Fareham Town’s ‘El Creekio’ record crowd is best non-Salisbury attendance in Wessex League for almost 15 years

Fareham’s record-breaking ‘El Creekio’ attendance figure on Bank Holiday Monday was the biggest non-Salisbury crowd in the Wessex League for almost 15 years.

By Simon Carter
Tuesday, 4th January 2022, 3:23 pm
Fareham take on AFC Portchester in front of a crowd of 621 at Cams Alders. Picture: Martin Denyer.
Fareham take on AFC Portchester in front of a crowd of 621 at Cams Alders. Picture: Martin Denyer.

AFC Portchester’s stunning recovery from 0-2 down to win 3-2 was watched by 621 at Cams Alders.

It was the biggest crowd at any Wessex League game since phoenix club Salisbury won the Premier Division title at the first attempt in 2015/16.

The Whites - whose predecessors Salisbury City had been playing in the top flight of non-league football prior to being liquidated - averaged 707 that season, the biggest average in the division since records were kept in 2004/05. The next best is Poole Town’s 262 in 2009/10.

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Salisbury’s biggest crowd in 2015/16 was a superb 1,485 for the city derby with Bemerton Heath three days after Christmas.

Prior to Salisbury’s involvement, the biggest Wessex crowd since 2004 was the 660 who watched the final day title decider between AFC Totton and Gosport Borough in April 2007.

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Fareham already had the best Wessex Premier average crowd before Monday’s derby, but now that figure has been boosted to 271 - up from 199 last season. Yesterday’s attendance was a Wessex record for the club.

Before yesterday, the highest crowd figure was the 503 who watched the PO postcode derby in August between Baffins and Moneyfields (though Baffins have told The News they believe the figure was 518).

That beat, by one (or 16), the crowd figure recorded just 24 hours earlier when Portchester and Fareham drew 2-2 in the first ‘El Creekio’ game of 2021/22.

Only two other Wessex Premier fixtures have attracted over 400 this season - the New Forest derby between Bashley and Brockenhurst (489) and Baffins v Horndean (484).

Elsewhere, Baffins are averaging 168.5 (up 27 per cent, the biggest percentage increase in the division) and Horndean 113 (up three per cent).

Horndean are the only one of the six Portsmouth area clubs not to record their highest Wessex Premier home crowd this season.

The Deans will do well - very well, actually - if they can beat their current record of 766 recorded against Salisbury in April 2016.

That was the night when the visitors won 3-0 to clinch the Premier title, and they still had six games left after that.

US Portsmouth’s crowds are also up, unsurprisingly following last summer’s promotion, by 49 per cent. They are averaging 69.6 with a highest of 125 v Baffins.

Portchester, the best supported side in the Wessex Premier last season, are the only one of the six mainland PO postcode clubs currently with a lower average league crowd (230 compared to 264, a drop of 12.8 per cent).

That could be partly explained by the Royals not living up to the pre-season title favourites tag that they didn’t ask for, but which was hung around their necks by many rival clubs.

On the flipside, Portchester still have some of their most attractive home games to come - Baffins, Moneyfields and Hamworthy.

Overall, the picture is a very healthy one - our local Wessex clubs are attracting far more spectators than they used to.

For comparison purposes, Portchester were the best supported of any Wessex Premier club in 2012/13 - with an average of 106.4. In 2019/20, Bashley (166.4) topped the average attendance table.

With regards to ‘El Creekio’ fixtures, there was a crowd of 168 at Portchester in 2018/19 and 179 at Cams Alders for the return game. Three years later, the two league games were watched by more than 1,000 spectators.