Bundesliga v EPL – Which league has the best fans and why?

by Vampy

Football Fans.

A group of noisiest, exuberant, brightest, roaring, and football loving people—not to mention “ultras”—that appear at their teams’ stadia every weekend and travel with their teams on every European nights to provide them sheltering support through thick and thin, and stand with them in wins and losses.

Fans can be a driving force in changing the face of the game and their noise can be a sleek difference between a draw and a win.

The voice of fans can jolt the hierarchy of a club and bring in the winds of change if the cub is not going in a right direction and at the same time their constant criticism over a particular player can get the best out of him in miraculous way.

It’s the sheer power of fans that has been behind some incredible stories of some famous “stands” across the football planet; some of legendary status, some tragic.

These supporters can turn in to angels sent by God if you are supporting the visiting team and can make your trip a memorable one with their genuine hospitality or they can turn in to bullies and make you wet your pants by showing their menace, lurking in stands and prowling just around you.

The fans—a mere group of humans but with mighty powers in their hands and voice.

Today we compare Bundesliga fans with Premier League fans and, as a Bundesliga writer, I would advocate that Bundesliga fans are the best and would elaborate—with some questionable yet valid points—that why I feel so.

Attendance

The facts and figures are necessary in discussions because they provide a dimension to convey what you are propagating through arguments and lay much weight on your points to ponder upon.

That being said let’s bring some facts here.

The following set shows the average attendance of these two leagues for the last season:

League         Season         Games         Attendance            Total

EPL              2008/09        380*             35,600                    13, 527, 815**

Bundesliga    2008/09        306*             42,600                    13, 024, 890**

*Bundesliga consists of 18 teams and EPL involves 20 teams which is why the difference in games is being seen.

**Due to the fact that the number of games being played is unequal still than the total attendance of EPL is not THAT ahead.

If the figures of premierleague.com are to be believed than the average attendance stands at 32,691, and if you follow soccernet.espn.go.com stats then you will end up with 34,150. I did my calculations generously and gave EPL 35,600 approximate.

Bundesliga is second to NFL in holding an average attendance at major sporting events. NFL tops the chart with mammoth average attendance of 68250 approximate.

The number of average attendance in Bundesliga will surely surge this season as Kaiserslautern and St. Pauli make a return to Bundesliga through promotions.

If you are curious then La Liga held an average attendance of 29,000 despite the monster Camp Nou stadium which can hold 90,000 spectators but in Spain you will find many clubs like Villarreal that their stadiums can accommodate 35,000 football fans but the population of their town no more exceeds than 25,000.

Serie A drawn an average attendance of 25,300 and French Ligue1 attracted an average attendance of 20,000 approximate for last season.

The list of “Average attendances of European Football Clubs for season 2008-2009” has representation of nine German clubs and three English clubs in its top 20’s.

All these facts and figures speak volume of passion by Bundesliga fans but one might say that the size of stadium does matters.

If you are thinking the very thing then your perception can be defeated by the fact that every match in Bundesliga is almost fully-packed with stadiums be it Bayern Munich or Hoffenheim which is not the case in Premier League.

Obviously, one may argue that the fact Stamford Bridge can’t hold more than 45,000 spectators and same goes with Anfield then what are the odds if either of the stadiums had the capacity that of match-able to Signal Iduna Park? Then one argument can be thrown that the percentage of empty seats was recorded higher in EPL as compared to Bundesliga.

Why do the Bundesliga fans rush and roar in to stadiums to watch their teams from across the Europe? This brings us to the second point.

Low-Cost Tickets with Maximum Entertainment

Die-hard supporters show their following by wearing their team shirt, buying wall posters of their club legends, downloading documentaries via internet, and buying the season tickets or at most attending few important games of the season.

English Premier League fans are scrutinized with a fact that they have to pay some extravagant amount of money to buy season tickets of their favourite teams.

Arsenal tops the list as they charge staggering £1825 for the season tickets. The cheapest season tickets in English Premier League are handed out by Wigan Athletic at the cost of £295.

The amounts of price at which English clubs sell their season tickets are shown below:

Arsenal - £1,825
Tottenham Hotspur – £1,695
Chelsea - £1,210
Ipswich Town – £1,001 (Managed by Mighty Roy Keane in Championship)
Newcastle United - £975
Manchester United - £931
West Ham – £850
Fulham – £799
Liverpool – £785
Birmingham – £638
Manchester City – £632

There are lot of London-Based clubs leading the most expensive ticket queue, no wonder!

If you are not a season ticket holder and want to occasionally watch the match at the stadium, then average ticket’s price is £37.40 while you will be required to pay slightly higher if the match happens to be a derby or some important clash.

Manchester United’s Old Trafford records the highest amount of average attendance in EPL with 75043. Watching a match at the best stand there i.e. North/South Stand Centre will cost you £49. The least price of ticket will leave you at East Lower Stand at the rate of £27.

Manchester United recorded that 59% of supporters—who had season tickets last season—have voted in poll that they might not renew the season tickets for 2010/11 season and 15% voted that they might give up going to Old Trafford entirely.

Signal Iduna Park, the home of Borussia Dortmund, has the highest average attendance in Bundesliga per season which mounts to +70000. Their last season’s average attendance was recorded at 73097. What you pay to have season ticket for Signal Iduna Park? £150!

Where Manchester United were being in short of season ticket holders at the start of this season then at the same time Borussia Dortmund set a record of selling 51200 season tickets. They have been setting the record of selling highest season tickets four years in a row where they sold 50000 season tickets last season.

Schalke04 came second who sold +43000 followed by Bayern Munich who managed to sell +37000 season tickets.

The Kop End at Liverpool, the most sacred stand in football history, will cost you £43 to watch a game from there.

Südtribüne, the “Holy Grail” of football stands that can hold up 30000 people for 90 minutes, will cost you £11.

50+1 Rule Remains

Football is about the fans, the supporters. This game can not be imagined without them. In fact, no game has any meaning without the support and if you allow them some involvement in your game then it’s gold!

“50+1” is a rule in Bundesliga. To be true with you, it is the secret behind the success of this league in every aspect. Economic balance, profitability, solvency of the clubs, and dedicated support of the fans merge in this rule.

It is a testimony which enables Bundesliga to claim the title of “league of harmony”.

The rule ensures that within strict rules the club members should own 50 percent plus one share of voting rights, sensible wage-structure along with cheap tickets at all levels, little debt issue, and a bright youth system with an emphasis on home-grown talents which eventually helps feed the national team at international stages.

The remaining 49 percent is made available for the potential investors; which mean that a bidder can own maximum of 49% shares within the clubs. Now, this situation is not an ideal one for some Abrahimovics, Sheikhs, and Glazers who own 100% of the club in EPL but it ensures one thing on other hand for Bundesliga that no club will go in to mountain debts and will preserve the health of the club for foreseeable time.

However; it doesn’t mean that owning 49% can’t bring you big profits. Hoffenheim’s major shares holder Dietmar Hopp is a software tycoon and has poured million in the club to make the team competitive yet he has bared the fruits of profit at the end of every season.

Only two teams, Bayer Leverkusen and Wolfsberg don’t work under “50+1” rule because those two clubs were invented under two companies and have long affiliation with them—Bayer Pharmaceuticals and Volkswagen respectively.

Now, recently, Matin Kind proposed against “50+1” rule and advocated that the things must be changed because he wants to invest heavily in the club Hannover96 to make the best out of it and to make it more competitive.

End result? He was slammed by all the parties involved. Thirty-two clubs voted against it, three clubs abstained from voting and just one club Hannover themselves voted for the proposal.

What proved the driving force behind DFL’s decision to go against the proposal was 100,000 signatures of fans from all the clubs voting against the proposal and making a firm stand on a single point: “50+1 Must Remain!”

If English Premier League’s governing body FA and its pivotal figure Scudamore can decide something on the petition of fans’ signatures? I doubt that and would be ready to place my bottom dollar on that.

Breath-Taking Atmosphere with Huge Stadiums

Football games are all about creating a breath-taking atmosphere and it’s impossible without the passionate supporters.

Germany showers itself in colourful display every weekend when the time of football matches approaches. The clamour, wall of noise, beating of drums, fans throwing friendly banter at each others, flags and banners, crackling sound made by crates of beers, and thousand of swaying souls come alive at one place to create an atmosphere and the ambience that will continue to grow with future generations as traditions.

If you are an outsider then you will be amazed when the traffic inspectors will welcome you to the cities and will tell you that: “You here to watch football match? For you, the travel is free!”

It’s no wonder that people from outside the Germany including England come to spend their weekend there due to low cost tickets and low-fare charges but with an experience of lifetime that lives long and remains tattooed at the walls of mind.

Bundesliga is the best supported friendly league in all Europe—if not the world—which caters primarily for fans.

“In Germany, every game has the feel of league cup final”—said the man on the road to redemption, Steve McClaren, who once led his Middlesbrough side to League Cup victory at Millennium Stadium. He is currently managing VFL Wolfsberg in Bundesliga and was left stunned at the breath-taking view of famous “Yellow Wall” at Signal Iduna Park, when his side made a trip there in his first month of the charge.

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