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Coburg Crowds (Help Needed)



From the Coburg Moreland Leader:
Work needed to boost north's VFL crowds
by Kellie Cameron

Attendance figures at Coburg Tigers home games took a nosedive
in the 2002 Victorian Football League season, despite the club
entering its second year of an alignment with AFL big brother

Statistics sought from the VFL, the state's permier football
competition outside the AFL, show that on average, 1260 people
were accounted for at Coburg home games this year.

This was a drop of 467 spectators on 2001, when home games
attracted an average of 1727 people.

VFL administration officer Brad Noonan said "clubs do not have
sophisticated systems for measuring attendance", but added that
the supplied figures "conservatively reflect the situation with
our crowds".

The attendance figures, which do not count children under 15 years
and those who enter after half-time, also fall below that of
neighbour and rival the Northern Bullants.

The Preston-based club continued to increase its share of the
market this season, with a home game crowd average of 1696 people.

From 2003, the Bullants are expected to be aligned with Carlton.

Coburg Tigers football manager Michael Roberts said the club had
"definitely" anticipated more support.

"We're in our second year of the alignment, so we are hoping to

He did, however, question the accuracy of the attendance figures,
saying that entry passes issued from the VFL and clubs "makes it
hard to keep tabs on attendances".

This year's draw contributed to the Tigers' inability to attract
a big crowd he said.

"We had a couple of games that drew differently to last year. We
played Bendigo, Frankston and Springvale at home, and their supporters
don't travel," Roberts said.

"It's the Essendons and Carltons, and other clubs in the area, like
the Northern Bullants, that tend to get big crowds."

Playing away to the Bullants the week Richmond star Matthew
Richardson joined the side was a particular loss for Coburg, with
over 4000 people walking through the Cramer Street gates.

But while the Bullants' crowd increases are positive for the area,
Noonan said the northern suburbs clubs have some work to do if
they are to improve attendances.

"The Northern Bullants and the Coburg Tigers are based just above the
middle of the range when it comes to attendances, but they've
definitely got some work to do," he said.

Noonan said the Box Hill Hawks, the only VFL team in the eastern
suburbs, was the competition frontrunner, with the club averaging
just under 2000 people per home game.

The western area, represented by Williamstown and Werribee, is
second, the northern suburbs follow, while southern teams
Sandringham and Frankston have the lowest attendance rates.

Coburg recorded its biggest crowds in 2000, the year the club
changed its name to the Coburg Lions, reflecting its relationship
with the now defunct Fitzroy Football Club.

The club maintained the increase in 2001, when Richmond made the AFL
finals, but with a poor 2002 season for the AFL Tigers, it
impacted on the VFL side.

But Roberts said it may be a while before Coburg reaches peak crowd
levels again.

"We haven't discussed it yet (improving attendances). We got a
new board as of last night (December 4). It's obviously something
they'll be looking at a a group, but I think we'll be down again
next season.

"We've got eight home games and 10 away," he said.