Martin Greig unpicks the football attendance debate
As a Queen of the South fan originally from Dumfries, and now a Bromley season ticket holder, I definitely concur! Very similar with Queens, a tight hardcore of support where success brings new supporters along for the ride. Queens, like Raith and Bromley, have always had a lot to compete with, Old Firm, Saturday Leagues, shopping, apathy. I remember going to away games on a half filled coach being passed by full coaches of fellow Doonhamers heading up to either one of the ugly sisters of Scottish fitba, waving and laughing at us. At school I was definitely in the minority as a Queens supporter! What is pleasing to see at Bromley is the local/
Community aspect of the club coming to the fore. This is what I love about Bromley, walking to the ground of my local club. Reminds me of walking to Palmerston. It is also pleasing to see a growing number of young Bromley supporters. My son is now a diehard Bromley fan and since we started going he hardly seems bothered by the PL anymore, his heroes are now the likes of Michael Cheek and Louis Dennis rather than some multi million pound signing in the PL. Encouraging pride in your local team and a new young generation of supporters is the key. I can see that Bromley have been working hard in this respect and whilst this won’t be an overnight revolution I think things are moving in the right direction. Winning promotion won’t hurt either of course and, I don’t want to jinx it, I’d say we are moving in the right direction there too! ‘Mon the South/Up The Brom! Cheers Graeme Ps I remember in 86/87. Queens were having a distinctly less than average season, we drew Raith at home in the Scottish cup. Raith were flying high in Div 2 at the time and I remember the amount of passionate fans you took, largest away support at Palmerston that season, bar maybe Kilmarnock or Dunfermline. Pps love the photaes!
Great write up, enjoyed that.
I was one of those who's been a bit disappointed by attendences this season, but last night's trip up to Dagenham really showed me that the cost of football, even at our level, is high.
£25 quid for the away ticket, £10~ on food and drink in the ground, then the best part of 20 quid on travel. All of a sudden a quick jaunt up to Dagenham turns into a £50 evening out.
Granted, away days are more expensive, but an afternoon at Hayes Lane isn't cheap, especially, as you've rightly pointed out, there's plenty to do in and around Bromley that's far cheaper.
Good analysis. Enjoyed reading that.
As Graham rightly points out, Scotland has the old firm which suck football fans out of many towns and away from their local sides. As an Ayr United fan I have seen this many times. We used to drink in a pub called the Prince of Wales near Somerset Park that was rammed at midday and by half past one it was about a quarter full as everyone else had left for Ibrox. Bromley of course had more successful London clubs nearby too but I don't think they have the same pull as the old firm seem to in Scotland.
I live in Crewe now and my lads follow The Alex. To be honest, their crowds aren't much bigger than Bromley's, yet go to Crewe station on a Saturday and you'll see countless locals off to watch the Liverpool and Manchester teams.
Regarding Borehamwood, when we were getting 300, they were getting 150. As much as Bromley are not a big or glamorous club, we've got history, which Borehamwood don't really have.
As someone who was priced out of living in Bromley when our crowds were still three figures, I find home games something of a surreal experience these days. As if I'm waiting for a bubble to burst and everything to go 'back to normal', but the reality is we've turned a corner in that regard. Great community engagement with both the kids setup and free tickets, as well as advertising around the town have worked wonders. Hook em young and you've got them for life. I can't fault the club in this. When I started going in 91 it was an insular drinking club for bitter old men who viewed anyone under the age of 40 as an irritant and, aside from a few notable exceptions like John Fiorini and Roy Oliver, they were not in any way friendly or welcoming to us. I usually only attend away games these days and it's great to see the same old faces, mixed with all the newer ones. Special shout out to the youngsters who travel the country getting behind the team, we saw how many Millwall, Charlton and Palace youth jumped on our bandwagon at Wembley - and it's great to see these young uns keeping it real and following the Bromley. I hope the upward trajectory continues, but even if it doesn't I think we've done enough to guarantee enough fans to see us through the next few generations, regardless of how we perform on the pitch.
I thought Saturdays attendance was disappointing. With Bromley on a good run playing (relatively) big name opposition and with perfect weather then all the stars were aligning towards their being a big crowd, say 3,500.
Maybe the fact that Oldham have been doing so badly at the moment was a key factor but I cant now see 3,500 turning up at for game except maybe Chesterfield in February if Bromley are still high flying at the time.
I have a Bromley season ticket but also a season ticket for Spurs, so I'm paid up, as it were, but go to Spurs if there's a 3.00 pm Saturday clash. This bears out the point made in the article - that there are other things to do - but also emphasises that attendance isn't the only measure of support and income, because I suspect I'm not the only season ticket holder who, for whatever reason, doesn't attend every match. As it's also noticeable that attendance is affected by the perceived quality of the opposition, here's probably further support there for the Sutton Utd increase also referred to. They're bottom of the table now (such a shame), so if they're relegated I assume their attendances will drop. So - yes - hang on to Andy, get us up and we should hit 3,000 at least.
Great article. Probably worth noting that Scotland has the highest number of people attending football matches every week per capita in the whole of Europe. You can’t put a price on the passion for the game up there.
Bromley were averaging 250 only 20 years ago, So to have ten times that now is some achievement.
There will always be the local Premier and Football League clubs who catch the eye of local kids, we are a lot of local people’s second team, which is why the club need to be careful with its ticket prices.
It costs the same to go to Gillingham as it does Bromley on the day.
The link with the community it vital.
My son is a Bromley fan and goes to every home game, but also supports Spurs as his Mum is from Tottenham. We simply can’t afford to take him to see them even if we could get tickets.
It’s going in the right direction at Bromley for sure and if we do step up to the FL things will have to improve off the pitch as the chaos at the Wrexham game in February proved.
Great stuff Martin. Thanks again for the article. I’ll Come and say hello one time Cheers Graeme