The Cost Of Living

Reading lists of of football attendances records can make for dispiriting reading. After reaching highs in the late 1940s and late 1960s, crowds at English football went into a tailspin that nearly killed the club game for good. During the 1982/83 season, Tony Gubba reported for “Football Focus” upon the malaise that was sweeping the game. Liverpool, the English champions and a club that would, the following season, become the European champions for the third time in seven years (indeed, the Liverpool team from the 1977-1984 period would be a not unreasonable call as the greatest European club team since the great Real Madrid side of the 1950s), confirmed that they were running at a loss. With entrance fees for the Kop at £2, the club could no longer rely upon gate receipts to cover their outgoings. Whichever way you looked at it, the figures were depressing, and when the twin disasters of Heysel and Bradford occurred in May 1985, at the end of a season of unprecedented hooliganism, they went into freefall. Here is a sample of the statistics of the time: – During the 1983/84 season, Everton’s average home attendance dropped by 4.6% to 19,343. – During the 1985/86 season, Spurs’ average home attendance dropped by 27.9% to 20,859. – During the 1987/88 season, four clubs had average home attendances of under 9,000. – During the 1986/86...

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