Cornellà-El Prat also suffers from the effects of disaffection with football

BarcelonaLiving in no man’s land does not seduce Espanyol’s fans. At least the less loyal fans. This is confirmed by the attendance figures in Cornellà-El Prat, which this year has suffered a significant drop compared to the year of the decline. If only the 13 league matches without capacity restrictions for the covid are taken into account, the average number of spectators this year is 17,826 spectators, 24% less than those registered in the 13 days of the 2019-20 academic year in what was public: 23,513. That means a drop of 5,687 viewers just two years apart. If we consider the first four days of the current League, with restrictions, the average is 17,399 spectators.

Average attendance and points as a local at RCDE Stadium

Data on league matches, with two games to go in the last season

The average number of spectators this year is the worst in the history of Cornellà-El Prat, as it exceeds 17,847 spectators in the 2017-18 season. The current white-and-blue stadium has already experienced five different audience dynamics: three drops and two ups. The effect for the new stadium was gradually losing strength. From its inauguration in the 2009-10 season (27,861) to the 2014-15 season (18,657), the RCDE Stadium fell by an average of 9,204 spectators (-33%). It wasn’t until the arrival of Chen Yansheng in 2015-16 that there was a revitalizing effect on the stands. In his first year and a half he raised attendance to 20,383 fans per first-year match with Quique Sánchez Flores. The irregularity of the team in the second year with the Madrid led to a new desertion at the stadium (17,847 spectators in 2017-18). The excitement generated by Rubi and the European classification led to the second revival in the stands of the Chen era. The following year, attendance remained high despite the struggle for relegation due to the promotions the club launched to spur the fans. The stands responded, but the team did not avoid falling into hell. In Cornellà-El Prat a phenomenon is repeated that was already experienced in Montjuïc: the less faithful are only encouraged to go to the stadium when things are going very well or very badly.

This year’s decline in viewers is explained by different factors. One of them, but not the only one, is sports. In the year of his return to Primera, Espanyol has fulfilled its goal of ensuring permanence (not yet mathematical, but virtual), although it has not been able to approach more ambitious goals. The team’s game, on the other hand, has not been very bright in many games. In the last game, against Rayo Vallecano, the fans charged against Rufete, whom he pointed out as one of the main people responsible for the dynamics of the team.

Schedules and covid also affect

Sports, however, is not the only factor that has led to a sharp drop in attendance this year. It should be noted, at the outset, that three of the most prominent rivals in the league (Villarreal, Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid) visited the RCDE Stadium at the beginning of the season, when there were still capacity restrictions. (30%, 40% and 60%, respectively), in addition to the fear of contagion which, at that time, still maintained a large part of society. Those three matches brought together a total of 49,793 spectators. The last time these three teams had visited the Espanyol stadium, with the public, they gathered 72,228 fans, 22,435 more (31% more).

In other words, the restrictions caused by the pandemic prevented Cornellà-El Prat from dressing up in front of the visit of three of the most attractive rivals. To this element must be added another equally important one: the interweekly days. This season Espanyol have played 6 of the 17 home games (35%) away from the weekends. This is the second season with more matches played between Monday and Friday, tied with 2015-16 and 2018-19 and only surpassed by the eight games of 2017-18. Schedules that do not always accompany, capacity restrictions in front of some of the greats of the League and a team that has not just taken flight, three ingredients that have caused the stands of the RCDE Stadium did not shine in the his return to Primera.

Six points off the record

The disillusionment experienced by part of the fans for the team’s sporting dynamics, which is now closer to the decline (9 points) that Europe (13) contrasts with the performance of Vicente’s team Moreno this course as a local. Espanyol have added 31 points to their fans this year, a figure that makes them the seventh best team in the league at their stadium. In fact, if the white-and-blues are able to win the last two games at home, against Osasuna and Valencia, they would climb to 37 points and thus surpass the historical record of points at this stage: the 36 of the 2018-19 season, with Rubi. It would be the third best score as a local (in First, since last year in Second they got 48 points) since the beginning of the 21st century, only surpassed by the 41 points of the 2004-05, with Miguel Ángel Lotina, and the 38 of 2001-02, with Paco Flores, both in Montjuïc.



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