The English Premier League saw a small decrease in attendance during 2016-17, despite a huge increase in supporter numbers at Liverpool and West Ham United.

The average gate of 35,822 was down 1.8 per cent compared to 2015-16. 95.4 per cent of seats were filled in 2016-17, compared to 95.9 per cent in 2014-15 and 2015-16.

Manchester United and Arsenal were again the top two best supported clubs, and each sold out more than 99 per cent of tickets over the course of the season.

West Ham, Manchester City and Liverpool all sold more than a million tickets and had average attendances of more than 50,000. West Ham saw average attendance increase by more than 60 per cent after they switched from Upton Park to the London Stadium, with a total gate of 1.08m.

Liverpool were aided by their capacity being raised to 53,000 and sold one million home tickets for the first time since 1979-80. In total they filled 1.01m seats at Anfield.

The overall drop can be explained by the absence of Newcastle United and Aston Villa, who both have large fan bases but were relegated in 2015-16. Newcastle had an average of almost 50,000 last year, while Villa attracted more than 33,000 and Norwich City 27,000. While newcomers Middlesbrough recorded an average attendance of 33,000, Hull City and Burnley could only attract around 20,000.

Hull had the lowest take-up figure in the Premier League as they filled only 81 per cent of seats during 2016-17. Sunderland (84 per cent) and West Bromwich Albion (89 per cent) were the only other clubs with a figure of less than 90 per cent.

Football League sees 60-year high

The addition of Newcastle and Villa helped the English Football League (EFL) to attract its three tiers’ largest average attendance in almost 60 years.

Over 18 million people passed through EFL turnstiles during the 2016-17 campaign with clubs recording their highest cumulative attendances since 1959.

EFL clubs saw an 11 per cent increase in matchday attendances from 2015-16, while there was a three per cent attendance increase when comparing the 67 clubs that competed in the EFL both this season and last.

Championship attendances passed the 11 million mark with average crowds of over 20,000.

“Football attendances clearly benefit from promotion and relegation as those teams carrying larger supporter bases move around divisions,” said EFL chief executive, Shaun Harvey.

“But what is particularly pleasing with this latest set of data is the fact the EFL has seen a three per cent growth season-on-season when this factor is removed and you analyse the attendances of the 67 clubs who have been members for the past two seasons.”