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'Floating' City fans unlikely to return yet

'Floating' City fans unlikely to return yet

With Saturday's game against Scunthorpe coming off the back of a good run of form from the Sky Blues, chairman Ray Ranson is hopeful that backing Chris Coleman in the transfer market coupled with improving results will see a bigger than expected crowd at the Ricoh Arena.

With an average gate hovering around the 17,500 mark, much of the talk this season has been of significantly bigger crowds at Pride Park and the Walkers Stadium but if almost a decade of mid-to-lower table finishes in the Championship was to be replicated at those two grounds then attendances would suffer similarly.

Derby were a Premier League team just two seasons ago while Leicester in League One won week in and week out last season on their way to the title.

A fairer comparison may be that of Stoke City, where fans at the Britannia Stadium have been consistently praised over the past couple of seasons for creating a hostile environment for opposing teams and backing their own players to the full.

Yet prior to their promotion, the Potters had been treading water in the Championship and their crowd figures bore little relation to the current numbers.

In 2007/08, when Tony Pulis's side put together a good run of form to reach the Premier League, it was only when promotion was a probability rather than a possibility that crowds picked up significantly.

When Stoke hosted the Sky Blues in November of that season there were 13,448 in attendance. By January the visit of Preston saw 15,011 through the door, rising to 18,432 for March's game against Burnley.

For the final game of the campaign, when promotion was assured with a point against Leicester, 26,609 were packed in to the Britannia and those fans have stayed with Stoke ever since.

Those outside the hardcore City fans who will attend week in and week out will need more convincing to come out in regular numbers at the Ricoh and an outside chance of making the play-offs won't do it for them.

Like the Sky Blues league position, attendances are set to improve gradually rather than in massive numbers.

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

Date:Tuesday February 23 2010
Time: 9:01PM

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