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|20 years of attendances at Adams Park - Part 1|
To commerate the 20 year
anniversary of the move from the much loved Loakes Park to Adams Park, COTN takes a look at the high and lows at the ground that has seen so many
exciting games and fabulous memories.
When Adams Park was completed in August 1990, the safety capacity was set at 6,000, even though this was considerably lower than its actual physical capacity. These strict regulations followed on from the disasters at Valley Parade and Hillsborough in the 1980's.
The club left Loakes Park with an average league attendance of 1,890 and it rose to 2,794 in the first season at Adams Park. No doubt the success of Martin O'Neill's attractive team played a significant part in that increase, with the first sell-out coming against Peterborough United in the second round of the F.A. Cup, complete with that iconic image of John Motson with his sheepskin coat on a snowbound Adams Park. No doubt reaching Wembley for the first time in 34 years and winning the F.A. Trophy helped the attendances grow too.
Highest cup - 5,695 v Peterborough United 12th December 1990 FA Cup 2nd Round
Highest league - 4,402 v Barnet 29th April 1991
Lowest league - 1,657 v Gateshead 18th April 1991
Average league - 2,794
The capacity of Adams Park was increased to 7,200 around the start of the second season at Adams Park and it was an illustration of the speedy growth of the club under Martin O'Neill. The average attendance climbed again to just over 3,600, as the Club missed out on promotion to the Football League on goal difference.
Highest cup - 5,299 v Kettering Town 27th November 1991 FA Cup 1st Round Replay
Highest league - 6,035 v Witton Albion 2nd May 1992
Lowest league - 2,275 v Farnborough Town 18th March 1992
Average league - 3,606
Success on the pitch reached new heights and so did the attendances. Almost 7,000 watched the second round F.A. Cup tie with West Bromwich Albion despite it being shown live on Sky on a Sunday lunchtime and the 7,000 barrier was smashed in a title-decider of sorts with Slough Town, officially 7,230 watched the game within Adams Park, with hundreds left to watch up on the hillsides behind the Woodlands Terrace. A glorious non-league double was won, and the average rose yet again to 4,606.
Highest cup - 6,904 v West Bromwich Albion FA Cup 2nd Round
Highest league - 7,230 v Slough Town 23rd March 1993
Lowest league - 3,290 v Gateshead 29th August 1993
Average league - 4,606
When Wycombe Wanderers realised their ambition of League Football in 1993, the capacity of Adams Park was increased to 9,000. There was more excitement and more success on the pitch with the third round of the FA Cup being reached for only the third time in the clubs history. The side also reached the Southern area final of the Autoglass Trophy but the greatest success came with promotion to the second division via the play-offs, with a memorable Wembley triumph over Preston North End. The average home league crowd rose again to 5,484.
Highest cup - 7,802 v Norwich City 8th January 1994 FA Cup 3rd Round
Highest league - 7,442 v Preston North End 7th May 1994
Lowest league - 4,289 v Scarborough 2nd November 1993
Average league - 5,484
It was the visit from West Ham United that finally broke the 9,000 barrier in the third round of the FA Cup in January 1995. The team finished in its highest position to date, 6th in the third tier of English football, and it would usually have been enough to secure a play-off place but due to league restructuring, the side missed out and it signalled the end of an incredible five years, with Martin O'Neill leaving to become manager of first division Norwich City. The average league attendance climbed to a record 5,856.
Highest cup - 9,007 v West Ham United 7th January 1995 FA Cup 3rd Round
Highest league - 7,650 v Oxford United 15th April 1995
Lowest league - 4,388 v Swansea City 1st October 1994
Average league - 5,856
The arrival of Alan Smith and the decline of the teams performances and results had a similar affect on the crowds. The average fell to 4,572, the club's lowest in the Football League until the 2010/11 season. Another record low for a Football League game at Adams Park was the 2,836 who watched the 1-1 draw with Rotherham United.
Highest cup - 7,443 v Manchester City 19th September 1995 League Cup 2nd Round 1st Leg
Highest league - 6,727 v Oxford United 8th April 1996
Lowest league - 2,836 v Rotherham United 16th April 1996
Average league - 4,572
The capacity of Adams Park increased to 10,000 following the construction of The Woodlands Stand in 1996 although many supporters still feel to this day that the atmosphere at Adams Park has never recovered. The 8,000 barrier was beaten for the first time, when 8,438 watched the goalless draw with Watford. The sacking of Smith and the great escape from relegation under new boss John Gregory helped the average climb back up to 5,231.
Highest cup - 6,310 v Nottingham Forest 24th September 1996 League Cup 2nd Round 2nd Leg
Highest league - 8,438 v Watford 22nd February 1997
Lowest league - 3,438 v Rotherham United 1st October 1996
Average league - 5,231
Apart from the departure of manager John Gregory to Aston Villa two-thirds through the season, the 1997-98 campaign was largely uneventful and the attendances generally reflected this, although the average did rise again to 5,413.
Highest cup - 4,360 v Fulham 12th August 1997 League Cup 1st Round 1st Leg
Highest league - 8,090 v Watford 26th December 1997
Lowest league - 3,635 v Wrexham 18th November 1997
Average league - 5,413
The 1998/99 season saw another change in the hot-seat with Neil Smillie sacked, and Lawrie Sanchez arrive to pull off mission impossible. The average did fall slightly but remained above the 5,000 barrier.
Highest cup - 5,698 v Middlesborough 22nd September 1998 League Cup 2nd Round 2nd Leg
Highest league - 8,129 v Manchester City 10th November 1998
Lowest league - 3,361 v Wrexham 20th October 1998
Average league - 5,121
Attendances at Adams Park became something of an issue after manager Lawrie Sanchez's outburst after the second round second leg league cup tie with West Brom. The gaffer was disappointed that only 5,047 people turned up to see a pulsating game. There was even loose talk of the club moving to Milton Keynes! Unlike the previous season there was no relegation battle as the team finished comfortably in mid-table. The average home league attendance was marginally down on the previous season.
Highest cup - 5,047 v West Bromwich Albion 21st September 1999 League Cup 2nd Round 2nd Leg
Highest league - 7,042 v Reading 2nd October 1999
Lowest league - 3,821 v Wigan Athletic 21st March 2000
Average league - 5,104
Adams Park attendances - Part 2 (2000/2001 to 2009/2010) >>>>>>
The move to Adams Park in August 1990 - what they said
The Adams Park sell-outs
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