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Thread: Attendances in the '60s and '70s

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    Attendances in the '60s and '70s

    It is a 'fact' often bandied about that attendances at LoI matches in the 60s and 70s were mythically huge - my first experience of LoI football was in St. Mels in the mid '70s - I remember biggish -5,000? - crowds when Rovers and Bohs came around, but otherwise no bigger than most EL games now.

    It is my suspicion that while some games -Dublin derbies, Cup finals - would have attracted much bigger crowds than they do now, run of the mill games were relatively sparsely attended. Has anyone any concrete, unaddled evidence, or even some figures?
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    Look at the size of the grounds FFS, there's no way Richmond ever held more than 7-8,000 (and I'm not saying it reached that). Its the same throughout the league.
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    At Shamrock Rovers when I was a kid, the big crowds were bigger - 20,000+ for vital league and FAI Cup games - but games against less attractive opposition meant crowds of 'only' 6-10,000.
    What was amazing was how rapidly attendances dipped in the early 1970s. I remember 22,000 at Milltown - the place was jammed - for a game against Cork Hibs. Two years' later we played Dundalk in front of about 600.

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    Cork Derby Games 1973/4

    I remember Cork Hibs v Cork Celtic games from that era attracting 22,000+ All ticket Affairs in particular at Flower Lodge when both side were closing in on the League Title.
    Turners Cross would squeeze 14,000 in..back in the Day!

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    Finn Harps got big crowds in the early 70s...The difference with crowd sizes nowadays is ground capacities for safety reasons, TV football (no live matches back then ...only edited highlights on a Saturday night) and lack of other entertainment venues.

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    That Waterford v Pats game is a cup final so doesn't really count (BTW that was the Pats crowd...)
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    Quote Originally Posted by tawdy-morssey View Post
    heres a pic of waterford v pats in 1980,
    (look at crowd in back round)
    http://www.trueblues.zoomshare.com/a...3020/image.jpg

    and another one of waterford v cork hibs
    http://www.trueblues.zoomshare.com/a...0940/image.jpg
    Are they not Cup Finals in Dalymount ? I agree that attendances have dipped since the halcyon years - but Finals do nothing to prove that.

    2005 FAI Cup Final = over 25,000 attendance. Highly likely to be more than in those 2 games/pictures you've posted (Dalymount's capacity was below that figure in those days if I recall correctly).

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    First Team sonofstan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dcfcsteve View Post
    Are they not Cup Finals in Dalymount ? I agree that attendances have dipped since the halcyon years - but Finals do nothing to prove that.

    2005 FAI Cup Final = over 25,000 attendance. Highly likely to be more than in those 2 games/pictures you've posted (Dalymount's capacity was below that figure in those days if I recall correctly).

    First game i remember being at in Dalymount - an international in '75 - the capacity was 29,000 I think? (not including the shed roof)
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    Quote Originally Posted by sonofstan View Post
    First game i remember being at in Dalymount - an international in '75 - the capacity was 29,000 I think? (not including the shed roof)
    It wasnt that high when City crammed three-quarters of the place for the 1989 Cup Final. We'd around the 15-16,000 mark crammed into the terraces Hillsborough-stylee - maybe slightly higher - but Dundalk had a poor turn-out of only a few thousand behind one of the nets.

    Someone take a wee duke on The Dalymount Trust website to confirm.....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Billy Lord View Post
    At Shamrock Rovers when I was a kid, the big crowds were bigger - 20,000+ for vital league and FAI Cup games - but games against less attractive opposition meant crowds of 'only' 6-10,000.
    What was amazing was how rapidly attendances dipped in the early 1970s. I remember 22,000 at Milltown - the place was jammed - for a game against Cork Hibs. Two years' later we played Dundalk in front of about 600.
    Interesting that the fall off was so dramatic. Did this coincide with the start of live English football being broadcast?

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    I think the 60`s was when loi football hit its peak attendance wise. The History of Dundalk FC book out 2 years ago reported a crowd of 22,000 for the Shield Final of 1966 v Shamrock Rovs in Oriel. There was a great photo in the book of the place jam packed and new stand under construction.

    Early 70`s with mass emigration saw most clubs report almost collapse in support and we were back to low thousands or high hundreds, but i think things improved mid/late 70`s.

    The 80`s weren`t great for crowds. rovs/dundalk/athlone/limerick the main title winners of the decade (and bohs) would have all struggled to get 3 or 4,000 and I can recall an all time low in 1987 when less than 10,000 turned up at Dalymount for the FAI Cup final between Dundalk and Rovers.

    A year later 20,000 were in the ground for Dundalk v Derry, (mainly due to derry mass support) and Cork v Derry a year late also got a similar crowd, then St Francis v Bray 29,000 is still a modern day record, after that cup finals fizzled out at between 10 to 15,000 on avg.

    euro games from our side, i can recall the following

    79 v celtic 22,000
    81 v spurs 18,000
    82 v liverpool 17,000
    88 v ajax 5,000

    Def the 60`s were the hey day. Our more senior contributors will know more........................

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    Wasn't there 24,000 at last years' cup final?
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    Quote Originally Posted by OneRedArmy View Post
    Interesting that the fall off was so dramatic. Did this coincide with the start of live English football being broadcast?
    That's the orthodoxy, I'm not sure how much truth there is in it. Sonofstan's post is a salient one, the theory is just too neat to be accepted unreservedly. I'd wager that most of the figures in this thread are vastly inflated, particularly in an age when attendances went unrecorded (how things change, eh) and terracing militated against accurate estimates. My dad used to watch Pat's in the 50s and 60s and the attendances he reported were obviously, as Dodge noted, implausible.
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    Well if you think crowds are poor now... in 1973 (i think, Billy L will confirm) went to see Rovers v Athlone on a Satuday afternoon in Milltown... the crowd that day was a mighty 61 ... we won 1-0 . That day for me and anyone who was there is like our "GPO" momnet... proud to be able to say we attended... I bet Billy Lord (both of them) was there

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    No urban myth here - Attendances in the 1970 thru 1975 period (earliest I can remember) were a solid 10K with routinely 15K/20K + for bigger games. Attendances in Cork fell off with the arrival of cable TV but more so with mass disillusion over the demise of dearly beloved Cork Hibernians and Cork Celtic in '76 and '79.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dcfcsteve View Post
    It wasnt that high when City crammed three-quarters of the place for the 1989 Cup Final. We'd around the 15-16,000 mark crammed into the terraces Hillsborough-stylee - maybe slightly higher - but Dundalk had a poor turn-out of only a few thousand behind one of the nets.

    Someone take a wee duke on The Dalymount Trust website to confirm.....
    You played Cork City in the 1989 Cup final and i can assure you the crowd was 50/50 because i was there

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    Quote Originally Posted by BohsPartisan View Post
    Wasn't there 24,000 at last years' cup final?
    yeah. 23,000 Drogs fans according to them.....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sheridan View Post
    That's the orthodoxy, I'm not sure how much truth there is in it. Sonofstan's post is a salient one, the theory is just too neat to be accepted unreservedly. I'd wager that most of the figures in this thread are vastly inflated, particularly in an age when attendances went unrecorded (how things change, eh) and terracing militated against accurate estimates. My dad used to watch Pat's in the 50s and 60s and the attendances he reported were obviously, as Dodge noted, implausible.

    That's my feeling alright - I think in the 60s and into the 70s football was still the mass sport in all of our cities except Galway and in the football towns - Dundalk and Drogheda, Athlone, Sligo - in a way that's not true now; nevertheless, for a variety of sociological reasons that go back to the dawn of the game, the habit of regular attendance was never as deep rooted here as in Britain or even the North.

    Sheridan is right about the unreliability of memory and estimates based thereon; not 3 years ago most Cork fans thought their attendances were way in excess of what they actually were; 3 decades will multiply the index of unreliability. I know we all stood closer together, than modern standards of safety and personal hygiene would allow, and peeed where we stood - or on the trouser leg in front - but i would still hazard a guess that - outside of Rovers, the Cork clubs, Waterford (in the late 60s) and Dundalk - attendance probably weren't even double what they are now. And, as Calcio Jack says above, there were a great many 3 men and a dog occasions.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dcfcsteve View Post
    Are they not Cup Finals in Dalymount ? I agree that attendances have dipped since the halcyon years - but Finals do nothing to prove that.

    2005 FAI Cup Final = over 25,000 attendance. Highly likely to be more than in those 2 games/pictures you've posted (Dalymount's capacity was below that figure in those days if I recall correctly).


    Dalymount once had 47000 people attend a game there [dont think UEFA would approve these days]

    The crowd in those 1980 pics would have been 25000 crowd

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    DCFC

    I was at that cup final of 87, we were allocated school/shed end and 1/3 of side terracing. True Derry had massive support, maybe 14,000/6,000 in their favour

    BohsPartizan - yes that was correct, 24,000 at last years final (20,000 cork and 4,000 drogs)

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