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By ESPN Staff

FA Cup attendances highest for 25 years

Attendances at the FA Cup third round over the weekend were the highest for 25 years.

The average crowd for the 30 games was 17,664, the highest since 1981, and the number of goals per game was 3.23, the highest since 1966.

Not every club benefited from the attendances however - only 16,444 turned up for Birmingham v Newcastle, fewer than any Championship match this season and 4,000 Magpies fans made the trip.

FA chief executive Brian Barwick welcomed the statistics.

He told the FA: 'I think every football fan up and down the country looks forward to this weekend as it's that unique time when the smaller clubs have the chance to take on the biggest.

'It's a competition with a great history and tradition and long may that continue.

'Goals and attacking football are undoubtedly what people want to see and I don't think many fans were left disappointed over the weekend.

'While you always want to see your club do well and make it into the next round, you certainly appreciate being treated to so many goals.'

Barwick watched two matches on Saturday and saw nine goals - the 4-1 win by Norwich at Tamworth followed by Liverpool's 3-1 defeat by Arsenal at Anfield.