Last night’s defeat to Hull City gave us our first opportunity to compare like-for-like attendances this season and see what effect a summer of discontent has had on our gate numbers.

Since promotion from League One, every Elland Road fixture between Leeds United and Hull City has been played on a Tuesday night, early in the calendar and in a congested run of fixtures. With the variable nature of the fixture list, the circumstances for comparison couldn’t be more similar.

The numbers show a clear and undeniable trend in falling attendances, impossible to dismiss by the usual excuses of ticket prices (they were cheaper this season than last), schedule (first half of season and same day) and fixture congestion (this game came at the end of three home fixtures in seven days last season).

  • 2010/11 – 24,986 (Tuesday, November 9th 2010)
  • 2011/12 – 22,363 (Tuesday, August 16th 2011)
  • 2012/13 – 19,750 (Tuesday, September 18th 2012)

The evidence shows that in less than two years, Leeds United have “lost” more than 5,000 fans. Assuming an average ticket price of £25, that’s £125,000 lost on this game alone. If that trend continues throughout the season, Leeds United will be down almost £3m on 2010/11’s gate receipts.

Falling attendances is something we’ve covered numerous times before, but it’s a worrying trend that most fans would blame on Ken Bates’ controversial reign as Leeds United chairman. Talk of boycotting games has been a common theme on internet messageboards and social networks over the last couple of years, and the figures suggest plenty of fans have followed through with their threats.

With the majority of Leeds United’s income coming from gate receipts, and accounts that show the club is only profitable due to player sales, you have to question how sustainable Ken Bates’ reign is? Despite lower ticket prices for the Hull City fixture this season, the trend of falling attendances would appear to be irreversible while ever Bates remains chairman of Leeds United Football Club.

31 Responses

  1. deano

    Some of the biggest businesses have gone to the wall thanks to their chairman. when Gerald Ratner said the jewellery his stores sold was crap just look what happened there. when Ken Bates called the people who line his pockets Morons then the same will happen here. it will go down in history. Bates out

    • bd

      exactly, more fans should know the story of Gerald Ratner and then will understand why their is only one way this is going to go for Bates. (could you imagines if Richard Branson called his customers morons he would lose millions in a matter of weeks)

  2. mattbb2

    been trying to get hold of a copy of the script for `the lambs of sheepfoot lane’ where bates slated oldham fans – anyone know where i can get it?

  3. Daz dewsbury

    Never missed a game in league 1 but since bates tookever i’ve seen my club pillaged by this criminal!!! Won’t go till he’s gone!!!!

  4. reddo

    The day no-one goes is the day Bates will. If he’s a businessman I’ll stand the drop of Yorkshire.

  5. pete

    Missed last night game due to work but will be there saterday and every game I can after that we don’t have a lot of funds as it is so falling gates wonte help the matter.

    • Chareose

      yes mate stick your head in the sand and then open your eyes in another 8 years time, things could be better by then….. Problem ?? What problem…….? Marching on together into obscurity….

      • Irving08

        I too shall be going and for similar reasons to Pete.
        A boycott may have made sense a few years ago, but what is the point now, when Bates openly admits the need for investment/new owners to take us to the ‘next level’, and is apparently in negotiations with same ? He obviously wants out and the best thing we can do is to get behind the team and leave our 101 reasons for hating Bates at home. Pushing the club into administration is a defensible strategy for getting rid of him, but it’s a risky one, with no guaranteed happy ending. My bottom line is that there are some promising young players out there and I want to give them my support.

      • Chareose

        Its the drop in attendances and loss of finances that has forced Ken Bates hand in the first place so if all the leeds fans had followed your argument Kens ship would be happily sailing on…… Luckily thousands did stop attending !!

    • Matthew

      Doesn’t matter how many people go to ER. Could be 15k, could be 34k, Bates simply does not invest in the squad. Proven by only 14 mill wage bill, out of 32 mill income last season for example.

      • mrbigwheels

        And Matthew… that level of wage budget/bill is not planned this year either. Bates will have anticipated a reduced gate income and hence his thrifty approach of recent months on everything. Falling gate income will have an effect on cash flow but I do not think, say…an accumulative £3.5million shortfall in income will hit the club until feb/march and there is infact a possibility that Leeds are not as short of cash at the moment as some opinion make out… But you are right. Bates does not invest in the squad… ”Waster”.

  6. Neil Lamps

    How can it be lower prices ? As a Hull fan paying £34 to watch a below average Championship side in a tatty ground is scandalous. Hull would have brought another 1000 but declined as they preferred not to be ripped off. £6 parking and most expensive programme in the league. You have my sympathy lads !

    • Kens Cash Cow

      Category A game last season! Thats £36 even in that tatty West Stand with no reductions for kids!!!

    • Irving08

      You can park for nothing on the roads at the Gelderd end. The ground may not be the smartest everywhere, but at least it’s not identikit newbuild. It’s the most expensive programme because it’s the best one. Still you have my sympathy on ticket prices.

  7. mrbigwheels

    Thanks for the analysis TSS. An additional point is what effect a selective match boycott by the supporter may well have over the season on home games. Crowds of 15000-22000?. Is it just a tuesday thing or will the real measure be the saturday match?.

    I have the view that fans are becoming very divided on what stance to take but there is by no means, even at this point, a majority who would walk away in an effort to protest against Bates… over the next three months, when what is needed is a far better organised PR excercise aimed specifically at the none LUST and LUFC blog site members/users.

    SURELY IT’S ABOUT TIME THE ATTENDING FANS HAD THEIR OWN MATCHDAY PROGRAMME, instead of being fed the bullshit ramblings of a very cash strapped, backed into a corner, confusing and unworthy despotic owner of LUFC.

  8. NDG

    The Old Bearded Bastard must be starting to be hurt where it matters, these stats do not lie, i was there and will continue to attend but like all around me have not spent a penny inside Elland Road for 2 seasons now and will not until he goes or dies.
    Good to see Warnock praising the crowd for their support despite the longest and loudest chants of the night being BATES OUT !

  9. igiveup

    Its the next generation of fans that Leeds are losing. I took my son regularly between 2007 & 2011 (he was aged 8-12 at the time) but now we simply cant be arsed to pay Prem prices for Lge 1 standard football at a ground with no atmosphere. I no longer am a Leeds United supporter I am simply a fan who now just keeps an eye out for their result. Sad innit? That Chelsea bastard HAS ruined our club. PS isn’t it ironic that away fans prefer not to be ripped off and simply stay at home, good on yer I say

  10. Nootingham Whites

    I will never set foot in ER again until Bates has gone !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Total mess

  11. anythinggoeshere

    I cannot begin to understand the idiots who continue to boycott games, do they honestly want to see the end of the club altogether? There are plenty of people out there in the football world who would welcome the destruction of leeds united, if we went into administration again there might not be anyone left to save us

      • reddo

        Some people just dont take any notice, the guy has an apt name anythingoeshere, yep thats right.

  12. Kevin Scorah

    Regardless of the Bates issue, can anyone shed some light on why we are probably the worst midweek club since Brian Potter hosted Talent Trek at the Phoenix.
    3 wins from 22 matches apparently.
    “It’s a giant cock and balls Gerry!”

    • TSS

      It’s because we have no depth. Without the ability to rotate, even the fittest squads will struggle with the congested Championship schedule. Austin said he was feeling a bit stiff following Cardiff game, he’ll be next on injury list at this rate.


    To boycott or not to boycott…well there is no right or wrong its as simple as that. Leeds fans should not be slagging others for taking the opposite view to themselves,its down to the individual. Personally I am boycotting until Bates as gone after supporting the team for 40 years . That is my right and I will be back like a shot when he is gone for good and not before. BATES OUT !

  14. Dennis

    Don’t forget that we almost got to the Premiership with an average attendance of just 22k in 2006, so the pathetic gates at Elland Road are hardly anything new and they coincide with Bates’ arrival. We averaged nearly 30k finishing mid-table the year before, more than Sunderland and West Ham who were both promoted, but once Bates got the chance to jack up prices we lost 8,000 overnight. I’ve only bought one ticket for Elland Road since that time, giving up my season ticket of 17 years, and it’s the best thing I’ve done. I support my club away from home, but the idea of sitting in a half empty Elland Road for the last 7 years, sat next to the bland middle classes and mugs Bates preys on, makes me feel sick. Those of us with an ounce of pride and self respect refused to line Bates’ pockets a long time ago, and that the club is suffering now is down to the idiots who blindly and gladly pay his extortionate prices because they know he’ll pat them on the head in his programme notes and tell them they’re ‘loyal’. This commodified ‘loyalty’ has cost the club a generation of fans, there are kids out there who have never had the opportunity to follow their local club because of these ‘fans’ who endorse a policy where kids in Leeds are charged 300% more than the divisional average for a season ticket. In a way, I don’t even blame Bates, he’s exploiting idiots and making a mint, it’s the mugs who have allowed and encouraged him to do this who I blame. We used to be a big club, now we’re worse supported at home than Brighton. A small time club with small time fans. “If Bates tried this in Newcastle, Manchetser, Liverpool etc. he’d be lynched, our pathetic lot shower him with cute nicknames, says it all.


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