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Top clubs boost Cup attendances

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The average attendance at FA Cup matches from the first round to the quarter finals was 11,818 over the last decade compared to 11,398 between 1994 and 2004.   Does that mean that the 'magic of the Cup' has not gone away?   In fact, it seems largely down to top clubs building bigger stadiums.

First round matches have seen a marked fall in attendances of 16 per cent over the period and the same one sixth fall applies to the second round.   In the first four rounds in which the top two tiers play there has been an increase in average attendance.   This is most marked in the sixth round which has seen a big 20 per cent boost.

The two Manchester clubs, Arsenal, Chelsea and Newcastle United are all playing in stadiums with significantly more seats than was the case 20 years ago.   In fact the increase in stadium size at these five clubs has probably accounted for more or less the entire 4 per cent attendance rise combined for the first to sixth rounds.