Arrests at away games: an alternative table

by Tom Carnduff at The 72

football fans2Trouble at football games, we all hear about it. One bad incident happening between a very small minority of supporters is often seen all over the news, and football fans are often seen as all the same, from an outside perspective anyway. Not only this but it is often fans of certain clubs that are looked upon differently to others, certainly at clubs such as Leeds, Millwall, and Wolves. Supporters at clubs such as these, which often finish at the top end of the annual arrests at games statistics, are not associated with disorder or trouble, much like the majority of people at other clubs. Yet, here we are in the modern day, and there are some suggestions that football is ‘returning to the dark days of the 70s and 80s’ when the truth is that trouble at football games is decreasing, even at the low number it is.

Whilst the number of arrests at games is often seen in various places, what these statistics tend to ignore is the number of fans who travel the length of the country to follow their team. If a comparison of the number of fans who travelled to away games is made with those who were arrested, what it shows is that it really is a tiny minority that get involved in trouble, and also reflects that teams that are associated with causing trouble are not the worst at all.

For this, the numbers used with be from the 2013/14 season, as this was the last full season and therefore the complete statistics are available. Using information from the Home Office’s ‘Football-related arrests and football banning order statistics’ (found on the Home Office’s website) and the average number of away fans from each club last season (found here on, what is created is a true reflection of the number of people involved in trouble, and which club they were associated with. Whilst the average number is not the complete number, it does reflect the average number of fans that travelled to each game with their team. The average is then multiplied by 23 (number of away games in a season) and used with the number of arrests at away games to give a percentage.

There are a couple of clubs that I want to pay special attention to, as they are clubs that are often targeted by the media as being the ones out to cause the most trouble. The first club is Leeds United. Leeds took the highest number of fans to games last season, taking an average of 3046 to every away game they went to. According to the Home Office statistics, Leeds United had 49 arrests at away games for the entire season. When calculated, this works out at just 0.069% of supporters who travelled to away games getting arrested by the police. An incredibly small number of ‘supporters’ when compared to the amount that Leeds took to away grounds for the entire season.

Another club is Wolves. Wolves often take a large following wherever they play, particularly last season when they cruised to the League One title. Wolves finished 2nd in the table, taking an average of 2568 fans to every away game that they were involved in. Wolves also had 37 arrests at these games. When the numbers are calculated together, it shows that just 0.062% were arrested at games. Again, a tiny percentage in comparison to the number of fans at these games.

Millwall are another club who are often associated with violence. However, the truth is that this is another club where the troublemakers really are a tiny fraction of the club’s support. Millwall took, on average, 726 fans to every away game, and sit 37th in the attendance table. This means that 16,698 fans travelled to watch their team play last season. Out of this number, just 17 were arrested. This means that 0.101% of people who were in the crowd with Millwall fans were arrested. Once again, this is a tiny number of people, showing that some clubs are not the troublemakers that they are made out to be.

In total, out of every fan who travelled away with their club in the Championship last season, only 472 were arrested. This means that out of every fan who travelled to watch their team, just 0.061% were arrested. Below is the table for this seasons current Championship sides, what is clear from these results however, is that it truly is a tiny minority of supporters who cause trouble at a game.

Championship fan arrest statistics by club as a percentage*

  1. Blackburn (0.123%)
  2. Birmingham (0.121%)
  3. Derby (0.104%)
  4. Millwall (0.101%)
  5. Middlesborough (0.093%)
  6. Wigan (0.092%)
  7. Sheffield Wednesday (0.074%)
  8. Nottingham Forest (0.073%)
  9. Leeds (0.069%)
  10. Bolton (0.067%)
  11. Rotherham (0.066%)
  12. Blackpool (0.063%)
  13. Wolves (0.062%)
  14. Charlton (0.036%)
  15. Watford (0.035%)
  16. Reading (0.018%)
  17. Huddersfield (0.015%)
  18. Ipswich (0.0116%)
  19. Brentford (0.0112%)
  20. Brighton (0.0111%)
  21. Bournemouth (0.009%)

*This table excludes teams who were relegated to the Championship from the Premier League last season, this is due to a lack of away attendance statistics being available.




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