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Why is Selhurst half empty when Crystal Palace are playing so well?
10:33am Wednesday 26th September 2012 in Sport
CRYSTAL Palace columnist SAM ROSS is puzzled why the entertaining fare on offer at Selhurst Park this year isn’t attracting higher attendances.
THE Eagles’ thrilling 3-2 win on Saturday proved there is value for money at Selhurst this season, so it’s baffling to see a real lack of fans.
While Palace’s start to the season has been unpredictable, there is certainly one thing you can guarantee when you go to a game at Selhurst - goals.
But despite there being not one single 0-0 bore draw at SE25 this season, attendances have been shockingly low and I’m struggling to understand why.
Palace’s last two home games disappointingly drew crowds of around 13,000 and that was against two big Championship clubs in Nottingham Forest and Cardiff City.
It is not just at Selhurst, though, Millwall and Charlton are also struggling for numbers.
Under 10,000 fans turned up for the Lions’ game with Cardiff last Tuesday and even the recent derby against Charlton at The Valley wasn’t sold out, mainly because of the empty seats in the home ends.
I am a firm believer the Championship is the most entertaining league in the world and am baffled at the poor attendances.
But who is to blame - the fans, the ticket prices or the league itself?
The cheapest adult ticket for a game at Palace is £20 in the Family Stand for grade B games which can rise up to £35 in the Main Stand for A grade matches such as derbies.
Taking a family to a football match hasn’t been cheap for a number of seasons but is it as simple as justifying the cost?
Not many Palace fans I have spoken to are willing to pay to watch a team this year who they believe won’t be competing for much, regardless of whether they are playing attractive and exciting football or not.
The Eagles have pace and threat on both wings with Wilfried Zaha and Yannick Bolasie, as well as the talent of Jonny Williams and, despite being unintentional, they always look vulnerable to conceding.
Compare this to last year when it was difficult for teams to break Palace down at Selhurst.
I would much rather pay to see Palace win 3-2 like they did on Saturday, even if that means losing leads or possibly narrow victories like against Forest, than watch boring 1-0 wins.
Palace pushed on for a second goal despite being 1-0 up against 10-man Forest and that was pleasing to see.
Last year we would have perhaps tightened up and maybe held on for a scrappy 1-0 win.
The next two home games should hopefully see a dramatic rise in the attendance at Selhurst with the first family day of the season scheduled for Palace’s game against Burnley, while two weeks later is the London derby against Millwall.
However, both matches will not represent a typical crowd attendance at Selhurst and they must be used to showcase how entertaining it is watching Palace play at the moment.
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