Just over 2,200 fans turned up to watch Coventry City’s ‘home’ debut at Sixfields Stadium today.
The match, which kicked off at 3pm, had about 1,000 paying Sky Blues fans, according to Northamptonshire Police, with about 30 more on the hill overlooking the stadium. The official attendance was 2,204.
This compares to the the 3,090 who watched the Cobblers against Rochdale, in February 1996, which is thought to be the stadium’s previous lowest attendance.
The relatively low numbers did provide a boon for some pubs and restaurants nearby, however.
Although staff at some businesses near the stadium were told not to speak to the media about how much prematch custom they had had, it is understood that several were as busy as on a Cobblers matchday.
The Sixfields Tavern and the nearby McDonalds restaurant, for example, were both said to have been packed until just before kick-off.
Meanwhile, Coventry fans at Sixfields remained divided on whether attending the match was the right thing to do, given the dispute between their club and the owners of the Ricoh arena.
Tom Ward, aged 20, from Rugby, said: “The question should be why wouldn’t I be here rather than why am I here. This is where my team are and I go where they go.
“It’s about football not politics.”
But Russ Peterson, a Sky Blues fan from Kingsthorpe, Northampton, who stood outside the ground with a banner, but did not enter Sixfields today, said: “I don’t have anything against those who went inside and I’ll continue to watch Coventry away but I personally don’t want to put another penny in the coffers of Sisu, the club owners.”