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Cup attendances levelled off

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Overall FA Cup crowd sizes across all rounds have remained fairly steady since falling during the 1980s. Attendances throughout the leagues have risen in that period.

Of the 57 matches played in the third and fourth round this season, including replays, only one quarter (14) attracted attendances higher than the home team's average league figure this season.

Admittedly, the third round (before replays) this year produced the highest average attendances since 1979-80, yet this largely reflected the number of well-supported teams playing at home.

In 1979-80 as many as 53 of the 61 games in the third and fourth rounds drew crowds larger than the average attracted by the home club for league fixtures. Several FA Cup ties this season have been watched by only half the crowds who turn up for the hosts' league matches, including holders Wigan Athletic.

Season tickets do not generally cover cup matches, although clubs often substantially reduce ticket prices for less glamorous ties in the early rounds. However, convenience could be a factor and perhaps clubs could offer season ticket holders a voucher for one home tie, although that would involve a financial loss as 10 per cent of the ticket prices goes to the FA and 45 per cent to the opposing team.