Brighton on course for record-breaking season

Albion fans have packed out the Amex so far this season. Picture by Phil Westlake (PW Sporting Photography)
Albion fans have packed out the Amex so far this season. Picture by Phil Westlake (PW Sporting Photography)

Brighton are on course for a record-breaking season if fans continue to flock to the Amex for the rest of the season.

The Seagulls' average attendance so far this season is 30,317, the 12th highest in the top flight. If that continues for the final seven Premier League matches of the season, it will be the first time in the club's history they have recorded an average home attendance of more than 30,000.

The Amex. Picture by Phil Westlake (PW Sporting Photography)

The Amex. Picture by Phil Westlake (PW Sporting Photography)

Albion's capacity has also been reached 98.9 per cent of the time - the eighth best in the Premier League - and against an average of 95.2 per cent in the top flight.

The majority of home matches have sold out at the Amex this season, with a season-high attendance of 30,600 against Chelsea, while the lowest league gate of the campaign was 29,676 against Stoke. However, the nature of Brighton's reported attendances changed in 2012 from turnstile clicks to ticket solds, which is in line with most clubs now - especially in the Premier League and Championship.

The average attendance is up from 27,995 at the Amex last season and 20,029 from the debut campaign at the stadium.

The highest average attendance at the Goldstone Ground was 25,264 in 1977/78 and that has already been exceeded five times at the Amex, ever since the capacity was increased from the initial 22,500 for the 2012/13 season.

There were eight 30,000-plus attendances at the Amex before this season, and nine so far this season. At the Goldstone there was a total of 21 (1933-79), the biggest being 36,747 versus Fulham, on December 27, 1958.

Albion chief executive Paul Barber said: "We are absolutely delighted by the attendances we have been getting at the Amex this season - both in terms of tickets sold and the actual attendance which, not surprisingly, are both the best since the Amex opened.

“The football club has certainly come a long way in a very short space of time but we still have a way to go, and much more work to do, to broaden and deepen our fan base to ensure that the club’s longer term future is as secure as possible.

“Loyal fans are vital to every football club because, with very few exceptions, fortunes on the pitch fluctuate which affects attendances. To this club, however, the fans made the difference between extinction and survival. That can never be forgotten."

Manchester United top the average home attendance in the Premier League this season with 75,085, ahead of Tottenham (65,956), Arsenal (59,380), West Ham (56,893), Manchester City (53,990), Liverpool (53,132), Newcastle (52,275) and Chelsea (41,510).

Everton average 39,047 at Goodison Park, while Leicester (31,593) and Southampton (30,486) average just more than the Seagulls, whose Amex Stadium has been recorded as having a 30,666 capacity.

Albion's arch rivals Crystal Palace have the 14th highest average attendance, with 24,764.

Only two clubs in the Championship average higher attendances than Brighton this season, Leeds (32,403) and Aston Villa (30,579). The average overall attendance in the Championship this season is 20,343.

Brighton rank eighth in stadium asset utilisation, with a score of 98.9 per cent against their available capacity.

Newcastle and West Ham both average 99.8 per cent capacity every week, followed by Chelsea (99.7), Huddersfield (99.6), Manchester United (99.5), Liverpool (99.5) and Arsenal (99.2). Palace are 15th with 96 per cent.