Sports Gazette

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2021/2022 Attendances: Lower and non-league football biggest winners

As the 2021/2022 football season reaches its conclusion, embattled football chairmen will be buoyed by rising attendances across the lower and non-leagues.

This season represents the first in a post-pandemic world and fans have returned in their numbers with the biggest winners being the National League, League One and National League South.

Data from English football’s top six tiers has been interpreted by the Sports Gazette from figures provided by Football Web Pages, who keep track of crowds up and down the nation each weekend. These numbers do not include any post-season play offs.

National League South (bottom) National League North (second bottom)

Overall attendances rise 

On average every weekend 834,724 people went to watch live football from one of England’s top six tiers, a slight rise on the last unaffected season. This is in spite of there being two less fixtures to watch each weekend.

National League South (bottom right) National League North (second from bottom right)


National League biggest riser

National League Top Ten Clubs by Attendance
Club 2018/19 Average Attendance Club 2021/22 Average Attendance
Leyton Orient 5,444 Wrexham 8,644
Wrexham 5,145 Stockport County 7,126
Chesterfield 4,504 Notts County 6,800
Hartlepool United 3,124 Chesterfield 6,403
Salford City 2,509 Southend United 5,773
Maidstone United 2,178 Grimsby Town 5,704
Sutton United 1,910 Woking 2,672
Eastleigh 1,849 Torquay United 2,576
Aldershot Town 1,744 Eastleigh 2,536
AFC Fylde 1,650 Yeovil Town 2,378

Sunderland help lift League One to record attendances

The next biggest riser is a League One significantly boosted by the addition of Sheffield Wednesday and Ipswich Town.

Sunderland’s average attendance 33,062 is a new League One record, bettering their own mark of 2018/2019 (32,157).

Sunderland’s crowds are only bettered by 12 sides in the Premier League and will be the biggest in their new home in the Championship.

Embed from Getty Images

Championship crowds down by a sixth

2017/2018 Average Attendance2018/2019 Average Attendance2021/2022 Average AttendanceIncrease on 2018/2019
                                                 20,604                                                 20,269                                                 16,776-17.23%
Championship Home Attendances (2017-2022)

Sheffield United and Nottingham Forest drew 2021/2022’s biggest Championships crowds. The division has felt the impact of Leeds United’s promotion as well as the relegation of Sheffield Wednesday and Ipswich.

Interestingly Bournemouth’s lowly attendances were not only the lowest in the top tier during their time there but were the lowest in the Championship this year too.

Club2021/22 Average Attendances
Sheffield United                            27,720
Nottingham Forest                            27,216
Derby County                            23,010
Middlesbrough                            21,825
West Bromwich Albion                            21,788
Stoke City                            20,921
Coventry City                            19,541
Bristol City                            19,205
Cardiff City                            18,869
Fulham                            17,774
Huddersfield Town                            17,578
Swansea City                            17,389
Birmingham City                            16,162
Queens Park Rangers                            14,437
Blackburn Rovers                            13,478
Millwall                            12,950
Hull City                            12,888
Reading                             12,761
Barnsley                            12,692
Preston North End                            12,608
Blackpool                            12,104
Peterborough United                            10,088
Luton Town                              9,863
AFC Bournemouth                              9,753
2021/2022 Championship Home Attendances (Average)

Premier League grows but looks likely to decrease next year

Despite their difficult year, Man Utd continue to draw the biggest crowds thanks to the largest stadium in domestic football in Old Trafford. All Premier League stadiums operate near to capacity each weekend but with the arrival of Bournemouth (9,753) and Fulham (17,774) attendances should decrease in the coming season. Fulham have, however, announced however that their Riverside stand will open for the 2022/23 season, with Craven Cottage set to move to closer to 30,000 capacity.

Interestingly both Burnley and Watford would also have been relegated in a theoretical attendance league with Norwich fifth from bottom.

Club2021/22 Attendance
Manchester United73,161
West Ham United59,151
Tottenham Hotspur56,234
Manchester City52,774
Newcastle United51,487
Aston Villa41,650
Everton 38,852
Leeds United36,286
Leicester City32,331
Brighton & Hove Albion30,980
Wolverhampton Wanderers30,642
Southampton 29,817
Norwich City26,845
Crystal Palace24,322
Burnley 19,299
2021/2022 Premier League Home Attendances (Average)


  • George Mallett

    Writing the stories behind characters in the world of boxing and athletics, I'll aim to bring you the best from two fascinating sports.