Despite having a torrid time on the pitch, Cardiff City has the best “away fans experience” in the Premier League last season, according to a survey of football fans by the Football Supporters’ Federation (FSF).
More than 5,000 football supporters completed the FSF's away fans survey, leaving feedback on hundreds of fixtures across all divisions, and rating their away day experience out of 10.
The club in the Welsh capital was the clear winner, with Swansea City second, Hull City third, and Southampton fourth.
Crystal Palace came bottom of last season’s Premier League teams and were joined by Liverpool and Everton in the bottom three.
Cardiff City scored 8.05, an average taken from fans who scored their away days on overall experience. Palace, Liverpool and Everton scored 4.79, 5.41 and 5.71 respectively – these compare poorly to the national average of 6.44 and the Premier League average of 6.56.
Malcolm Clarke, chair of the FSF, said:
“Away fans travel in huge numbers in this country compared to many others. They’re a driving force behind the noise and spectacle at many games, it simply wouldn’t be the same without them.
“However, in recent seasons there does seem to have been a decrease in travelling supporters and we know it’s something that the football authorities are keen to work with fans on.
“The Away Fans Survey gives fans the opportunity to share their experiences. Armed with these results the FSF can then present a really strong case to the clubs and leagues, outlining what fans love or loathe when it comes to away days.”
Elsewhere, Wigan Athletic were the highest scoring of the 2013-2014 Football League Championship teams with 7.92, followed closely by Reading (7.54) and Blackburn Rovers (7.37).
Leeds United were bottom of the Championship, scoring a miserable 4.12. QPR (4.67) and Burnley (4.67), promoted to the Premier League for the 2014-15 season, joined them in the relegation places.
Fans were asked to rate the clubs on various factors – such as safety and security, transport to the ground, access at the turnstiles, the concourse layout, food and drink and the view of the pitch.
From the feedback left by travelling supporters, the distance of travel (44%), the time and day of kick-off (42.6%) and ticket pricing (40.4%) are the main factors for determining whether or not they will attend an away game.
“Likelihood of victory” was the least quoted reason fans gave for attending away games – only 3.9% of respondents said this was a reason they would travel to an away fixture.
Similarly, in the previous year’s survey, fans were not concerned about whether or not they were travelling to see a “big club” with only 6.5% citing “Level of opposition” as an important factor.
This was the second year that the FSF have asked fans for feedback on their away match experience. The aim of the project is to ultimately improve the away fans’ experience and encourage more fans to travel to watch their team.
More facts and figures:
- 67% of fans rated the safety and security at the away club as either good or excellent, with just 9% rating it as poor or very poor.
- Driving was the most popular method of transport, with 39% of respondents travelling to their fixture in a car. 32% took the train while 13% of fans used a private coach or minibus. Just 12% used official club coach travel.
- 53% of respondents bought some refreshments on their visit but 34% of those thought it didn't offer value for money, rating the price of the refreshments on offer as either poor or very poor.
- 48% of respondents said the overall quality and comfort of the away section was “excellent” or “good”. One in five (20%) said “poor” or “very poor”.
- 33% of away fans bought an official programme.
- 35% of fans rated the pre-match and half-time entertainment as either poor or very poor, compared to just 15% who thought it good or excellent.
- 5,308 fans responded to the away fans feedback survey.
- The FSF is the national supporters’ organisation for all football fans from England and Wales comprising more than 500,000 individual fans and members of local supporters’ organisations from every club in the professional structure and beyond. Find out more about the FSF and its campaigns via www.fsf.org.uk or on Twitter @The_FSF.
- Download the full list of league tables from the Away Fans Survey here...
- The number of travelling fans is obviously smaller for non-league but we do have data from some clubs. If you're an FSF member or affiliated fans' group who would like to work with your league or non-league club to improve things for visiting fans, we'd be happy to hear from you.