Sunday, 7 September 2014

Jim's column 6.9.14

I am writing this before the Ricoh homecoming on Friday night when the Sky Blues will run out at their home ground for the first time in nineteen months to a large excited crowd. With tickets being released in dribs & drabs and no certainty about how much of the stadium will be open, the attendance is difficult to predict but people in the know are expecting around 25,000. Numerous people have asked me how that will match up against other City attendances at the stadium & here are the top crowds before last night.

31,407 v Chelsea (FA Cup) 2008-09. Lost 0-2
30,154 v Crewe (JPT) 2012-13.  Lost 0-3
28,184 v Leeds United  2010-11.  Lost 2-3
28,163 v West Brom (FA Cup) 2007-08. Lost 0-5
28,120 v Middlesbrough (FA Cup) 2005-06.  Drew 1-1
27,992 v Wolves 2007-08. Drew 1-1
27,212 v Birmingham 2006-07. Lost 0-1
26,856 v Wolves 2005-06. Won 2-0
26,723 v Leicester 2005-06. Drew 1-1

Let's hope the result against Gillingham was better than the majority of packed crowds there have been at the stadium since it opened in 2005. Only one of the nine games above were won!

With two good away draws at MK Dons & Swindon & an away win at Wycombe in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy, the Sky Blues have now gone five league & cup games without defeat since the League Cup exit to Cardiff. This is the best run by Steven Pressley's team since the start of this year when the Boxing Day victory over Peterborough sparked a six game unbeaten run which was ended on 24 January at the Emirates Stadium. For a time on Saturday it looked like the Swindon hoodoo might be broken but in the end City had to be content with one point. It is now fifty four years and seven league visits since the Sky Blues won at the County Ground in a league game.

Dan Donovan wanted to know if he was correct in thinking that the five smallest crowds at Sixfields last season were the lowest in the club's history. It was worse than that Dan – prior to last season the smallest League home crowd for the club was 2,059 against Crystal Palace in 1927-28 but last season City had TEN league crowds lower than that, six of them under 1700.

The ten smallest crowds were:
1,603 v Carlisle
1,618 v Crewe
1,627 v Port Vale
1,637 v Walsall
1,673 v Bradford C
1,697 v Stevenage
1,789 v Colchester
1,816 v Tranmere
1,961 v Rotherham
1,966 v Shrewsbury

There was also an even smaller crowd for the Hartlepool FA Cup replay in December with 1,214 watching City progress to the Third round.

I saw some great statistics on City's history at the Ricoh Arena (2005-13) produced by Rich Tomlinson for his excellent CCFCTV blog. One of the most interesting highlighted City's W-D-L record at the stadium which is, won 81, drawn 58, lost 67 producing a pitiful win percentage of 40%. This is pretty shocking when you consider that the average between 1919 and 1967 was 57% and the win ratio regularly topped 65% in the 1930s & 1950s with 90% in 1935-36 & 80% in 1966-67. The stats support the view that there might be a curse on the new stadium, perhaps from that Leicester City shirt allegedly buried by one of the contractors. Interestingly the win ratio at Sixfields last season was better than all of the last six seasons at the Ricoh which failed to produce a win ratio over 40%. My conclusion is that the club's home form is going to have to improve dramatically for City to have any chance of featuring in the promotion race.

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