Football

Manchester United most watched team in Premier League history

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Old Trafford is the most visited venue (©GettyImages)
Old Trafford is the most visited venue (©GettyImages).

The Premier League welcomed its 250 millionth fan through the turnstiles yesterday, twenty years after its inception in August 1992.

Fans have been treated to two decades of high quality football, and last night's fixtures at Villa Park and the Stadium of Light saw the Premier League pass its latest milestone - although it has to be said the quality on display yesterday evening was hardly the best advert.

More than 250 million people have watched Premier League football live over the past twenty years, an incredible total.

Despite the rise of televised football, funnily enough people still enjoy going to games. And new statistics collected by Premier League sponsor Barclays and published on Liverpoolfc.com reveal which clubs have been watched the most since August 1992.

The triumphs and turmoils associated with promotion and relegation mean 45 clubs have played in the Premier League, and Manchester United lead the way as the most watched club.

Arsenal sit second, largely thanks to their move to the Emirates Stadium in 2006, while Liverpool are third.

Newcastle, who play at St James Park, lie fourth, while Chelsea, Aston Villa, Everton, Tottenham, Manchester City and West Ham complete the top 10.

Before last night's fixtures, 249,949,825 fans had witnessed more than 3,000 players compete in 7,975 games, scoring a total of 20,955 goals.

Last nights attendances of 36,513 at the Stadium of Light and 28,692 at Villa Park took the total over 250 million.

And the league's popularity has increased massively in the twenty years since its creation - from an average attendance of 21,131 to a current average of 35,767.

Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore said: "The Premier League is now the most watched and supported football league in the world."

Scudamore also revealed stadiums are currently 95% full, and 23% of attending fans are now female, 11% are black or ethnic minority, while 13% of season ticket holders are children. Stadiums are now more family-friendly, more cosmopolitian, and more accessible than they were two decades ago - but they still have some way to go to match the value for money and atmosphere offered by the Bundesliga in Germany.

Obviously, what facilitates the league's rapid growth is the fans. Supporters fill the stadiums, pay the ticket prices, helping to fund the wages of the club's next big superstar.

But despite the seemingly irrepressible rise of ticket prices, the Premier League remains more popular than ever. A recent £5bn global TV deal distributes Premier League rights to all corners of the globe. Take a trip to Egypt on holiday, and you're just as likely to catch Stoke v Sunderland on a Saturday lunchtime as you would if you lived minutes from Stoke city centre.

The fear that grounds would fall empty as punters opted to watch the match from the comfort of their sofa has plainly not materialised. Clubs are building new stadiums with greater urgency, Arsenal and Manchester City most recently, while Liverpool, Everton and Chelsea all explore their options.

Manchester United chose to expand rather than move. The building boom around the turn of the century also led to new stadiums for Southampton (St Marys), Middlesbrough (Riverside), Bolton (Reebok), Sunderland (Stadium of Light), Wigan (DW Stadium) and Derby (Pride Park).

While the recession has tempered ambition in recent seasons, the trajectory has only slowed rather than reversed.

The Premier League remains the most popular, here are the top 10 most watched clubs…

1. Manchester United - Old Trafford | Total = 24,397,959 | Average = 62,240

2. Arsenal - Emirates and Highbury | Total = 17,036,537 | Average = 43,461


(©GettyImages)

3. Liverpool - Anfield | Total = 16,491,290 | Average = 41,963

4. Newcastle - St James Park | Total = 15,878,733 | Average = 44,982

5. Chelsea - Stamford Bridge | Total = 13,752,044 | Average = 34,992


(©GettyImages)

6. Aston Villa - Villa Park | Total = 13,642,547 | Average = 34,802

6. Aston Villa - Villa Park | Total = 13,642,547 | Average = 34,802

7. Everton - Goodison Park | Total = 13,424,085 | Average = 34,245

8. Tottenham Hotspur - White Hart Lane | Total = 13,149,880 | Average = 33,460

9. Manchester City - Etihad and Maine Road | Total = 11,287,703 | Average = 37,878


(©GettyImages)

10. West Ham - Upton Park | Total = 9,010,777 | Average = 28,606

Topics:
Tottenham Hotspur
Arsenal
Sunderland
Football
Manchester City
Bolton Wanderers
Southampton
Chelsea
Premier League
Newcastle United
Derby County
Manchester United
Everton
Wigan Athletic
Aston Villa
Middlesbrough
Liverpool
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