Bluebirds’ home woes see fans vote with feet after lowest crowd of season

Cardiff City’s 0-0 draw against Blackburn Rovers on Tuesday night was watched by 17,131 fans

CARDIFF City have a golden chance to score some rare goals with the visit of struggling Stoke City tomorrow (3pm).

The Bluebirds battled to a point against Blackburn Rovers on a cold wet Tuesday night to stop the rot after a run of three defeats, which culminated in a 4-1 thrashing at Norwich City.

But while a draw was better than a defeat the game won’t live long in the memory of any of the fans in attendance. Cardiff are without a home goal in six hours of football and they haven’t won a home game since December.

It’s not surprising then that the number of people watching Cardiff’s home games is shrinking. The Blackburn fixture brought the smallest Championship home crowd of the season so far with 17,131.

Any chairman will tell you attendance is money. Lower crowds means less income for the club. Less fans spending less money on pies and pints on a matchday.

Attendance at the Cardiff City Stadium has decreased significantly of late.

And some of the fans who were in the stadium on Tuesday made their frustrations known. Midfielder Ryan Wintle appeared to argue with supporters in the Ninian Stand after they vented their annoyance at him for a series of poor set-piece deliveries.

It didn’t start this way. The first eight home fixtures of the season, when Cardiff were playing free-flowing football after the return of Aaron Ramsey, saw City record an average home attendance of 22,031, some 5,000 higher than the attendance for the Blackburn game.

The 2021/22 season, which began with Mick McCarthy at the helm before Steve Morison took over, saw Cardiff record their lowest average home attendance for five years – 18,869. However, last season the Bluebirds increased their average attendance to 19,020, perhaps due to a fierce relegation battle which prompted to Cardiff fans to get behind their team.

So far this season, the Bluebirds are averaging a 20,403 crowd at the CCS, which does show an improvement on the previous two seasons. However, attendance is sliding by the fixture amid Cardiff’s poor run of form.

After Cardiff’s 3-0 defeat by Leeds in January in front of 25,991 fans, home crowds have dropped. The crowd for the next home game against Preston North End fell to 18,763 and the ensuing Blackburn attendance dropped to 17,131. The second lowest home crowd of the season so far was 17,669 for Birmingham City – also a midweek match under the lights.

The lowest attendance for a fixture in the 2021/22 season was 16,882. Last season’s smallest home crowd was 16,150.

Cardiff City could record their smallest home crowd of the last five seasons if their slump in form continues

If the Bluebirds continue their attacking slump attendances are unlikely to increase and that would bring them close to the smallest crowds of the last five seasons as Cardiff edge towards a mid-table finish with little to play for.

Manager Erol Bulut insisted that Tuesday’s 0-0 draw would be a confidence boost for his players who have scored just three goals in their last seven Championship matches and are now closer to the relegation places than the play-off spots.

“Maybe at home the players do feel some pressure,” said the Cardiff manager.

“The Blackburn game was a game for us to get our confidence back and I think it was a good game.

“It was a good start but now on Saturday we’ve got to continue that and get the three points. We should only be looking up the table.”

Stoke City arrive in the Welsh capital in 19th position, just three points ahead of QPR in a relegation spot, having lost four and won one of their last five. They have scored more than one goal just once in the last 15 games.