous 2 home games. In addition, it was a ticket for the season ticket holder only, no friends allowed. Then the friends were allowed. Then there were special ‘exclusive’ offers for the Executive boxes and Prawn Sandwich brigade. No-one was hungry. After much encouragement, only 31,000 fans turned up for a game against ‘The Enemy’ – the Premier League victors and Champions League finalists. The club expected to be inundated with ticket requests. That didn’t happen. Many fans already disgruntled with paying Top 6 Premier League season ticket prices to watch a mid-table Championship team, rightly baulked at the option to be ‘allowed’ to take their own seat for a further £36. The tide has turned and the fans are walking away with their cash in their pockets. The attendances at Leeds United have dropped by 14%. And that number is a realistic but potentially optimistic one based on the comparable timings of the Bristol City match versus last season. If you took the current average attendance versus last season, or the attendance against Manchester United versus Arsenal last season, or the Portsmouth example, then the club are facing much closer to a 20% figure. They say a picture paints a thousand words, and images of Elland Road this season show vast spaces of empty seats. If alarm bells are not already ringing in the Leeds United offices, then they should be. Perhaps someone forgot to change the batteries? If you’d like to submit an article for consideration to The Scratching Shed, please email us using the online form. Picture courtesy of MAMF taken at Leeds United v Middlesbrough (13/08/2011) TSS The picture I’ve added to Colin’s article before publishing was actually taken at a game with a pretty high attendance (25,500+) compared to some other home games so far. Definitely time for kids initiatives (quid a kid with full paying adult) or some other campaign to get fans in. neil1964 What about being reallistic with ticket prices for everyone? When I get tickets for friends it is £37.50 or £35.50 inc booking fee. They cannot believe what I pay for me and my sons season ticket, it`s embarassing. Bates has geared it up to extract as much money out of the “loyal fans” as possible. My friends would defo attend more if the prices were more reasonable. Steve L It’s nothing of the sort. Not one league game has seen all of the ‘cheaper’ (non member) price tickets sold out. You should buy your friends the £26 & £31 tickets instead of the most expensive. Neil1964 Because they take their kids they would prefer not to go behind the goal. There is no concessions for kids either. Its either full whack or behind the goal. You may think that is ok. I suppose I might if the ground was sold out. Henry V L I agree with the points made already. The recession is biting, and KB has given people the push they need to save their money! He has made it easy for fans to stay away! KB has certainly saved his money, and is getting what he deserves! His arrogant attitude, and the broken promises have back-fired on him. I am sure that if we climb the league the fans will return for the important games at least. The ball is firmly in his court1 Anonymous There was when the leeds united fans were protesting round the BREMNER statue those who said it was waste of time and in real terms it was .. however there was and i was one who said the only way to hit bates and force his hand a little was to withdraw some of the money ,and although i personally go still to home league matches thats it no nothing else . Add that to the recession and lifestyle choices e:g 90 mins at leeds or a night out for the same price then these are all things conspiring against ken bates . sadly i feel its more likely to be the recession than an all out protest against bates and i would bet that many teams outside the premier league are suffering the same fate and some in there . Although it doesn’t help the people involved it is reassuring in real terms that people have decided that football is not a necessity and are feeding the kids instead .. Paul Cox This is all down to Bates. And it is not just his lack of investment in the club (well on the pitch anyhow), but on the abhorrent way he treats the fans, his utmost contempt for Leeds United fans. Sickpots, morons, dissidents and the rest. His making the Kop Season Ticket holders and Members only, the list could go on and on. Bates acts like someone with a strategy to rid the football club of its core fanbase and replace it with corporate business. Get out of our club Bates… Kesmond Couldn’t agree more. £37 for a child v Man Utd (when not in family stand) or £111 for me and both kids. I just couldn’t bring myself to give KB that sort of money. I went to Arsenal, Liverpool & Spurs home cup games but increasingly I’m starting to weigh up the high prices vs investment in the squad or lack of it. I was sad to miss the game but can anyone remember a time when Leeds Man U didn’t sell out? The danger is that saving money becomes very addictive in a recession. And as for the £4 programme… It’s just self defeating for the club to be so mercenary. ludlowleeds Our enthusiastic (Bates would call it ‘blind’) dedication has been taken for granted with ticket prices, epitomised by the recent Man Utd game, priced to a maximum. Although the recession must be a factor Leeds fans are simply not as motivated this season due to the transfer window farce, a perceived lack of investment in players, high prices etc. We feel exploited and cheated. Recent efforts by the board to communicate ‘openly’ with fans and the increased availability of ‘cheap’ seats are transparent and belated efforts to reverse the trend. There has been quantum shift in policy and Bates may be a little less belligerent for a while. Daryl Fox I aint going no more till bates has gone Shaun Most clubs gates will be down due to the economy.But those who don’t go because they say lack of investment in the team are trying to pull the wool over the eyes over those who go week in week out. We have this situation since the 80’s apart from early 90’s and when risdale went mad. If we get close to promotion then the crowds will be close to average 25k. MOT United are dying. Bates can dismiss the protests as baseless and can call those concerned with his stingy spending and draconian stance on club-fan communications “morons” and the like without particuarly heavy repurcussions – but it’s the fact that our attendances are falling fast that will eventually come back to bite him. Over half a decade of accepting, encouraging, mediocrity is hitting the clubs coffers – and little suprise considering our flagship signing this summer was a shiny new set of boxes (most of which will probably remain empty) where corporate guests can relish the visits of Barnsley and Peterborough. Apathy is dragging this great club down. Bates needs to have a serious reconsideration of his business plan (?) – our season tickets are what, the 5th highest in the country? If Bates won’t alter this based on sympathy/common sense, perhaps our plummeting attendances will force his hand. Ross Bates has also made it difficult for himself to get out of this situation as the season tickets are priced so highly any reduction in match day tickets, effectively gives the turn up on the day fan a better deal than the season ticket holders per match price.. Steve L Agreed. They guarantee a 20% discount for early renewers on tickets bought match by match so they’ve boxed themsleves in somewhat. Johnfromotley Where do you stand on the new rules coming in next year about clubs only being able to spend what they earn. I know the ticket prices are too high and the east stand development has taken funds from the playing squad but is there an argument aboutt a longer term view? Horsforth White Prices & the recession are responsilble for half of it, the other half is Bates – the way he runs the club for his own interest & not the fans & the awful way he treats the fans – £200,000 on players, £7,000,000 on his ground (don’t tell me he doesn’t own it) Well said Paul Cox Mersey Whites Leeds have a budget based upon 25k a week at present day prices… Also budgeting to get knocked out in the 3rd round of both cup competitions.. Moving the away fans to the West stand was a economical move, hoping to free up more modestly price tickets to the Home fans,, This will work I have no doubt , and Let the away fans pay 36 pounds a ticket.. The club cannot reduce prices as who will pay for the short fall if attendances do not improve.. IMO there should be a discount offered to bring your Children to the match 5 pounds would be a reasonable price.. Its imperative to get the right balance right between ambition and reality, We have a Premiership Club , but not a team… Its on the right lines though and with even the smallest investment come January , based upon present form , it should enable us to challenge for a top 2 finish.. Its not good enough to finish between 6Th and 3rd place.. The crowd will come back if results maintain themselves, and the club invests in better quality players than we already have.. And that could be Loans or permanent deals Anonymous is opening the kop to members only just for the Cardiff game or is it now forever ?? if this is permanent the gates will fall to below 20000 unless he offers the same prices tickets elsewhere .there could be trouble ahead . just in case Irving and leeds for life another reason to hate ken bates Anonymous forgot to mention we are on telly tomorrow aren’t we bbc1 at half 7 that might be the thing that gets the old farts ticker moving quicker and whooops !!! he’s gone Steve L The South Stand is fully open for Leeds fans every game now, and if demand merits it the SE as well, so yes, there are more than enough tickets to satisfy the demands from anyone excluded from the Kop. That said I don’t agree with the policy, but a lack of similarly priced tickets isn’t an issue. Anonymous lets be honest finding a seat at E R at the moment aint that hard but the kop tickets are the ones priced at a lower level .. if the kop and the south stand tickets are the same price ,it will just mean that if there are trouble makers in the kop ,who are not members ,they will move to south stand , so therefore this is another pointless task . although the behavior of fans before that game was appalling on both sides is there any evidence that the Leeds fans sat in the kop were the ones causing that trouble ??. lastly you mention similarly priced tickets ,you are right its not about that ,they either have to be cheaper or exactly the same price because the kop lot will not pay more so therefore will not go through the turn-style . this could be a plan to get them to become members . does anyone know is this forever or just the one game ?? either way i do not care i sit in family stand cheers Steve L irving08 Commercially unwise to get everyone to become a member; but it makes sense on other grounds. I am not sure one should remain indifferent to to the question. We didn’t go to the Man U match: we don’t much like the atmosphere that accompanies them (the boring standing up chants especially. And I personally still harbour a resentment of them from our 5 goal thrashing in 1957…. Anonymous the manu games are the worst to go to because of the atmosphere and the intimidation been to loads but never enjoyed 1 , well except the beckford one !! i just do not get it and to be fair most people don’t either its a band wagon .. Colin Hi everyone, I’m the author of this article. You may know me on this site under the guise of Shakamoto. What I tried to do with this article is to bring just a few numbers to the fore and share some statistics. Firstly I’d like to say thanks for everyone’s comments and I hope everyone found it an interesting article and I’d like to follow it up with another article on potential reasons for the fall in attendances and also the potential financial impact on the club. But I have to react on some of the comments so far. It’s frankly terrible that Kesmond was asked for £37 for a child for the Man Utd game. That’s just not right. A number of other people have posted about the costs also. I should add that £4 is the highest cost for any official club programme in English football. There’s a fine line between charging high prices and getting bums on seats, and in the past I have agreed with Bates’ negative thoughts on ‘kids for a quid’ and other similar initiatives, however, now things are different. Core fans are saying no to the ticket prices and not turning up and at that point you have to look at alternative ways of managing ticket pricing. number1inyorkshire made a very good point – and I agree with it and it was something I am planning to discuss in my second article (if TSS is okay with that) – if Leeds United do not get promoted and continue their trend of loss of attendance, then gates could fall below 20,000. Football is an industry just like any other – lose your customers at your peril, you need them, it’s very very hard to get them back. Ron Galea Well done on your initial post. I’m not surprised attendances have fallen, least of all because of what I read on this site all summer. Bates has taken on the fans and some have chosen to hit him where it hurts. No one saw evidence their ticket money was going back into the squad and we sold our best player to boot, despite assurances to the contrary. Let us also not forget, many people are doing it tough economically after the GFC and things don’t look like improving anytime soon. I would love to see more kids at the football and it should be encouraged. However, few family counselors would agree that an English football ground is a good environment for kids. The catch 22 of all this is that the one way to get the crowds back is to continue winning, which is made easier by a parochial Elland Road. It’s a tough one Colin and well worth reporting. I look forward to your next post. smiler01 Interesting article Colin, one thing i would ask is was Elland Road at maximum capacity for the Manchester game or was it still acting at a reduced capacity? I think everyone saw this coming this season that attendances would drop due to ticket prices and lack of investment. Although looking at the current squad i still think we have a better group of players this year than we did last, minus the loss of Gradel which at the end of the day could not be helped. As Bates and Harvey have been a little more open lately at least they have finally admitted although not directly that they committed to the stadium redevelopment on an off shot that Leeds would get the 20 million pound loan from LCC. Once the world cup bid failed and the council withdrew the loan agreement it left the club with a big problem, that they had invested a large percentage of there funds into the stadium and didn’t have too much left behind for investment into the playing squad. It was a big risk by the club and has back fired on them. The fact that anyone from the club was reluctant to admit this at first put more pressure on them. As all the fans already knew that something had gone wrong somewhere. Couple that with the complete lack of respect that Bates shows towards the fans and the current economic outlook, with worse to come by the looks of the current climate. Combining these facts together with the high ticket prices and the lack of big name opposition it makes people think twice about what luxury is worth it more. Matthew Good point, Attendance for the Scum game was 31 thosand. Also if we were in the Premier league we’d be one of the most expensive sides to watch. Anonymous reduced or full capacity makes no difference ,as it happens it was reduced because of building works !!. fact is all tickets available were not sold, now for a game against manu in recent years that is unprecedented . Colin smiler – i believe that ER was there or thereabouts available for full capacity for the MUFC match. I think it was touch and go but I think that the East Stand development work was rushed through in time to make the new facilities available for the match. To be fair, MUFC could have had 4,500 seats. They took 3,000. I’ve heard 2 stories – 1) MUFC didn’t want the full allotment 2) 1,500 empty seats due to safety/police advice. Either way, Leeds could have got a good 5,000 more bums on seats at ER. Interesting point on the stadium. As far as I’m aware, the club haven’t committed any finance to the stadium as part of the World Cup bid. I thought the £7m we spent on the East stand was going to happen anyway. TSS It was. The World Cup improvements were an increased capacity (50,000) and improved facilities. They were never going to by Bates a hotel, museum etc.. As for the Scum game, it wasn’t just segregation/unavailable seats, there were gaps all over the place. We couldn’t sell all our tickets, it was as simple as that. Steve L Crowds are certainly down, partly because of the economic climate and certainly partly because of the club’s apparent contempt for fans. But you’ve got to compare apples with apples, not pears. The Bristol City game last season saw 2,300 away fans. This time around 500. They were charged £1 more for the privilege in comparison, so it’s not the pricing that pit them off, but their own team’s form and the fact that they ‘did’ Elland Road last season. So 1,800 of that crowd drop was really out of the club’s control. Similarly with Portsmouth who were 1,000 down on last season, though prices most certainly DID play a part in that as they were our first ‘guests’ to be accommodated in the West. irving08 As a senior citizen and a grandparent I am happy with the prices me and the two grandchildren pay for the Family Stand. We don’t have season tickets but we do attend the majority of matches. In fact, I rate it as rather good value compared, say, to the high price of most theatre and concert tickets (and theatres in Leeds don’t give seniors or children concessions on Saturday evenings.) Fortunately, I live in Leeds, and don’t have to factor in travel costs. I can’t comment on what people have to forego if they want to afford other areas of the ground. But I would reiterate my earlier call for exploring ways of giving kids on free school meals soem sort of special deal. However I do recognise that such schemes are not easy to run. I disagree that the economic situation has nothing to do with the drop in attendances: it is affecting most other areas of people’s personal expenditure, so football cannot be exempt. However I do agree that the team’s mediocre start against a background of summer’s transfer fiasco, willl have played a part. I suspect though that core fans are not the main ones staying away, but those who attend on a more occasional basis. This core fan runs a 20 year old Fiat so he can afford his and the grandkids ‘footie. CJ Nice 1 Col. Great first article. Very interesting read. Gotta say, its no real surprise attendances are plummeting. Times are very hard at the moment. Bates’ policy of ripping fans off with ridiculously high admission prices makes it an easy decision for people to find something else to do on their Saturday afternoons. I remember way back in 1990, when Leeds announced a massive increase in admission prices following our promotion back to the 1st Division. Sadly for me, this coincided with me turning 16 yrs old which meant having to pay full adult prices. I couldn’t afford to go, which was devastating! Despite what Bates may want us to believe, nobody owes Leeds United a living. Just because people are unable to justify paying the sky-high ticket prices, doesn’t mean they’re not Leeds fans. Unless Bates changes this policy of openly ripping off fan, then I guarantee attendances will continue to fall. Batty Shooot! These ‘lost fans’ are not lost forever. Once Bates goes & there’s more positivity ER will be buzzing again. Totally agree with CJ,just because you can’t afford to attend games,it doesn’t mean you’re not 100% Leeds. MOT Matthew Ken Bates neglects to realise Leeds United has a national fanbase, not just fans from inside of Yorkshire and the outlining areas, of those who once lived in the area and now don’t, simply put by putting up the prices too much he is pricing a lot of the fans who live further away out of going to the game. If he reduced prices to the average for this league I can see a lot more people going to games, but whilst he continues to be the most expensive charger he will have a lot of empty seats until we’re back in the Prem again. So thinking about it for those who live outside of Yorkshire Fuel Costs + Food + High priced tickets(More if in a family) = Not worth it for some people. Matthew Adding to that, I read Leeds were like the 6th most supported team in the country, the ticket prices if anything are the reason we’re getting the numbers we are getting in games. JT Matthew, where did you ‘read’ that then? I’d like to see it if possible. TSS Technically 7th, but he wasn’t far off – http://www.roymorgan.com/news/press-releases/2006/490/ (I’ve excluded Rangers and Celtic because we were talking English clubs and they play in a pointless league where you’re either one or the other). Also worth noting that we were in the League One in 2008 when this research was carried out. I dare say a Premier League Leeds United with similar success to Chelsea would displace themselves and Tottenham based on the one-club city factor, and Newcastle based on the fact they’ll never achieve anything. Matthew It’s that fact alone that makes me laugh when Leeds haters call Leeds a small club lol. We’re the biggest club in the Championship with the largest fanbase. Speaking of Manchester United supporters, if we’re going to be technical here, about 90 percent of them I imagine have never been to a game before, and most are glory hunters. And naturally your point on Scottish football is valid, which makes the league they play in pointless as year after year its either Celtic or Rangers in the top 2 spots, at least in the premier league there’s some variety with about 6 clubs able to challenge for the title. Steve L I bet the increase in fuel costs swallow up any variation in ticket prices. Joelogan1 As a student paying £30+ for the games is a stretch too far. But for me to go to Birmingham away its only £11, for that reason i will go to more of the local-ish away games Les Ives Bates may be rubbing his hands with glee about the money he saved on not spending any of it on the squad in the close season, and the outcome, as you quite rightly point out, between 5 and 7 thousand less fans paying every week. Well done Ken! Times are tough and with the limitations of our current squad, no result is ever guaranteed. Can I really afford to spend £50 on me and my son coming to watch on a regular basis? Add to that the games we arn’t allowed to win, like all derby games (why is that?), always having to lose to Milwall and Cardiff (ditto) and its not an appetising prospect. Les Ives trueyorxman Palace & Bristol City at home, Category C. Portsmouth at home Category A!! But where’s the explanation from Bates, as usual none forthcoming. All weekend games, apart from maybe Millwall, West Ham, Cardiff should be Cat B. All midweek matches should be Cat C. Its that simple Bates you robbing c**t. I’d love to take my son to every game, last season we made it to 1 in 2 but this season its going to be 1 in 3. It doesn’t make us any less a supporter than the ones who do go every week cos we both love Leeds, but we also live in the real world and thankfully my lad understands if I say we can’t afford to go. We go in the hope that we see Leeds get back in the Prem, but at the back of my mind….frustrating, very frustrating. Matthew Well said, you don’t have to go to every home and away game to be a true fan, there is no such definition of a true fan of any team, as long as you’re not a glory hunter/plastic supporter, you’re a fan of any club you love just the same as someone with more money and goes to every game. As implied in some of my posts, I don’t always go to every game either, more the money side of things and the over charging in regards to tickets, I’m probably 1 in 4, I do like to go to the distant away games in places I’ve never ventured before, so maybe 1 in 3 at times(Mostly friendlys in that regard). trueyorxman Sorry I meant Cat B for Palace & Bristol City oldschoolbaby I think this is far more to do with the economic situation than who is, or isn`t, pulling on a White shirt. Every time I watch a live game in any sport on TV these days there are banks of empty seats. The RL Challenge Cup Final and Grand Final didn`t seem to be sellouts and there are even empty seats at the RWC in New Zealand. I don`t follow the Premier League that closely but same thing seems to apply I`m wondering if Bates is waking up to this. Having moved away fans to the West Stand it gives hoim a bit of an excuse for imaginative ( lads and dads ? ) low cost ticket offers and promotions to, say, fill the South Stand. The other point which I don`t think has been brought up is the seating density at Elland Road. For tall and hefty people it can be hugely uncomfortable. I`ve heard it referred to as like being in a stress position. A big deterrent when disposable income is in short supply. Chareose i completely disagree, its not the economic down town which has been in full flow since 2008…….its Kenneth Bates attitude and general running of our FOOTBALL Team……yes Ken its a football team not a property development oldschoolbaby Firstly, I haven`t got the time to do the research but I have no doubt I am right in what I`m saying in that the vast majority of spectator sports are seeing serious declines in their attendance figures. Secondly, whilst you could argue the current recession dates back to 2008 the cracks in that stage of the economic crisis were papered over to a degree. At the moment we are accelerating into a depression at an unprecedented rate quite unlike 2008. If, as I expect, a good number of high profile football clubs sink under the weight of their debt, without trace, during this depression Bates might be viewed retrospectively as a prudent visionary. Thirdly, Leeds United is much, much bigger than Ken Bates. He is merely transient in our history. That statement would still be true if he was 25 years old. He is NOT. There is a lot of whining about a problem that has to resolve itself in the short term Leeds United is treading water. That`s not good enough. We deserve better. But there is still a lamentable lack of appreciationas to how much more preferrable treading water is to drowning Leonickroberts Excellent post. I’ve got a lot of abuse for being a bates-sympathiser, because people don’t seem to be able to differentiate between a horrible old bastard making some decisions we as fans think are questionable (prioritising new boxes over new players, for example), and a bad chairman. I don’t like the man, but he’s business savvy, and if that keeps us afloat and means we don’t have to sell all our players and drop two divisions again then so be it. As for dropping turnouts, I agree again – ticket prices are far far too expensive for what you get at Elland Road, but declining crowds is a problem facing most spectator sports, and i’m pleased that the management are budgetting sensibly to 22,000. TSS The funny thing about football is attendances are unaffected during recessions. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/competitions/premier-league/5400322/Premier-League-attendances-healthy-despite-world-recession.html I researched this for an article once before, and it astonished me to find this has occurred throughout history. Strange, but nevertheless true. Not sure if it’s the same with every sport, but football is recession proof it seems. oldschoolbaby Sorry TSS, I`m not buying that Not only have levels of personal debt increased since 08/09, the financial institutions have also become more vigourous in chasing repayments. What is more this recession will be worse than previous ones. Unemployment is significantly higher than 09 and growing The final, and possibly most important factor, is public confidence. For the first time in a long time people are thinking long and hard, and are even fearful, of spending money If the figures for the 11/12 season bear any resemblance to the 08/09 figures in your link I will eat this laptop Jack Would just like to say that ticket prices mean everything to me, I live in Reading and am 16, it costs my over 50 quid for train then 36 quid on top of that! Compared to prices at reading which are a tenner for people my age its a FUCKING joke! fuck off bates Jack and would just like to say I am probably the most passionate leeds fan but I don’t have much money and I go to every away game where the prices are reasonably and don’t have the money to get the train to Leeds, pisses me off Colin Quick update from me – Phil Hay, Chief Football Writer at Yorkshire Evening Post, tweeted me earlier today. He told me that the average attendance is down by 4,000 and that the club have budgeted for an average attendance of 22,000, as they have for previous years also. My twitter name is cas707 if you fancy following me. There’s a few things I take from my tweet conversation with Phil Hay: 1) He shares the same concerns 2) He’s listening to what WE are talking about 3) He’s a proper journalist 4) He cares He’s talking tomorrow at the West Yorkshire Playhouse on a panel recorded for BBC Radio Leeds – I think you may be able to still get a seat. Alternatively, it’s going to be played on BBC Radio Leeds on Wednesday at 6pm. They’ll be discussing tonight’s BBC documentary, and the drop in attendances will be one item that he plans to discuss. Here’s the details: http://yfrog.com/oetdjuj @PhilHayYEPPhil Hay@cas707 stats show that the average attendance is down by 4k. With regards to tonight’s doc, I’ll be discussing it at BBC forum tomorrow Colin Just to correct myself – Phil didn’t guarantee he’d talk about attendances. It will probably come up, but I think the main aim of the show is to talk about ownership. Davidlwatkins I have seen lots written on various fans forums about the falling numbers at ER but I am not yet convinced it is anything more than a sign that some fan just can’t afford to come in these difficult times. If you look at the attendances from last year I think the key numbers are for the three games we played in late September to late October against PNE (sorry to mention that one!), Leicester City and Cardiff. The attendances for those were 22,727, 22,775, and 20,747. This year similar games are Palace (23,918), Bristol City (22,655) and Pompey (22,476). You can always pick holes in these figures (I know the Cardiff game last year was TV on a horrible Monday night for example) but until the season is almost over it is hard to reach any conclusion. For waht it’s worth I guess we will be marginally down on average for league games by the end of the season UNLESS we are challenging for promotion in which case I would bet the figures will start to rise sharply. matlockwhites we are victims of the worst so called stewards or i should say SS STORMTROOPER stewards’ who wants to go and see leeds utd and get hassled all the time by sum idoit who trys to tell the kop or southstand elland road to sit down every couple of min’s and stand in the gangways so we cant see’ i took my 11 year old against coventry sat in southstand and he felt more uneasy of the sss’s than the away fans they are killing the atmosphere and passion we are well known for . save money ken and get rid of sss’s and use the coppers with a video camera to watch the away fans Jeff Craven Even the die hard leeds fans are beggining to see the light. As your article says we are paying top 6 premier gate money to watch a team of free transfers and loan players. With ken bates latest dig at the fans (kop members and season tickets only) it looks like he would like the crowds to be even smaller! David Cooper My son and I were season ticket holders for 15 years travelling up from Sussex. This season I protested against lack of decent signings and was called a moron. This moron now saves his £200 each week and flies to watch real Madrid and Barcelona instead. Jeff Craven sad for the club and you as a leeds fan but good on you.