As Wigan Athletic head for the 4th Round FA Cup tie against West Ham United this weekend and a crowd of over 12,000, we wonder what it is that draws those extra crowds in.
Wigan above quite a lot of teams have shown what it is like to dream of winning the biggest and best Cup Competition in the World, but what is it that draws the crowds as teams progress?
Is it the feeling that our team is getting so close to the final stages that they can smell the Wembley turf or is it the quality of the team they are playing?
That of course works two ways in that we may be playing, like on Saturday, a team a couple of divisions above us and we want to see us cause the upset. The opposite is true if we play teams a couple of leagues below us.
The phenomenon is not exclusive to football. You can look at loads of different spectator events that see crowds swell. Just up the road at Aintree you find the Grand National Ladies Day fill the course out, of course that have the added experience of being able to bet on each race too.
Rugby Union always, like Football, seem to have huge injections of people attending the games when big teams are played or in later cup rounds. Tennis, where the outer courts are frequented by few people, yet the main courts are packed so they can watch the cedes or favourites.
We see it at all sorts of sports, snooker, rugby league, cricket, motor racing….. you name a sport and we see it happening at all of them.
Why do fans not come to a 1st Division football match, but they will come to an FA Cup 4th Round tie. It is the same football club, the same team and the same ground?
Wigan is a prime example of how fans interact with their Footballing team, 25 years ago we had just 1500 fans watching games at Springfield park.
Wind forward to 2006 and we all of a sudden found an extra 20,000 from somewhere, but as time went on and the novelty of the Premier League wore off, we now in League One are back to 8,000.
If only Wigan could achieve the sorts of numbers that will be there on Saturday on a regular basis, we would find games a lot more noisy and may even boost the team.
The South Stand Bar will have loads more people in it because manager Paul Cook, first players and even past players will be there, so maybe it’s a case off the pitch too. If you haven’t got a ticket for this the details are on the Supporters Club site, click here
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