Very well known Exeweb poster
- Feb 11, 2005
- In RaWZ we trust....Amen.
Thanks for that Log & of course eurogrecian.Here's the article. I've had to play with the formatting so apologies if it comes out a bit wonky. I'll leave it here as i wasn't sure where to put it on the Memories forum but feel free to move it:
Gazing over the heaving masses at the Anfield Road end during our Cup replay with Liverpool led me to look into the other great City migrations over the years. I took 2,000 travelling fans as a starting point and expected some key games from the distant past to feature comfortably. The promotion party at Lincoln in 1990? No, only 1,500 there, although admittedly this was according to the Express & Error. The “last ever” City game at Northampton in 1995? No, just over a 1,000 City there according to the Northampton Chronicle on the following Monday. Funny how the memory plays tricks on you.
So what were the biggest turnouts of City fans on tour? Well, comfortably out in front was our first appearance at Wembley in the play-off final in May 2007: 30,000 fans – or maybe I should say 30,000 people bought tickets in the City end. The combination of circumstances means that we will surely never see a City away following like that again. The play-off final the following year bought
rather fewer tourists, with 19,650 City there.
After that we come to the Cup games against the First Division/Premiershit teams. The top one, of course, is the Manchester United game that saved the club in 2005. I’ve found two figures quoted here: 12,000 and 9,000. Either way, it stays at the number three spot. After that comes a series of other Cup games against showbiz opponents:
7 Mar 1981 Tottenham (FAC6) 7,500
20 Jan 2016 Liverpool (FAC3R) 6,400
4 Jan 2003 Charlton (FAC3) 3,000
30 Oct 1979 Liverpool (LC4) 3,000
It’s only in 8th place that we get to get our first League games, all famous occasions for one reason or another:
2 May 2009 Rotherham United (L2) 2,454
11 Dec 2010 Plymouth Argyle (L1) 2,230
8 Aug 2008 Leeds United (L1) 2,108
What surprised me was that for some of the mega Cup games of yesteryear, the City turnout was actually pretty modest by today’s standards:
5 Jan 1986 Everton (FAC3) 2,000
21 Dec 1999 Everton (FAC3R) 2,000
14 Feb 1981 Newcastle (FAC5) 2,000
For a couple of other games (Liverpool for the League Cup 2nd round 1st leg and Leicester City in the FA Cup 4th round, both in 1981), I couldn’t find stats for the City following. However, the total crowds for these games were 11,478 and 15,268 respectively and as I recall the City following was noisy at both, but certainly did not appear big in relation to the home support. I doubt that either of those topped the 2,000 mark.
Perhaps I missed off a few games, but it does seem that improvements in travel logistics, increased disposable income and the availability of the internet to buy tickets and make arrangements all seem to have conspired to make City on tour outings bigger affairs these days than they were in the past.
I’ve attended most of the above games myself and it certainly was impressive to see such an army on the march. The stadiums are often magnificent and there is a sense of occasion but, speaking personally, give me a thousand hardcore City fans at Crawley or Pompey any day!
Note: * All figures are based on contemporary press clippings or records kept at the time from official sources.
If I could add my tuppence worth to the excellent article.
The games at mentioned in the 1980s(and Liverpool ‘79) were of course in a era of you could guarantee a load of aggro if you were not careful or just unlucky to get caught up in it,which would have discouraged quite a few people from attending(especially fans with children)
The recent game at Anfield(2016) sold out very quickly & was attended by all & sundry because it is a pretty safe venue & city compared to those the days of the 1980s.
Times had changed & the product of football is a more sellable safe commodity these days.