Round nine A-League crowds were down 32 per cent from the previous week as fans made good on their promise to boycott games as a protest against Football Federation Australia.
A season low 40,406 fans made their way through the turnstiles for five matches – down from 59,255 in round eight and almost 2,500 less than round five when only four games were played.
Sydney FC, Wellington, Western Sydney, Adelaide and Central Coast all hosted fixtures and 17,494 fewer fans went through the gates based on their previous home matches.
The Mariners fared the worst with just over 4,500 turning up for the clash with Melbourne City – the second-lowest attendance in the club’s history.
Sydney FC’s ‘The Cove’ joined the boycott with only 9,155 fans heading to Allianz Stadium to see the Sky Blues’ 1-0 win over Newcastle.
Club CEO Tony Pignata admitted the players were put off by the lack of their most vocal supporters.
“We really missed them, and speaking to some of the players they felt that as well,” Pignata told AAP.
If Sydney FC players felt the silence then it must have been positively eerie for those in the red and black of Western Sydney.
So often a cacophony of drums, chants and colour, Pirtek Stadium’s North Terrace was empty for the Wanderers’ dramatic 2-1 win over Brisbane in front of just 9,680 fans – 4,746 fewer than their previous home game against the Phoenix two weeks earlier.
“They (fans) have their grievance (but) we want them back as soon as possible. I’d love to see them behind the goals, filled to capacity, against the Victory next week,” said Wanderers boss Tony Popovic.
Supporters initially staged walk-outs in round eight following the FFA’s inaction over a NewsCorp report that named and shamed 198 banned supporters.
They were further angered by the lack of a transparent policy whereby fans could dispute match bans handed down by the FFA and a subsequent press conference by CEO David Gallop who urged fans to “use your energy from now on in a positive way.”
Gallop has since apologised and said there would be a new process for contesting bans in place by February.
Wanderers CEO John Tsatsimas said he would like that process brought forward while fan groups have not made it clear if they’ll continue to boycott games.