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17th of November 2018


BBC's Man City figures sparked a thousand United jibes - here's the truth

Manchester United fans had a lot of fun with their “Emptihad” jibes after the BBC released figures they had gathered on football attendances in September.

The results of the BBC "investigation" showed that Manchester City crowds were actually 14 per cent lower than the figures released by the club.

The BBC compared the attendance figure released by seven Premier League clubs with the “actual” figures uncovered by Freedom of Information requests made to police forces and local councils.

In City’s case, it showed that the Blues’ average crowd as declared by the club last season was 53,274, which amounted to 97 per cent of stadium capacity.

That was just short of United’s declared figure of 73,575, which was 98 per cent of what Old Trafford holds.

But the big difference came in the figures "revealed" by the police and councils.

They showed that City’s average attendance, based over 12 selected games, was 45,792, meaning the ground was only 83 per cent full.

And, bizarrely, the United figure EXACTLY matched the club’s released attendance.

M.E.N. Sport decided to ask Trafford Council, and Greater Manchester Police how this strange coincidence came about, so we put in our own Freedom of Information requests.

Read today's top Man City stories here

And, lo and behold, Trafford Council revealed that the figure they had recorded for United was the one the club had given them – so it was not independently calculated, at all.

GMP have been more difficult to pin down, and nearly three weeks after making the request we have still had no response as to how they calculate their figures.

But it seems unfeasible that they have independently reached exactly the same figure as United’s own official attendance, without simply accepting the figure the Reds have given them.

We will update this article once we get a response from them.

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