Monday, 2 February 2004 12:00 AM
Just under 20,000 fans have passed through the gates of Bob Jane Stadium in the last week to watch South Melbourne play two of their biggest blockbuster games this year. The Australia Day game versus Perth Glory set a season record with 11,641 fans attending while Saturday night’s final derby against the Knights drew 8,120.
South Melbourne CEO said “It is very pleasing to see the team getting the support they deserve leading up to finals”. The nil-all draw against Perth Glory was one of this season’s highest quality games while South’s four-nil win over the Knights further cemented their final’s campaign. Patterson went on to say, “the great crowds we have been getting not only help us with our application to the new league, but they also lift the players to a higher playing level.” Along with Perth Glory and Adelaide United, South Melbourne has consistently attracted 8,000+ supporters per home game.
“It is clear that South Melbourne, Perth and Adelaide are streets ahead of the rest of the league in terms of home town support” Patterson commented. “If the new league is to be successful, 10,000 plus crowds should become the norm with blockbuster games attracting 15,000 – 20,000 at least. South Melbourne is well on the way to achieving this level of public interest,” he added.
Commenting on the crowd behaviour reports Patterson said “these reports grossly over exaggerated the crowd behavioural problems we expected. Given the nature of the last ever clash between the two clubs the crowd controllers and police did a wonderful job managing the supporters of both teams”. “The club was bitterly disappointed that there were problems at all and should any of our supporters be found to have been involved in any unacceptable behaviour then we will ban them from future games” he went on to say.
South’s final home game will be against Northern Spirit on Sunday 22nd February at the revised time of 6:30pm. The club has many plans for the day with two unique curtain raiser matches including a women’s match and outside promotions from a major retail outlet. With the second spot on the table still in close contention, South is urging all fans to support their team at Bob Jane Stadium. AS PART OF THE PROMOTION OF THE DAY ALL WOMEN WILL ADMITTED FREE TO THE MATCH.