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Watford Woes Continue

By BrianC
July 25 2005

Last season, trying to put a silver lining on the Saracens cloud, I wrote that I felt they were pretty well down to their core support and, in terms of crowd numbers, could only move up from there. This season, admittedly with some ups and downs along the way, would appear to bear that out.

Saracens - 2004/5 Season

6-May-05 WC Saracens vs Worcester  28-10 Vicarage Road 5168
17-Apr-05  ZP   Saracens vs Leicester 19 - 17  Vicarage Road  16812
13-Mar-05 ZP  Saracens vs Sale 32 - 19 Vicarage Road 5751
20-Feb-05 ZP  Saracens vs London Irish 12-30 Vicarage Road 6354
28-Jan-05 ZP  Saracens vs Newcastle 32-13 Vicarage Road 5870
26-Dec-04 ZP  Saracens vs Harlequins 8-8 Vicarage Road  9285
21-Nov-04 ZP  Saracens vs Gloucester 14-19 Vicarage Road  6860
06-Nov-04 ZP  Saracens vs Bath 30-37 Franklins Gardens 3595
10-oct-2004 ZP Saracens vs Northampton Saints 23-12 Vicarage Road  7712
26-Sep-04 ZP Saracens vs Leeds Tykes 23-29 Vicarage Road 5325
12-Sep-04 ZP Saracens vs Worcester Warriors 16-10 Vicarage Road 5620
04-Sep-04 ZP Saracens vs Wasps (LDH) 13-11 Twickenham 12750
      Season Average 7592

Saracens fall from grace in the early part of this decade was steady and spectacular. When records started in the 97/98 season they were the second best supported club in the land with average gates of 9303. As recently as the 00/01 season they still held second slot. Their decline this decade has been as spectacular as it has been worrying. Their nadir was in the 03/04 season with an average gate of 7234. In the one just past they have bounced back a little. That said, their gates generally still appear to be low. They were however helped by a huge gate for their last home ZP fixture against Leicester.

For a mixture of reasons and amid more than a little recrimination and finger pointing Saracens were forced to play one of their home fixtures at Franklin's Gardens in Northampton. The crowd on that day was 3.6k, some two to three thousand less than would have been expected had the match been held at Vicarage Road. On the counter side their overall figures have been substantially boosted by the London Double Header. The crowd of 12750 allocated to them for that match is arguably some 6k greater than it would have been at VR. 

To compare like for like we need to average the nine ZP games played at VR this season against the 11 played there last. Here we get a figure of 8132 for 04/05, the previous season it was 7234. This is a somewhat healthier 12.4% up. Despite this Saracens have moved from being the second best supported club in the land as the decade began to the second lowest. It should be noted that this season they have had a reasonably good time on field, ending in fifth place and have qualified for next seasons Heineken Cup.

Saracens must still be losing money. They are by no means out of the woods. What these figures do give, for the first time in quite a few years, is some cause for optimism. 

Season Average Att. Position
(Out of)
Final ZP Position Percentage Growth
97-98 9303 2nd(10) 2nd(12)
98-99 9226 2nd(10) 3rd(14) -0.8%
99-00 7251 3rd(10) 4th(12) -21.4%
00-01 9222 2nd(11) 5th(12) 27.2%
01-02 8388 4th(11) 10th(12) -9.0%
02-03 7157 7th(11) 8th(12) -14.7%
03-04 7234 8th(12) 10th(12) 1.1%
04-05 7592 11th(12) 5th(12) 5.0%
Variation '97 - '05 -18% 12th(12)
Crowd Growth Absolute -1711 12th(12)
Average Growth -1.8% 12th(12)

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