The attendance at Burnley’s Premier League match on Tuesday at Old Trafford against Manchester United was 75,356, the third highest league gate of the current season at the biggest club ground in the UK and one of the biggest in Europe.
Only Southampton (39 more) and Stoke City (32 more) have attracted a larger crowd to Old Trafford this season. Interestingly there were fewer people present for the visits of both Liverpool and Chelsea. Manchester City calling in to the Theatre of Dreams in April may be a different matter of course.
From a Clarets point of view, Tuesday’s attendance also set a new club record, it was the biggest crowd ever to watch a League fixture involving Burnley FC and the biggest ever to watch Burnley at a club ground. It surpassed by 236 the club’s previous record of 75,120, which was set, not surprisingly, at Old Trafford in January 2010. On that occasion the Clarets went down 3-0 in Brian Laws’ first match as Burnley manager.
Burnley have played in front of only four larger crowds in the club’s history, all of them at Wembley, with the attendance of 80,518 at the 2009 Championship play-off final against Sheffield United the fourth highest attendance overall.
In third place was the crowd of 80,841 at the 1988 Sherpa Van Trophy final against Wolves (lost 2-0) and this was also the highest-ever attendance at any match involving Fourth Division (now League 2) clubs.
The second highest attendance to watch the Clarets in the club’s history was 98,215 for the 1947 FA Cup final against Charlton Athletic. Burnley lost 1-0 and were then in the Second Division, although about to be promoted, and the matches that are numbers 2, 3 and 4 on this list all took place when Burnley were competing outside the top flight of English football.
The daddy of them all of course, in terms of Burnley FC attendances, was at the 1962 FA Cup final, where Tottenham overcame the Clarets 3-1 in a classic final. The attendance figure is given by the Football Association as 100,000, although a number of finals around that time had an official attendance of exactly 100,000, so, although it seems almost a “guestimate”, we must go with that figure.
As a matter of interest the official attendance of 72,778 at the Burnley v Liverpool FA Cup final of 1914 stands at number 9 in our list.