THOSE who watch the turnstile click will have seen a roller-coaster start to the football season, in terms of attendances at our six local league grounds, writes Bob Westerdale.
All managements love to see a bumper attendance in their first home fixture of the season. But while the opening home date of half of our local clubs improved on the average gate of the previous season, half were worse off.
Sheffield Wednesday have enjoyed League One’s biggest attendance; 21,174 against Rochdale the Saturday before last. That was up on last term’s average of 17,817 although they still only filled 53 per cent of Hillsborough.
Doncaster Rovers’ attractive tie against West Ham United brought in 11,344 punters, more than 1,000 above last season’s average.
And Rotherham United welcomed 4,484 supporters to Don Valley for their opener, ahead of their 3, 667 average of 2010-11.
That’s the good news.
Predictably, perhaps, Sheffield United’s fall from the Championship saw them kick off ther League One campaign with 17,769 bums on seats against Brentford. That goes up against an average of 20,632 in the second flight.But on the other hand compared United’s figure Neil Warnock’s newly promoted Premier League side QPR - they were watched by just 15,195 in their 4-0 home battering by Bolton Wanderers.
Like the Blades, Barnsley, too, lost ground. Their 10,501 attendance for Saturday’s defeat by Southampton was about 1,300 fewer that last campaign’s average. And Chesterfield, celebrating their promotion to League 1, might have liked to have seen more than 5,836 for the draw with Stevenage - their average last season was 6,972.