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Real Arsenal attendances v Newcastle and Sunderland revealed under freedom of information

6 years ago

The real Arsenal attendance figures for last season have now been revealed.

After a request under the freedom of information laws, the Metropolitan Police provided the numbers of actual fans who attended matches at the Emirates in the 2014/15 season, rather than simply number of tickets sold.

Pretty much every Premier League game, Arsenal claim to have sold the stadium out, only for TV audiences to often see many empty seats.

Arsenal publish their attendance numbers based on tickets sold, rather than the actual number of people turning up for matches, meaning that season ticket holders count even if they stay at home, as do match by match ticket holders if they end up not showing.

These are the figures for all the Premier League matches at the Emirates, showing tickets sold and number of people who actually showed up (table compiled by The Mail:

As you can see, there were two matches last season when over five thousand Arsenal ‘fans’ decided not to bother going to the match despite having already paid a minimum of £64 for the privilege.

These two games were against Sunderland and Swansea City, with Swansea beating Sunderland by two as the least attractive.

However, that Sunderland match sums up how spoilt so many Arsenal fans are, that game in May was the one that guaranteed Arsenal would finish third, despite drawing, meaning they automatically went into the Champions League group stage this season (not that it has done them much good so far…).

Ironically, Newcastle’s match at the Emirates last season was one of three where there was actually MORE people in the stadium than the official figure Arsenal released of tickets sold. That anomaly showing there were 51 extra people in the stadium that hadn’t been accounted for via ticket sales.

It is a peculiar problem having thousands of people paying for tickets but then not bothering going to games. Manchester United are the other club who have been highlighted as having a similar issue to Arsenal’s with tickets sold v numbers who actually turn up.

Not a financial problem but a moral one I would say, with Arsenal’s demographic meaning their average fan is a lot wealthier than many club’s average supporter, many are happy to pay and leave their seat empty when there are thousands and thousands who would love to go but can’t afford a ticket at Arsenal’s ridiculous prices.

In fact the problem could be far worse if it wasn’t for an exchange scheme Arsenal run, which allowed over 70,000 tickets to be recycled last year rather than be wasted.

An Arsenal spokesman:

“We are clear in all our communication that the attendance figures we announce reflect the number of tickets sold. This is in line with most sports stadia.

“As a club, we want a full stadium and work hard to ensure this happens through our Ticket Transfer and Ticket Exchange services.

“This allows fans who have tickets but can’t get to games to offer them to other supporters. Last season approximately 70,000 tickets were exchanged through this system.”

It would also be interesting to see how Newcastle United ‘s figures add up, especially for the matches towards the end of last season when supporters were boycotting.

Especially the Spurs one when Newcastle declared a 47,427 attendance but supporters speculating it could have been anything up to ten thousand below that figure in terms of how many were actually there.


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