A look at City’s lowest-ever crowds after setting a new record v Man City U21s

For only the third time in the club’s ENTIRE 115-year history, Bradford City attracted a crowd smaller than 1,000 for a professional, competitive fixture against Manchester City’s under-21s in September 2019.

It’s a stat which underlines the popularity – or lack of – of the Football League Trophy since Premier League Academy sides were allowed into the competition more than anything – not least because all three crowds came in the revamped competition.

The 868 which watched City beat Pep Guardiola’s under-21s side on penalties fractionally beats the 902 and 931 which attended games  against Everton’s under-21s and Rotherham respectively in the same competition. So with a new record officially set, here’s a closer look at City’s lowest-ever crowds – in both league and all competitions.

City’s lowest-ever crowds: all competitions

The attitude towards cup competitions have shifted almost 180 degrees over the last generation or so. When City were struggling in the 1960s and 70s at the foot of Division Four, they would attract small league crowds but much bigger crowds for cup games. Evidence of that is in 1972-73, when a low of 1,628 watched City play Newport – before a couple of months later, 14,205 attended an FA Cup tie at home to Blackpool.

These days, however, it’s cup competition which attracts the lowest crowds – and almost all of City’s all-time lowest gates come in non-league competition.

868 v Man City U21s (24 September 2019, FL Trophy)
902 v Everton U21s (25 September 2018, FL Trophy)

931 v Rotherham (7 November 2017, FL Trophy)
1,015 v Oldham (9 October 2018, FL Trophy)
1,036 v Oldham (5 December 2017, FL Trophy)
1,249 v Hereford United (15 May 1981, Division Four)
1,287 v Carlisle United (17 October 1995, FL Trophy)
1,353 v Wrexham (12 May 1966, Division Four)
1,360 v Cambridge United (7 December 2016, FL Trophy)

City’s lowest-ever crowds: league

Mercifully, the story is slightly cheerier in league competition: but only slightly. City have never attracted a crowd of fewer than 1,000 for a regular-season league game, but they only scraped over that on a few occasions during the nadir of their time at the foot of the Football League.

In fact, some of City’s smallest crowds came in the seasons when they finished 23rd in Division Four, and were forced to apply for re-election to the league. That happened twice; in 1962-63 and 65-66.

1,249 v Hereford United (15 May 1981, Division Four)
1,353 v Wrexham (12 May 1966, Division Four)
1,628 v Newport County (11 October 1972, Division Four)
1,676 v Newport County (3 May 1976, Division Four)
1,697 v Northampton Town (23 April 1975, Division Four)

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