Date: 12th August 2012 at 7:17pm
Written by:
Sitting in the pub on Saturday evening, reflecting upon another disappointing result in the history of Aberdeen F.C., heads turned towards Sky Sports News which took great pleasure in displaying the weekend’s SPL attendances alongside the capacities of the respective grounds, topped with an oversized ‘Sell Out Saturday’ title.

Pittodrie’s official attendance of 14,010, though it appeared to be much larger in the ground, with the club now admitting the figure may have been incorrect, would put Saturday’s crowd at 63% of full capacity. This is indeed not a sell out. It is however 140% of the first home game of last season against St. Johnstone. In fact, you’d have to go back to 1994 to find a larger crowd for Aberdeen’s first home game of the season against neither Celtic or Rangers. The ‘never again’ season of 1994/1995 opened against Hearts which drew a crowd of 14,238. Indeed, a phrase we will never hear the end of in the online community of Aberdeen fans goes along the lines of ‘we never even used to sell out in the Fergie days’.

The stats from this weekend’s SPL fixtures read as follows:

Aberdeen vs. Ross County
Attendance: 14,010
Capacity: 22,199
Percentage: 63.11%

Dundee vs. St. Mirren
Attendance: 5,984
Capacity: 12,085
Percentage: 49.52%

Motherwell vs. St. Johnstone
Attendance: 4,490
Capacity: 13,742
Percentage: 32.67%

Inverness CT v Kilmarnock
Attendance: 3,012
Capacity: 7,753
Percentage: 38.85%

Hibernian vs. Hearts
Attendance: 12,887
Capacity: 20,421
Percentage: 63.11%

Although both the Aberdeen and Hibs games freakishly came out with exactly the same percentage of attendance, Aberdeen did in fact attract over 1000 more spectators. You can also take into consideration the opposition of the sides, with Aberdeen facing the newly promoted Ross County and Hibs facing their local rivals in the first derby game of the season. In the interests of fairness, the Edinburgh derby kicked off at 12:30 on a Sunday, something which should be barred the law, and was live on TV.

Elsewhere Motherwell attracted a crowd of 4,490 against St. Johnstone. While this reads very poorly compared to the club’s average home attendance of 5,946 last season, the fans of Motherwell’s wallets have taken a battering already this season. A Champions League tie against Panathinaikos attracted over 9000 spectators with tickets starting at £30. The club took a very respectable support to the away fixture and now face another European tie against Levante.

The crowd for Inverness’s fixture with Kilmarnock was as dire as it reads, although neither club’s set of fans were entirely active in supporting the Sell Out Saturday campaign.

And lastly, Dundee’s long awaited return to the SPL at Dens Park drew 5,984 fans, an increase of over 40% from the club’s average attendance last season.

Although none of this weekend’s fixtures were a sell out, for Aberdeen at least the campaign must be viewed as a success. Without the hype the fixture would have most likely seen a crowd of under 9,000. The 7,000 season tickets barrier was smashed the day before the game which should all but ensure the attendance for league fixtures this season never drops below last season’s average of 8,770.

Winter will see crowds drop. The run-in to the split will see an increase. The performance on the park will determine all crowds in between.

The club will continue to bring a massive following to opposition grounds, outnumber the home fans at Tannadice and if ‘that’ fixture pops up in the cup competitions, outsing the home fans in Glasgow.

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