Atmosphere at London Stadium: Explainer

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Sean Whetstone’s enlightening piece ( C and H 29 June) spotlighting the 16% difference between ‘claimed’ attendances at London Stadium, and the ‘actual’ figures reported – some 195,000 fewer bums on seats than publicised- goes some way to explaining the lack of atmosphere bemoaned by many of the detractors of the ground in the old Olympic Park.

On some occasions, there were 15,000 and at least once over 20,000 fewer fans attending games than were claimed: Little wonder then, that with the ground 30% empty that the atmosphere was lacking. 

But I don’t think this tells the whole story: I suspect there is another piece to this jigsaw which we might not be able to uncover. Highlight.. Yes. I wonder if we can obtain figures for numbers of season tickets re-listed and subsequently sold on via the club cash system, ignoring- for the time being – the claims of many season ticket holders that the club upsells ‘relisted’ seats for big profits but keeps the extra for themselves particularly in top-category games.

The games with the lowest attendances were probably those least appealing fixtures – with the highest number of ‘re-lists’ of seats on the club cash scheme. So, increasing numbers of ‘neutrals’, ‘tourists’ or ‘first-timers’ would presumably have had the opportunity to visit LS for the first time. A double whammy, then, of low numbers of season ticket holders plus higher proportion of ‘not bothered’ amongst those who did attend.

We all know on big nights the stadium DOES have a stunning, ferocious atmosphere: Attending the home leg of this years Europa League quarter final I found the difference staggering: That was like the days of old, rose tinted glasses or not.

The nearly 200,000 fewer attendees stated in Sean’s report, combined with my ‘theory’ of higher numbers of non-vocal visitors on the same occasions ( most of whom probably left at 75-80 minutes too) would absolutely create the timid, lacking atmosphere we’ve all complained about from time to time. And I just don’t see how you can blame the Stadium for that. Many of us found it a hard ‘watch’ last year but I have resisted the opportunity to blame the Manager or the style of play alone. This problem has been going on for years and pre-dates Moyes. I suspect both the issues highlighted above do too. 

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Like everyone else, lifelong WHU fan and season ticket holder in old BMU stand at Upton Park from 2003. Billy Bonds these days with my adult son and impatiently waiting for my Grandson to be old enough to initiate him before his mum grabs him for Man U. All opinions are my own very biased ones.


  • Billy says:

    Club needs to take away season ticket of those who leave their seats empty. I don’t care if club gets paid twice from tickets put on ticket exchange. The more revenue the better the players we can buy. I’m fed up with all the empty seats. It does nothing for the atmosphere. Especially after you factor in the tourists, the popcorn munchers, the neutrals and those that probably support the opposition team but are keeping quiet.

    • _rhinoxious_ says:

      I think they stated they were going to be do this. Though no announcement yet if they actually have. Can’t see them shouting about it too loudly.

  • Peter says:

    I live in the USA now but used to go to soccer games all over the country from Anfield to Grimsby to Highbury to Fratton Park. As a West Ham supporter since the halcyon days of the 60’s I loved the Boleyn ground (especially when Moore, Peters, and Hurst were playing). In the last decade I took my wife there 3 times on trips back to the UK and once again I loved the atmosphere and the closeness to the pitch, as did she. A couple of years ago we went to London Stadium to watch ants skuttle around the field far below. We will not go again. Frankly, this is the worst soccer stadium I have ever experienced in my 50 years watching football. Last time in the UK we went to the Amex instead and enjoyed the atmosphere (and became one of the mocked tourists in the comments above who were not supporters). For the uninformed isolationists, not all tourists are ignorant of the game. I love to watch football but also want the experience of feeling part of the event. COYI.

    • Martin Treasure says:

      Sorry, did not mean to mock. My son and I started at Upton Park in 2003 the very same way, buying up some unwanted seats for the day.
      Have witnessed a large number of ‘visitors’ to LS who arrive late, talk amongst themselves and leave at half time after taking 25 selfies. Should have been more specific. Amex is great, Loftus Road years ago was best IMHO, bouncing and QPR support didn’t stop for full 90 mins even though they lost. MT

      • Simon Barham says:

        I’ve attended a Roma game at Stadio Olimpico in Rome .. That ground still has the full running track, but the atmosphere was brilliant for a bog standard Serie A midweek fixture .. To me, that’s because it’s all one tier and the roof comes straight across, which traps in the noise .. Our stadium has 2 tiers and a roof that goes upwards to make room to keep the floodlights from the 2012 Olympics .. This leaves a disjointed crowd and a roof that lets the noise escape .. Only hope, to me, is a Luzhniki type reconstruction which would cost a fortune ..

      • Peter says:

        Thanks for recognizing that fans come in many shapes and sizes. I am sorry I never went to QPR. Once when I was visiting Liverpool (early 80’s) a friend took me to see Wigan play on a foggy Wednesday night. Then the ground was small and we moved from the terraces at one end of the ground to the other end at half-time. The football was not great but we were part of the experience because we were so close to the pitch and folks were friendly. Later that week we went to Anfield to see Liverpool play Birmingham (when there were terraces) and we had the temerity to stand in the KOP. We had to pick our feet up and move with the crowd as they surged forwards when the Reds scored. Everyone was kind and helpful when they knew we were visitors. Two very different experiences but memorable because we were part of what was happening. COYI.

        • Martin Treasure says:

          Yes indeed, those ‘swept along with the crowd’ moments – scary as an 8 year old at my first match (White Hart Lane aaaah) but exciting as an adult. Bit different to the experience – anywhere – today.

  • C.M says:

    Go to the Carpenters Arms on a match day… Fans from Belgium Slovakia sweden and all around the world as well as from all over the UK. That’s including Ireland , Scotland Leeds Liverpool in the north as well as Devon and Cornwall. Put us all in the same block and see a difference in atmosphere.

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