Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Recession to Blame for Lower Crowds - Strachan

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Recession to Blame for Lower Crowds - Strachan

Article excerpt

Byline: Luke Edwards

GORDON Strachan believes it is inevitable Middlesbrough's attendances are in decline because Teesside has been hit hardest by the recession.

Boro beat Burnley 2-1 in front of just 15,033 supporters on Tuesday night and the images of rows and rows of empty seats have led to widespread concern.

But Strachan is full of praise for the club's fans as he argued they simply cannot afford to keep coming to football matches when there is so much economic turmoil in the area.

He said: "It is not a malaise that just belongs to Boro. I watched Chelsea play at Wigan recently and there were 14,000 people there.

"I looked at Birmingham City the other week and there were loads of empty seats so it is not just Middlesbrough.

"You have to remember that this area has been the hardest hit place in the country, absolutely no doubt about that.

All we can do to help these people who have been hard hit is to give them some entertainment at the weekend.

"That's where we have been a bit down on ourselves because we are not doing that regularly enough for the people who are out of work and are still finding the money to come to the game.

"It does not make you feel good, that's for sure.

"I have an idea what has gone on here on Teesside because I speak to the chairman about it. Hopefully that can turn. It is not good news at all."

The Scot, though, also argued football is in danger of overkill given the amount of live games on television which also persuades fans not to leave their living rooms. He said: "Football will always be the number one sport, without any doubt, but you can overdose on it and we are overdosing on it. There is too much football.

"People can be choosier now to decide what they want to watch.

"Years ago you had to go to your local club to see live football and now you don't. You get a choice.

"On Tuesday you can come and watch us and you haven't got too much money, or you can sit at home, go round a mate's house and watch Manchester United versus Rangers. The falling attendances are not just this club, but we have had some body blows in the last couple of years. …

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