Aston Villa owner Tony Xia dreams of the day that his club have as many fans as Newcastle United.
Villa have always had one of the most fickle fanbases in the Premier League and gates fell below thirty thousand last season.
When times are good though they can pull in over forty thousand supporters, though even on a match to match basis their crowds can wildly fluctuate, often depending on who the opposition is.
On 15 July 2016 Newcastle United announced:
‘Season ticket sales at Newcastle United have soared past last season’s total – with the first league game at St. James’ Park still a full month away.
Despite relegation to the Sky Bet Championship, more than 33,000 supporters have already renewed or purchased a season ticket, which secures a seat at all 23 of the Magpies’ home league fixtures during the 2016/17 campaign.’
It is fair to assume that this figure must be well in excess of 35,000 now, after further signings and enthusiasm for the new season being so obvious.
Asked by a Villa fan about how many season tickets the club had sold, Tony Xia replied:
“Close to 20K, which is far behind Newcastle’s 33K. I really hope we can fully refill Villa Park again!!”
It looks like poor Tony Xia has a long long way to go, with the Aston Villa fans failing to respond to the positive new owner and deserting the club on relegation.
It gets worse for Tony Xia and Villa when you also take into consideration the third relegated club.
Over three months ago back in March, Norwich City confirmed:
‘19,639 non-corporate season ticket holders have been sold.’
This was of course some time ago and at a time with relegation looking a near certainty.
Norwich City are pretty much the total opposite of the Villa support, the Canaries might not have the largest fanbase to draw from but like Newcastle’s they are very loyal.
In recent times they have had a yoyo existence between the Championship and Premier League but looking at average attendances, it is clear that whatever league they end up in, the Norwich fans stick with them.
Last season in the Premier League they averaged more or less a full capacity 26,972, yet the previous year (2014/15) the average home crowds were 26,367, only 600 less.
Safe to say based on that previous history and having 20k season tickets sold by March, Carrow Road will once again be full pretty much every match.
It remains to be seen just how high Newcastle’s crowds can go but every confidence they can beat the near 44k average of the last (2009/10) Championship season.
As for Aston Villa? Based on their past experience, if the team don’t get off to a decent start then we can expect a half empty Villa Park, not quite living up to the dreams of poor Tony Xia…