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Under 40,000 for games at Stratford

Filed: Wednesday, 12th September 2018
By: Staff Writer

West Ham's official attendance figures have once again been called into question after a BBC survey revealed that the average attendance for a dozen matches in Stratford last season was less than 43,000.

Despite claiming that games are frequently sold out, the reality is that the Olympic Stadium contains thousands of empty seats at every match. However the BBC report is certain to raise eyebrows given the extent of the problem.

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For according to an FoI request to Newham Council, the average attendance figure at the stadium based on 12 matches attended by the organisation was just 42,779 - some 12,530 fewer than the club's average figure of 55,309 for last season.

And in one instance - the home match with West Bromwich Albion on 2 January this year - the actual attendance was less than 40,000, some 17,523 lower than the official attendance figure of 56,888.

Whilst West Ham are far from the only club to falsely boost its attendance figures - Arsenal, Manchester City and Tottenham, for example, were also guilty of this practice last season - United's figures provide the greatest discrepancy between those obtained by the BBC.

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Meanwhile the Football Supporter Federation described some Premier Leagues clubs' practise of falsely inflating attendance figures as "misleading".

"Quite often clubs or the authorities will refer to 'occupancy rates' in their arguments," a spokesperson told the BBC. "But they are often misleading according to the research and don't highlight how many fans stay away when matches are rescheduled for TV."

The news will no doubt cast further doubt over the decision to move to Stratford in 2016, given that West Ham were granted permission to extend the Boleyn Ground's capacity to 43,000 by Newham Council back in 2001.

Planning permission was granted for a 43k Boleyn Ground in 2001 - the average attendance of 12 games in Stratford last season, say the BBC

Examples of Tickets Sold v Actual Attendances 2017/18
* TS = tickets sold, AA = tickets used

1. 17,523: West Ham Utd v West Brom (TS 56,888, AA 39,365)
2. 15,277: Man City v Southampton (TS 53,407, AA 38,130)
3. 14,721: West Ham Utd v Arsenal (TS 56,921, AA 42,200)
4. 11,953: West Ham Utd v Chelsea (TS 56,953, AA 45,000)
5. 9,864: Man City v Bournemouth (TS 54,270, AA 44,406)
6. 9,349: Man City v Watford (TS 53,556, AA 44,207)
7. 8,687: Man City v Tottenham (TS 54,214, AA 45,527)
8. 8,686: Tottenham v Brighton (TS 55,124, AA 46,438)
9. 6,945: Southampton v Chelsea (TS 31,764, AA 24,819)
10. 6,345: Chelsea v Tottenham (TS 41,364, AA 35,019)

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