Owls pip Canaries to top attendance spot

PUBLISHED: 07:40 25 May 2006 | UPDATED: 09:26 14 September 2010

CHRIS LAKEY

Fans at Sheffield Wednesday have been thanked by the club for their table-topping attendances this season - but if only they'd asked Norwich City they could have been celebrating a lot earlier.

Fans at Sheffield Wednesday have been thanked by the club for their table-topping attendances this season - but if only they'd asked Norwich City they could have been celebrating a lot earlier.

It all revolves around a typing error, which led to a Football League investigation - and an explanation from the very top.

Wednesday believed they were second to Norwich in the attendance table for the season but credited two “eagle-eyed” fans for pointing out that the Football League figures were based on an incorrect crowd figure for a Canaries match against Hull back in September.

While all of City's subsequent match day programmes record the crowd, correctly, as 24,470, the Football League stats had it as 27,470 - capacity is only just over 26,000.

After the League had turned to their calculators they realised that it meant Wednesday's crowd were on average 20 higher than City's - and were quick to issue a statement to that effect.

League spokesman John Nagle said: “We have looked into this further and it seems that there was an error with the attendance figure for the Norwich v Hull match on 27/09/05. The figure in our database for this match was 27,470. We have checked this with Norwich and the correct figure for the game should have been 24,470.

“This changes Norwich's aggregate figure for the season to 571,169 with an average of 24,833. The aggregate figure for Sheff Wed was 571,625 with an average of 24,853.”

However, as one web site quickly pointed out, Hillsborough has a capacity of 39,814 and their average attendance of 24,853 leaves 14,961 seats empty. Carrow Road can seat 26,034 which means there is on average 1,201 empty seats.

Author Richard Matthews on the Vital Football web site says: “And another figure? They sell just under 62pc of their tickets per home game, whereas Norwich City sell over 95pc. There might be more bums on seats per capita, but less per capacity.

“I would like to say well done to Wednesday fans for having the best numbers of supporters in the stands.”

If City fans do need consolation for the belated loss of their top spot, they know that a recent survey ranked the club as the 15th most popular in the UK - the second most popular outside the top flight after Leeds United.

Meanwhile, end-of-season figures show that Championship crowds rose for the eighth consecutive season with the aggregate of 9,719,264 - better than Italy's Serie A. An extra 197 supporters at each match produced an annual increase of one per cent and an average crowd of 17,607, the division's highest since 1951/52. Additionally, a total of 247 Championship matches drew crowds of more than 20,000.

t Norwich season ticket holders began checking out Carrow Road for new seats on Wednesday as the Movers and Shakers week got under way.

“Sometimes you have people who sometimes want to move their seat for whatever reasons and this is the best way to do it,” said director of sales and marketing Andrew Cullen.

The scheme ends next Wednesday and any season ticket holder wishing to change their seat can do so by contacting the ticket office, or calling 0870 444 1902.

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