Non League football has received a timely boost in attendances in 2016-17, with the FA Cup performances of Lincoln City and Sutton United reviving interest in the lower leagues.
Attendance levels at Non League level, particularly maintaining and improving them, is a consistent battle for clubs, especially if they have a Football League or Premier League club on their doorstep.
One club that are bucking this trend is City of Liverpool FC, based in Bootle in North Liverpool. Despite playing their games firmly within the fan catchment area of both Liverpool and Everton, the Purples have established a loyal and passionate fanbase.
Supporters have flocked from across the city to the Delta Taxis Stadium, that the Purples ground share with Bootle FC, during their debut season.
The ever increasing band of Purples supporters have driven the team on in 2016-17, winning the Reusch Cup and securing promotion to the North West Counties Premier Division at the expense of local rivals Litherland REMYCA.
Club Chairman Paul Manning said: “The support we have received both home and away this season has been nothing short of phenomenal.”
“The number of fans we’ve seen (at home) this season you don’t see that two, or three divisions higher.”
Their play-off final win over Litherland REMYCA had an attendance of 1,303, whilst their Reusch Cup final was attended by 1,263, with the Purples in clear majority at both games.
Litherland attracted 201 fans to their home play-off semi-final win over Sandbach United, with that number increasing by just over 1,100 at Litherland Sports Park a week later.
Their fan numbers also outstrip the highest attendances of the two divisions above, beating West Didsbury & Chorlton’s North West Premier Division season high of 674. It also beats the season high attendance of Glossop North End, of the Northern Premier League Division One North, of 741.
Their average attendance of 417 also points to continued loyal support for the Purples in 2016-17, beating the entire two divisions above them as well as most teams in the Northern Premier League Premier Division.
Article and Image: Feargal Brennan (@FeargalBren)