Premier League attendances suffer decrease

LONDON - Attendances at English Premier League games are down by an average of 920 fans per game this season, according to an investigation by Britain's Daily Telegraph.

The biggest losers are Newcastle United, with a drop-off of 4,631 fans per game with Sunderland also badly hit at 3,010 down.

Blackburn Rovers, Everton and Wigan Athletic all suffered drops of more than 1,000.

The league average is almost 1,000-a-week down from last season's 50-year record of 36,076 -- though this season's figure is slightly distorted after Manchester United's home game with Fulham in August was postponed due to UEFA Super Cup commitments.

Nevertheless, even the English and European champions are feeling the pinch of the global economic crisis having failed to sell out Old Trafford's 76,180 seats for any game this season.

The investigation revealed that as of Wednesday none of the weekend's fixtures were sold out, even Sunday's high-profile clashes when Chelsea play Arsenal and Manchester City take on Manchester United.

Attendances are also down in Leagues One and Two, with the Championship bucking the trend with a slight increase, the Telegraph said on Friday.

Liverpool and Everton have announced slight cuts in ticket prices as a result of the government's decision to cut VAT and the rest of the Premier League clubs have pledged to follow suit.