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ATTENDANCES: Manchester United vs Manchester City – The city is ours

City fans claim that Manchester is blue and that the only reason why we have more fans these days is because of the glory supporters that have latched on to the club since our period of dominance which started with the days of the Premier League and Sky Sports.

This is a myth.

Manchester United have been a better supported club than our local rivals since World War II and the stats below can prove it. Now, even as champions, City struggle to sell out all their games. Their fixtures in the European Cup, a competition they’ve waited decades to compete in, have also failed to draw in a full crowd.

If you aren’t interested in looking at every season between 1946 and the present day, as shown below, here’s a summary of the support of the two Manchester clubs.

United have had a higher average attendance than City EVERY SINGLE SEASON since 1947.
Mancunians have been filling Old Trafford for decades and more Mancunians have been watching United than City for decades too. There’s no denying that now our home games have a much more diverse crowd but the fact that long before Sky Sports and the Premier League, before out of town supporters made the journey to Manchester, we have been drawing in larger crowds, disproves the claim that our city is blue. Are we to believe that our larger Mancunian fanbase disappeared once the success came? That Mancunians swapped United for City when we started winning trophies and they started getting relegated in the 90s? Completely illogical.

When City won the league in the 1968, they had the 6th highest attendance in the country. United had the highest average attendance of 57,552, more than 10,000 higher than any club that season, and 20,329 more than City.
Even when City were offering comparable “glory” for the fans (they were crowned champions of England, we were crowned champions of Europe), their weekly attendances were nowhere near that of United’s.

When United were playing in Division 2 during the 1974-1975 season, they still had the highest average attendance of any club in the country, including those in Division 1.
City finished 8th in Division 1 that season yet United still had an average attendance of 15,491 more than City. United weren’t offering their fans any glory from the second tier of English football. Throughout the 70s, City were a more successful club on the pitch than United, yet there was a difference of over 13,000 in our average attendances, with United the best supported club of the decade. City played in Division 2 ten years earlier and had the 34th highest attendance in the country.

Between 1946 and 1949 United played at Maine Road whilst reconstruction work was being done on Old Trafford after the bombings in the war, yet still more fans came to watch United.
In the first season, when City won the league, United had an average attendance of 4,662 more than City at their own stadium. In the second season, United had an average attendance of 12,165 more than City at their own stadium. In the third season, United had an average attendance of 10,109 more than City at their own stadium.

In the ten years between 1947 and the year before the Munich Air Disaster, there was an average of almost 7,000 more United fans attending games than City.
As well as the false claim we only have more fan because of the glory days starting in the 90s, some City fans claim the outpouring of sympathy from the country following the Munich Air Disaster also meant we had more fans. For ten years before Munich we still had considerably more supporters than them.

In the 1950s…
City’s average league position: 15th
City’s average attendance position: 10th (1 year in Div 2 – position not included)
City’s average attendance: 30,028

United’s average league position: 3rd
United’s average attendance position: 4th
United’s average attendance: 35,667

In the 1960s…
City’s average league position: 18th
City’s average attendance position: 13th (3 years in Div 2 – positions not included)
City’s average attendance: 27,823

United’s average league position: 7th
United’s average attendance position: 2nd
United’s average attendance: 45,199

In the 1970s…
City’s average league position: 9th
City’s average attendance position: 6th
City’s average attendance: 35,178

United’s average league position: 11th
United’s average attendance position: 1st (1 year in Div 2 – position not included)
United’s average attendance: 48,328

In the 1980s…
City’s average league position: 20th
City’s average attendance position: 5th (4 years in Div 2 – positions not included)
City’s average attendance: 26,866

United’s average league position: 5th
United’s average attendance position: 1st
United’s average attendance: 43,090

In the 1990s (pre Premiership/Sky)…
City’s average league position: 8th
City’s average attendance position: 6th
City’s average attendance: 27,846

United’s average league position: 7th
United’s average attendance position: 1st
United’s average attendance: 42,654

In the 1990s – (1993+/Premiership)…
City’s average league position: 15th (3 years in Div1/Div 2)
City’s average attendance position: 11th
City’s average attendance: 26,459

United’s average league position: 1st
United’s average attendance position: 1st
United’s average attendance: 47,173

In the 2000s…
City’s average league position: 12th (2 years in Div 1)
City’s average attendance position: 7th
City’s average attendance: 39,368

United’s average league position: 2nd
United’s average attendance position: 1st
United’s average attendance: 69,164

Average attendances: United vs City 1946-2012

1946-1947: Liverpool 45,732 (1st)
City – 1st (Div 2)
Average attendance: 39,283 (8th)

United – 2nd
Average attendance: 43,945 (3rd)

1947-1948: Arsenal 54,892 (1st)
City – 10th
Average attendance: 42,725 (7th)

United – 2nd, FA Cup winners
Average attendance: 54,890 (2nd)

1948-1949: Newcastle 53,839 (1st)
City – 7th
Average attendance: 38,699 (11th)

United – 2nd
Average attendance: 48,808 (3rd)

1949-1950: Arsenal 49,001 (1st)
City – 21st
Average attendance: 39,381 (10th)

United – 4th
Average attendance: 43,282 (7th)

1950-1951: Spurs 55,509 (1st)
City – 2nd (Div 2)
Average attendance: 35,016 (13th)

United – 2nd
Average attendance: 39,008 (9th)

1951-1952: Spurs 51,134 (1st)
City – 15th
Average attendance: 38,302 (8th)

United – 1st
Average attendance: 42,916 (4th)

1952-1953: Arsenal 49,141 (1st)
City – 20th
Average attendance: 34,058 (11th)

United – 8th
Average attendance: 37,571 (9th)

1953-1954: Chelsea 46,944 (1st)
City – 17th
Average attendance: 30,155 (15th)

United – 4th
Average attendance: 36,887 (8th)

1954-1955: Chelsea 48,260 (1st)
City – 7th
Average attendance: 35,217 (9th)

United – 5th
Average attendance: 36,911 (7th)

1955-1956: Everton 42,768 (1st)
City – 4th, FA Cup winners
Average attendance: 32,198 (10th)

United – 1st
Average attendance: 39,254 (3rd)

1956-1957: United
City – 18th
Average attendance: 30,005 (12th)

United – 1st
Average attendance: 45,481 (1st)

1957-1958: United
City – 5th
Average attendance: 32,756 (9th)

United – 9th
Average attendance: 46,073 (1st)

1958-1959: United
City – 20th
Average attendance: 32,568 (9th)

United – 2nd
Average attendance: 53,258 (1st)

1959-1960: Spurs 47,948 (1st)
City – 16th
Average attendance: 35,637 (8th)

United – 7th
Average attendance: 47,288 (2nd)

1960-1961: Spurs 53,124 (1st)
City – 13th
Average attendance: 29,409 (8th)

United – 7th
Average attendance: 38,888 (3rd)

1961-1962: Spurs 45,576 (1st)
City – 12th
Average attendance: 25,626 (10th)

United – 15th
Average attendance: 33,491 (4th)

1962-1963: Everton 51,603 (1st)
City – 21st
Average attendance: 24,683 (11th)

United – 19th, FA Cup
Average attendance: 40,329 (4th)

1963-1964: Everton 49,401 (1st)
City – 6th (Div 2)
Average attendance: 18,201 (28th)

United – 2nd
Average attendance: 44,125 (3rd)

1964-1965: United
City – 11th (Div 2)
Average attendance: 14,753 (34th)

United – 1st
Average attendance: 46,521 (1st)

1965-1966: Liverpool 46,344 (1st)
City – 1st (Div 2)
Average attendance: 27,739 (10th)

United – 4th
Average attendance: 38,769 (2nd)

1966-1967: United
City – 15th
Average attendance: 31,208 (11th)

United – 1st
Average attendance: 53,854 (1st)

1967-1968: United
City – 1st
Average attendance: 37,223 (6th)

United – 2nd
Average attendance: 57,552 (1st)

1968-1969
City – 13th, FA Cup
Average attendance: 33,750 (9th)

United – 11th
Average attendance: 51,169 (1st)

1969-1970: United
City – 10th, League Cup
Average attendance: 33,930 (10th)

United – 8th
Average attendance: 49,862 (1st)

1970-1971: Liverpool 45,459 (1st)
City – 11th
Average attendance: 31,041 (9th)

United – 8th
Average attendance: 43,945 (2nd)

1971-1972: Liverpool 47,687 (1st)
City – 4th
Average attendance: 38,573 (6th)

United – 8th
Average attendance: 45,999 (2nd)

1972-1973: United
City – 11th
Average attendance: 32,351 (7th)

United – 18th
Average attendance: 48,623 (1st)

1973-1974: United
City – 14th
Average attendance: 30,756 (7th)

United – 21
Average attendance: 42,712 (1st)

1974-1975: United. (Liverpool top of Div 1 45,966)
City – 8th
Average attendance: 32,898 (5th)

United – 1st (Div 2)
Average attendance: 48,389 (1st)

1975-1976: United
City – 8th, League Cup
Average attendance: 34,280 (4th)

United – 3rd
Average attendance: 54,750 (1st)

1976-1977: United
City – 2nd
Average attendance: 40,058 (3rd)

United – 6th, FA Cup
Average attendance: 53,710 (1st)

1977-1978: United
City – 4th
Average attendance: 41,687 (3rd)

United – 10th
Average attendance: 51,860 (1st)

1978-1979: United
City – 15th
Average attendance: 36,203 (4th)

United – 9th
Average attendance: 46,430 (1st)

1979-1980: United
City – 17th
Average attendance: 35,272 (3rd)

United – 2nd
Average attendance: 51,608 (1st)

1980-1981: United
City – 12th
Average attendance: 33,587 (4th)

United – 8th
Average attendance: 45,071 (1st)

1981-1982: United
City – 10th
Average attendance: 34,063 (4th)

United – 3rd
Average attendance: 44,571 (1st)

1982-1983: United
City – 20th
Average attendance: 26,789 (4th)

United – 3rd, FA Cup
Average attendance: 41,695 (1st)

1983-1984: United
City – 4th (Div 2)
Average attendance: 25,604 (6th)

United – 4th
Average attendance: 42,534 (1st)

1984-1985: United
City – 3rd (Div 2)
Average attendance: 24,220 (8th)

United – 4th, FA Cup
Average attendance: 42,881 (1st)

1985-1986: United
City – 15th
Average attendance: 24,229 (4th)

United – 4th
Average attendance: 46,321 (1st)

1986-1987: United
City – 21st
Average attendance: 21,922 (8th)

United – 11th
Average attendance: 40,594 (1st)

1987-1988: Liverpool 39,582 (1st)
City – 9th (Div 2)
Average attendance: 19,472 (12th)

United – 2nd
Average attendance: 39,152 (2nd)

1988-1989: Liverpool 38,706 (1st)
City – 2nd (Div 2)
Average attendance: 23,500 (6th)

United – 11th
Average attendance: 36,474 (2nd)

1989-1990: United
City – 14th
Average attendance: 27,975 (4th)

United – 13th
Average attendance: 39,331 (1st)

1990-1991: United
City – 5th
Average attendance: 27,874 (6th)

United – 6th
Average attendance: 43,242 (1st)

1991-1992: United
City – 5th
Average attendance: 27,688 (7th)

United – 2nd
Average attendance: 45,389 (1st)

1992-1993: Liverpool (Stretford End demolished and re-development began)
City – 9th
Average attendance: 24,698 (8th)

United – 1st
Average attendance: 35,152 (2nd)

1993-1994: United
City – 16th
Average attendance: 26,709 (9th)

United – 1st
Average attendance: 44,244 (1st)

1994-1995: United
City – 17th
Average attendance: 22,725 (13th)

United – 2nd
Average attendance: 43,681 (1st)

1995-1996: United
City – 18th
Average attendance: 27,869 (10th)

United – 1st
Average attendance: 41,700 (1st)

1996-1997: United
City – 14th (Div 1)
Average attendance: 26,753 (11th)

United – 1st
Average attendance: 55,081 (1st)

1997-1998: United
City – 22nd (Div 1)
Average attendance: 28,196 (14th)

United – 2nd
Average attendance: 55,168 (1st)

1998-1999: United
City – 3rd (Div 2)
Average attendance: 28,261 (13th)

United – 1st
Average Attendance: 55,188 (1st)

1999-2000: United
City – 2nd (Div 1)
Average attendance: 32,088 (11th)

United – 1st
Average attendance: 58,014 (1st)

2000-2001: United
City – 18th
Average attendance: 34,058 (10th)

United – 1st
Average attendance: 67,490 (1st)

2001-2002: United
City – 1st (Div 1)
Average attendance: 33,061 (11th)

United – 3rd
Average attendance: 67,558 (1st)

2002-2003: United
City – 9th
Average attendance: 34,565 (11th)

United – 1st
Average attendance: 67,602 (1st)

2003-2004: United
City – 16th
Average attendance: 46,834 (3rd)

United – 3rd
Average attendance: 67,641 (1st)

2004-2005: United
City – 8th
Average attendance: 45,192 (3rd)

United – 3rd
Average attendance: 67,748 (1st)

2005-2006: United
City – 15th
Average attendance: 42,856 (4th)

United – 2nd
Average attendance: 68,765 (1st)

2006-2007: United
City – 14th
Average attendance: 39,997 (6th)

United – 1st
Average attendance: 75,826 (1st)

2007-2008: United
City – 9th
Average attendance: 42,126 (6th)

United – 1st
Average attendance: 75,691 (1st)

2008-2009: United
City – 10th
Average attendance: 42,899 (5th)

United – 1st
Average attendance: 75,304 (1st)

2009-2010: United
City – 5th
Average attendance: 45,513 (3rd)

United – 2nd
Average attendance: 74,864 (1st)

2010-2011: United
City – 3rd
Average attendance: 45,905 (4th)

United – 1st
Average attendance: 75,109 (1st)

2011-2012: United
City – 1st
Average attendance: 47,045 (4th)

United – 2nd
Average attendance: 75,387 (1st)


 

62 Comments

  1. Redrick78 says:

    King Eric, right with you there, ‘small time isn’t the word!’ ha ha it was embrarrassing! As our famous song goes, “THIS IS HOW IT FEELS TO BE CITY , THIS IS HOW IT FEELS TO BE SMALL”

    Role on Sunday, I’ll be singing that loud and proud!

  2. mansuy united says:

    Tourist — In the context of this blog post, no. In the grand scheme of things, yes.

  3. Goat Peticoat says:

    Why were United playing at the Etihed tonight. They changed the seats to red but left most of them empty, they never could fill a stadium.

  4. mikec says:

    Not really sure why all this who’s got more fans is such an issue but while the league games are sold out for both clubs it fair to say that both have had poor attendances for cup games 30,000 emty seats at OT in league cup.

  5. Dan says:

    That shows that you had a higher attendance, well done. What it doesn’t show is anything about the city, and the number of individuals who come from that city.

  6. 19Times says:

    Its all gone quiet in the Leeds End!………………..Dickhead

  7. Jon Phillips Rose Hill says:

    Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz

  8. K_Stand_Red says:

    @Manc Harvin

    Summed up perfectly!

  9. Scott the Red says:

    Dan – You think fans were travelling from London in the 40s, 50s and 60s?

  10. ian gornall says:

    Wow brill reading you are a bunch good uns well done .We have had them all ‘Duncan edwards Bobby charlton Denis law George best Le king keano bryan Robson Giggys Scholesy Beckham Plus all the other hundreds that i cant think off. Brilliant piece thanks …..

  11. MCFCforum says:

    Strange that the majority of the comments have little to do with the article in question, and are simply there to bash each other with whatever the poster can think of …

    I do not dispute that United have a bigger average attendance than City, in the same way I do not dispute that England has a bigger population than Scotland, or that an elephant is bigger than a wombat – kudos for pointing something patently obvious out to the masses; there would be something very, very wrong, if The Etihad/CoMS/Maine Road had been getting bigger numbers than Old Trafford.

    However, let’s go back to 1947, shall we? Where did United play then? You know, don’t you?

    But why did they get higher attendances? Well, you know that, too – but does everyone else? City, you see, did everything they could to help their neighbours after the war: they promoted their games, they gave them first refusal for matches, and they gave them everything bar the home changing rooms on derby days. They charged a fee of course (£5,000 per season + 10% of gates) but this was never paid. Ever.

    Similarly after the tragedy of Munich, City used their entire matchday program for the following game for United, and offered United their own players so that they could continue in the league. Neither did they care what UEFA might punish them with, after the organisation insisted that they take United’s place in Europe – City point blank refused, for, they said, it would be disrespectful to United.

    How about we go back to the 30′s when City petitioned for United because of the emergence of Manchester Central? City got Central kicked out of the league to save United. Or how about 1902 just before United came into being? City tried to help by giving the owners money – it was too little too late, admittedly, and Newton Heath vanished.

    City also allowed United to compete in Europe in the 50′s when floodlights were needed, because OT didn’t have them. Without these many games, United would not have been able to compete, and therefore would not have become the force they did. United’s biggest ‘home’ attendance for a European game? Yup, at Maine Road.

    The point of all of this is: why bother with this article? OT has been bigger than City’s stadium(s) for decades. So (going back to the beginning of this post) they definitely should have had bigger attendances – perhaps if you had done this as a % of capacity, the numbers might not look so favourable (although City have had some piss poor low crowds in the past). But I suspect that that would not allow a (utterly pointless) stick to beat someone with, which ultimately was the point of this piece, yes?

    Support your club, cherish your club, be thankful for your club – don’t make yourself feel better by creating an article for the sole use of bigging yourself up when it is unnecessary. There are way too many idiots on the internet (on both sides) who get off on this sort of thing.

  12. danhbk says:

    How is our average League position in the 2000′s 2nd when we won the league 6/10 times (2000,2001,2003, 2007,2008,2009). 60% is the majority so our average League position is first… poor mathematics there Scott.

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