A Plea To The Citizens of Ely
In the 70â€™s when I was still a keen reader of â€˜Shootâ€™, the only kids football magazine available at the time, I remember reading a statistic about Burnley Football Club. At the time the population of the town was about 80,000 and they were regularly getting gates of 20,000. Thatâ€™s 25% of the population! In fact, having just googled ‘Burnley FC’, thereâ€™s an article that states that before the First World War they had attendances of 50,000 which was the equivalent of the townâ€™s population at the time.
So, because Iâ€™m a bit bored at the moment, I decided to bring those stats up to date. On the opening day of last season, the Clarets attracted 12,190 supporters to witness their 2-0 win over QPR. According to Wikipedia, the current population of the town is 74,000 â€“ making their gate 16.47% of the total.
Where is all this waffle leading us? I hear you ask. Well, bearing in mind that Elyâ€™s population (at the last census) was given as 15,000 we would need to attract 2,470 to the Unwin Ground to equal the Lancastrianâ€™s 16.47%. I know theyâ€™re in the 2nd Division (I refuse to call it The Championship â€“ it ainâ€™t) and The Robins are in the Eastern Counties League First Division but, come on, our average gate last season of 113 translates as 0.75% of Ely.
The point of this orgy of statistics is that I urge anyone reading this who hasnâ€™t actually tried non-league football to give it a go. I donâ€™t like to pick out individuals but an entry on our guestbook last season made me smile. Richard Hanson-James said: â€œI’m a regular visitor to Ely, and checked the site out to see what’s what in local football. Why no information on ticket prices and availability?â€