Category Archives: Attendance Stats/Record

How City’s attendance stats for the 2018-19 season stack up with history

It’s been a year to forget on the field for Bradford City, statistically – and in every other sense too – one of the worst in living memory.

But City’s average attendance throughout the course of what has been a disastrous campaign has held fairly strong. Yes, season ticket holders go a long way to contributing to that figure, but given how the club sold fewer than 14,000+ season tickets this season, one has to assume that a large portion of our average attendance comes from walk-up crowds – both at home and away.

Since City were last relegated to League Two in 2007 seems an appropriate, and somewhat ironic, period of time to use to work out where City’s attendances stand at the moment. Here is how City’s crowd stats stack up alongside our recent history.

The 2018-19 stats

  • City averaged an attendance of 16,140 across the season in the league – and the highest and lowest totals in that figure were little over a fortnight apart.
  • The highest crowd at Valley Parade was against Sunderland on October 6th, 2018. 19,487 were there.
  • The lowest: 11,075 against Coventry just 17 days after that Sunderland game.
  • It is also worth noting that City recorded the lowest-ever crowd for a professional game in the club’s history: when 902 attended the Football League Trophy match against Everton U21s. A closer look at City’s lowest-ever crowds can be seen by clicking here.

12-month comparison

That average figure of 16,140 is also a significant drop from the previous three seasons, when City consistently recorded average crowds above 18,000. In fact, the 2017-18 total was as high as 19,787: making this season’s figure a drop of 18.43%.

Comparison with recent history

While this season’s average is a drop on the more recent years, it is still significantly stronger than the majority of the crowds across the past decade.

If you go back just over a decade, to the 2007-08 season – City’s first in League Two – crowds were averaging just shy of 14,000. The longer City stayed in the fourth-tier, the lower the crowds went: with the average falling in every single one of the six seasons City remained in the bottom division of the Football League:

  • 12-13: 10,322,

  • 11-12: 10,608

  • 10-11: 11,128
  • 09-10: 11,453
  • 08-09: 12,704
  • 07-08: 13,735

That is no doubt a cautionary statistic to those in charge of the club now, as City prepare for a return to League Two this summer.

However, even while City’s first two seasons back in League One under Phil Parkinson saw crowds increase to around the 14,000 mark again, it is interesting to note that this season’s figures are still much higher, despite the poor form.

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)