Date: 29th August 2006 at 12:50pm
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How big can we get?

I will be watching Aston Villa’s attendances with interest over the coming season, I’ve no doubt they will increase and we may even see a few full-houses. But I was disappointed with the number that went to see the Newcastle game.

I don’t think the Bank Holiday and train cancellations really had much to do with it. It got me thinking: just how big can the support for Villa become?

For me it boils down to statistics.

Birmingham is easily the second largest city in Britain with a population of nearly one million, and the West Midlands 2.3 million. Yet its biggest football team struggles to get 40000 through the turnstiles. This is even more remarkable if one considers that we are currently the only Premiership club for a hundred miles in any direction.

Glasgow, population less than 630,000, can service two huge teams with 50,000 fans. Against Reading Villa pulled in 37,000, respectable enough for a mid-week game, yet Manchester City, without having a great new manager to hail, and playing equally unglamorous opposition, also had over 37,000 that same evening. Man City are an interesting case since they are hugely supported, better than Villa I suspect (though I haven’t done research on that) despite having one of the biggest football teams on the planet as neighbours and despite having quite a number of Premiership clubs within spitting distance of them. The population of Manchester is only 437,000, although Greater Manchester is comparable to the West Midlands it has Bolton, Blackburn and Championship clubs to divide that area. Newcastle is has a population of a mere 250,000 but can rely on 50,000 fervent supporters packing St James’s Park.

What I am saying is that considering Villa’s history, our population pool, our accessible geographical position, our pathetic rival clubs, the support of Aston Villa is lamentably poor. Even having Doug as chairman for so long doesn’t quite explain it. On Tyneside they famously say that 30000 fans would turn out just to watch Shearer lace up his boots during training. Perhaps we are particularly demanding, perhaps we are fickle or perhaps we just aren’t football crazy in the West Midlands like they are in the North East or North West, which is no bad thing after-all. There are other things in life. But with the transfer deadline a few days away, I just can’t think of any at the moment.

Article by Saurat


33 Replies to “How Big Can Aston Villa Get?”

  • we have been hit hard in the west midlands area with unemployment especially in manufacturing which may contribute to many fans not being able to afford to go to every home game.

  • I think that over the last 5 – 6 years we have not had a lot to shout about and we have had a few false dawns. People wont fall for 2 wins and a draw the good times are back they want to consistency i.e. Villa Park a fortress and when away expecting at le

  • A good post Saurat, and a good question. I’m not convinced by the deemz theory as unemployment has affected all the major cities, and Villa is still a relatively cheap ground to visit (partic. North Stand). I suspect it is a lot to do with motivation. I t

  • Out attendancies will flutter between 35k and 43k this season, with new signings, O’Neill at the helm, a billionaire Chairman and some good results, attendancies will rise. Our only worry is televised games, and I can’t fault the fans for staying away, be

  • I think you really do have to take into account the “doug effect” just how many fans did he p**s **f so much that they vowed never to return in his reign, with the complete change of atmosphere at Villa (and what a change, a sea of smiling, cheering fans,

  • Good post Saurat. I believe that there are no excuses for the relatively low(but very noisy) turnout on Sunday. Infact there were 2000 less than for the same fixture last season. What I find particularly hard to phathom is where are all the fans who said

  • Villa have been starved of success since that unmentionable man came back in charge. As some of the above have stated, fans want to see a winning team, no matter which division we are in, not as there has been in the past a moderate team struggling again

  • This was sent to me by Michael Bakewell. On attendencies dont forget there were a few big nights around the country this weekend…………surely this lot had some impact ???
    Leeds festival
    Reading festival

  • I think its simple really, we are missing new signings. New signings give supporters hope and you want to go and see how good they are. Does anyone remember the atmosphere on Baros’s home debut… got everyone up for it. We cant be accused of not havi

  • Thank you all for your thoughtful and perceptive comments. May I repeat what I said on the forum thread: I do think marketing is a big issue. Last spring I was in the Merry Hill shopping complex trying to buy my 4-yr old son a Villa shirt, but there wasn’

  • Whilst agreeing with most of the above, there is another factor here. How big can the club grow? Why only think in terms of attendances. I went to the US Soccer Coaches Convention in the US in January. Over there they are beginning to get interested in th

  • waiting two hours to get out of the carpark dosnt help along with the major road works on the motorway.dont get me wrong these are not the only reason why the gate was down but it is a contributory factor…wednesday night was also like a monsoon,sunday w

  • its early days boys and i think if aston martin gets us playing some attractive footy then people will start to come back.i would imagine shirt sales will increase at the same time so people who cant always get to games(myself living in N.Ireland) will be

  • The fan base is there for sure, I’m sure we have one of the largest in the country. We have the whole of the west midlands to ourselves, but the club do not market very well outside of brum (thats if they do in brum).

    Getting people into villa park

  • if we were challenging for the top 4 i think we would sell out home matches, anything less around 35k.

  • A lot of people didn’t renew their season tickets, mainly due to DOL/HDE. I was one of them. Because of our rapid reversal of fortunes people will change their minds. But I would imagine most have already alloated their ST money to a holiday or towards so


  • Facts(1) – average attendance over last 4 seasons for home games over August Bank Holiday Weekend = 33,263. Max. was in 2004 after finishing 6th previous season. Attendance 36,305 against Newcastle.
    Facts(2) – approx 5% of supporters that had tickets wer

  • please tell me its true ” villa bid for Saviola” sky sports website. christ i don’t think i can take much more of this!!

  • Tevez?!?!?! WOOHOO!!! I’ve been talking about him today in a pureley fantasy kind of way! If we get him it wold be unbelievable!

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