City of Liverpool achieved an unusual feat when hosting Ashton Town in their Division One fixture on Tuesday evening.
The Purples have, of course, enjoyed good crowds right from the start of the season and wet and cold conditions, plus traffic chaos all around the Liverpool outer ring road system, did not deter 318 hardy souls from turning up to watch a hard fought 0-0 draw between the two sides.
In itself, the crowd was remarkable due to the aforementioned conditions, but what made it even more notable was that the attendance was higher than the one recorded for a Checkatrade Trophy fixture 100 miles up the road, between Premier League Middlesbrough and League One Shrewsbury Town.
City of Liverpool Media Officer Martin Stewart observed:
“Although billed by both Middlesbrough and Shrewsbury as an U23s match, the rules of the competition allow for clubs to use first team players in all fixtures, so in essence this was a first team fixture for a top flight club. The weather in Middlesbrough on the night was equally cold and wet as it was in Liverpool, which was why perhaps only 308 turned up to watch the game at the Riverside Stadium.
“So, the attendance for one Hallmark Security League First Division fixture, between sides whose average gates are 300 and under 100 respectively, had 10 more people in attendance than a Premier League club who boast over 20,000 season ticket holders according to their website.
“Our support at COLFC has settled to an average of around 350 despite most of our home fixtures so far this season being midweek games, but standing on the gate prior to opening, we anticipated the conditions and the opposition would see the gate drop below the 200 mark for the first time and we’d already decided we’d be happy with that.
“But from about 7pm a steady stream of people started turning up complete with their winter coats, hats, gloves and scarves to protect against the weather. We even sold out of programmes for only the second fixture of the season so far.
“Despite the cold and a match that was hotly contested but lacking in any real quality, the atmosphere too was incredible. As usual the Purple Partisans, were happy to keep themselves warm and the team motivated by going through their entire repertoire of songs, but for the first time this season we also had a sizeable crowd from the opposition joining in the banter and singing songs of their own too.
“Ashton brought their youth team to watch the game and they set themselves up in the main stand in front of the clubhouse and enthusiastically cheered their team onto a hard fought point, which contributed to a great atmosphere.
“Not even in the days during FC United’s brief spell in the NWCFL when they were regularly attracting 4 figure crowds to matches was the League able to boast a match attendance that beat a Premier League team’s fixture on the same day. But on Tuesday night that is exactly what happened”.