said it was two thousand, others reported three. Spain doesn't do accurate
attendance figures; instead, most clubs publish estimates. They can't see a
problem. Why would anyone want to know how many people were actually at a game?
Getafe are the worst supported team in Spain's Primera
Liga. They play in a tough Madrid
satellite town where most of the locals support Atletico or Real Madrid. They
were only founded in 1983 and haven't built a historical fan base like their
neighbours. And while last season's sixth place league finish was enough to get
the Dark Blues into the Europa League, they've only been in the top flight six
years. It's to their credit that they've stayed up, enjoyed a run to the 2008
UEFA Cup quarter-finals, reached successive Spanish Cup finals and boasted big
name managers like Michel, Michael Laudrup and Bernd Schuster.
Getafe's president has shown
ambition and built a modern stadium. The 'Coliseum' title may be a bit
grandiose for its surroundings, but they've said they'll expand the 17,700
capacity - usually only reached when Madrid,
Atletico or Barca come to town - if crowds consistently warrant it.
spite of imaginative advertising campaigns to attract more season ticket
holders, there's more chance of Manchester
City winning this season's Champions
League than Getafe
filling their home on a regular basis.
Getafe have attracted 'crowds' of
7,000 and 8,000 for league games. Teams in England's
fourth tier are better supported, but the nadir came last week with the visit
of Stuttgart in
the Europa League. This Stuttgart
side are Champions league regulars, almost a giant of German football who had
won their three Europa League games so far.
just two or three thousand Getafe
fans considered it a game worth attending; the empty stands an embarrassment to
European football and little wonder that UEFA's website didn't even mention the
are Spanish teams who would love to be playing European football. Sporting Gijon would boast 20,000
crowds if they played in the Europa League and no club would suffer a four-figure
reached the competition on merit. Shame their fans don't support it.
low crowds are not just a worry at Getafe.
With average gates of 79,000, Barca may be the best supported team in world
football at present. Real Madrid
are not far behind, but elsewhere the league has seen some alarming
attendances. Games that finish at midnight don't help and nor does announcing
the kick-off time just eight days before the match, but it's still a worry.
La Coruna have long shed their 'Super Depor' tag. Until their two recent wins
which lifted them from the foot of the table, watching the non-scoring
Galicians was up there with having your teeth pulled out as a leisure pursuit.
Maybe that explains why average crowds have plummeted to just 14,000 in a
stadium which holds 35,000. Almeria's average is barely into five figures while
the buzz surrounding Espanyol's move to their superb new 40,500 home last year
has dissipated and they are back to a steady but still very respectable, 25,000
are also plenty of clubs enjoying healthy crowds outside the big two. Atletico
are averaging 48,400, Sevilla 40,000 and Athletic Bilbao 36,400, but work needs
to be done to diminish the dismal sight of thousands of empty seats at several
other clubs, most notably Getafe.