Arsenal follow United's lead by claiming packed stadium despite rows of empty seats at Emirates
08:44 GMT, 13 December 2012
Arsenal have followed Manchester
United in giving out highly misleading attendance figures that show
their stadiums to be at capacity when in fact there were thousands of
United announced a 71,000 near full
house for their Champions League game against CFR Cluj when the Old
Trafford crowd looked to be 20,000.
And the Emirates Stadium attendance
for last Saturday’s match against West Brom was said to be 60,000 when
it was obviously down by more than 10,000.
Sparse support: The Emirates was far from full as Arsenal beat West Brom
Both clubs defend their policy by
saying the figures are based on tickets sold — with United’s Champions
League group games included in the season ticket price. A Premier League
spokesman said: ‘Our attendances are up this season. This is not an
issue for us.’
The apathy among Gunners fans,
heightened by the Capital One Cup defeat at Bradford, was demonstrated
by the paltry turn-out for the Arsenal Supporters Trust Christmas drinks
with the club at the Emirates.
Fewer than 100 attended the function —
half the number expected — even when they had the opportunity to vent
their anger at chief executive Ivan Gazidis and commercial director Tom
‘brand defined by more than winning’ Fox.
Gazidis, who spent two hours talking
to the hardcore fans, apologised for the Bradford result, saying it
wasn’t good enough and that he was there to listen.
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C4's half-time treat
Channel 4 are bowing to football’s dominance of the sporting landscape by scheduling all their big Saturday races at 3.50pm when their monopoly terrestrial contract starts next year.
The hope is that the half-time break in the day’s football fixtures will become associated with a racing attraction.
The most surprising part of Channel 4’s press launch of their vision for racing was that Carl Hicks, IMG’s executive producer of the coverage, did his presentation wearing sunglasses on his head in a dimly-lit Mayfair restaurant.
C4 will broadcast racing on 88 days next year, but star presenter Clare Balding is only contracted to do 40 of them. She will do an extra 20 days of filming for features around the showcase occasions.
Under contract: But Clare Balding will only host 40 races
The first company to show an interest in sponsoring the Grand National — outside bookmakers, who will be a last resort — is understood to be out-of-town fashion chain Matalan. But they might not be considered blue chip enough for the Jockey Club, who control Aintree.
Meanwhile, new QPR manager Harry Redknapp, whose team are chasing their first Premier League win of the season against Fulham on Saturday, will also be hoping for a lot better luck when his horse Hot Whiskey runs the next day in a novice hurdle race at Hereford.
Becks is Euro-bound
Another pointer that David Beckham will base his family in London even if he plays in France next year is that wife Victoria has now been spotted visiting two different west London schools in the last two weeks.
Loaded up on boxing
Lads magazine Loaded have given boxing another TV outlet on their new channel. Promoter Frank Maloney’s fighters will be appearing on albeit low-budget TV boxing shows. However, Maloney’s marquee fighter — heavyweight David Price — will continue to appear on the subscription channel BoxNation.
No sale: Mike Ashley
Ashley's court battle
Newcastle owner Mike Ashley has been prevented from selling Queensberry sports clothing in his Sports Direct empire after a High Court battle this week. Queensberry’s major shareholders, boxing promoter Frank Warren and Planet Hollywood owner Robert Earl, won an injunction and costs against Ashley, pending a full trial.
Murray and Hoy missing
Even the razzmattaz draw of the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year is not enough to attract all 12 short-listed candidates to London’s ExCeL Arena on Sunday for the live event. As well as Andy Murray staying at his training camp in Miami, Sir Chris Hoy is not returning from his 2013 preparation camp in Perth.