Manchester City fans get a hard time of it, don’t they? We’re not asking you to feel sorry for them, we’re just asking you to admit it.
There are plenty of fans around the country committed to worse teams than City, of course, but that wasn’t always the case. City were once pretty bad too.
They’ve gained a lot of new fans – not just in this country, but around the world – since 2008, and while that might still be baffling to those of us who remember Middlesbrough thrashing them 8-1 not all that long ago, they’re a real force in world football now. But a world force with a reputation for having shoddy fans, in this country at least.
Since that defeat at the Riverside on the final day of the 2007/08 season, a lot of change has taken place at what is now called the Etihad. Investors from Abu Dhabi took over and showed instantly that they were looking to make Manchester City a force in English football capable of competing with their neighbours.
Their first signing, Robinho, for a British record fee at the time, didn’t quite work out. But eight years later City have two Premier League titles in their cabinet, one of the best strikers in world football, and a team that when fully fit are capable of competing with anyone.
Yet, a question mark looms over their fans now that never used to back then. They’re labelled fickle and silent. They’re not really fans, but they do a wicked impression of a sky blue seat, don’t they? Well, research from MyVoucherCodes has dispelled that myth a bit. The majority of the Etihad is full every week, it would appear, with an average of 98.7% of the ground’s capacity filled at Premier League games this season.
For those trying to do the maths, it means there’s been an average of 693 empty seats at the Etihad for each game – 54,000 filled out of a capacity of 54,693. That’s a figure you’d argue, using the same (possibly twisted?) logic we stated above, would be much less flattering for Champions League games.
There are teams who can better that – notably West Ham, who top the list with the Boleyn being on average 99.8% full this season. Aston Villa, unsurprisingly, come out last. Their ground has been, on average, 81.4% full during 2015/16.
Tottenham, Leicester, Liverpool and Crystal Palace are teams you might have expected to rank higher than City in this list, but all of them sit below.
Teams who fill their grounds better than City include the likes of Norwich and Manchester United, who are second and third, as well as Arsenal, Chelsea and Stoke.
The league average is 95.9%, with seven clubs falling below that: Newcastle, Everton, Crystal Palace, Southampton, West Brom, Sunderland and Aston Villa.
But, having said that, the worst in the Premier League is still better than the second best in Seria A – where Frosinone regularly fill just 75.4% of their not even 10,000 seater stadium. England’s top division has higher averages than the Bundesliga, at 91.6%, La Liga, at 70.5%, and Seria A at 55.4%.