Very good turnout for the last three home matches
The average attendance at St James Park is now almost exactly in line with our predictions made last June, following very good turnouts in the last three games.
In the Crewe programme the gates committee noted that we expected the attendance against Wycombe Wanderers to suffer from the well-known postponement/midweek effect. In the event the game generated a surprisingly healthy gate, the best home midweek attendance for some time.
The total of 3,656 included 148 from Wycombe. That was 100 down but reasonable for a long trek down to Exeter on a Tuesday night. However, there were 3,508 City fans, which was more than expected for the Saturday fixture. That meant overall the gate was 73 better than we had predicted in the close season.
Then on the following Saturday against Crewe a very pleasing 4,534 turned out to be entertained by a resounding City win. A total of 206 Crewe supporters against the predicted 267 reflected their poor run, but 4,328 Exeter fans was 861 more than our guess last summer. It just shows the potential if we can keep up the performances and league position as the overall gate was the second best of the season.
Last Saturday we expected fewer than this after the disappointment at Home Park and the midweek draw at Notts County, but the attendance for Stevenage of 4,124 (3,979 and 145 away) was still 641 better than the prediction. This was made up of 629 more City supporters and 12 more Stevenage fans, the first time the away contingent has been better than forecast since the Doncaster Rovers game back in mid-November.
Overall, then, after 15 home games a total attendance of 59,183 have been recorded at St James Park. This is 53,492 in the home sections and 5,691 away. Average attendance is therefore 3,946. This is made up of 3,566 home and 379 away. This is only 12 more home fans and one less away supporter than we predicted.
For the season, the lowest home crowd so far is the 2,660 for the Tuesday night game in August against Crawley. That was when both home and away contingents were rock bottom. Best away support has unsurprisingly been Argyle followed by Portsmouth. The best home gate is Argyle followed by Crewe and Orient.
The worst variances in home support were in the first three matches during the holiday period, something we will need to bear in mind, though the last six games have all been above expectations. Best away turnout variance was Grimsby, where nearly 100 more of their fans than we expected turned up, and of course Argyle and Portsmouth when the decision to make more tickets for away fans available was vindicated. The most disappointing away contingent was Orient as we expected them to be chasing promotion, not facing the drop.
Our next report will be prior to the Yeovil Town match on March 25
The Gates Committee