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By ESPN Staff

Premier League: Credit crunch not hurting attendances

Newcastle Untied are experiencing a dramatic slump in attendances this season but the Premier League insist the credit crunch is not affecting the top flight as a whole.

Stadiums are still 92% full this season, the same as the last campaign, but some clubs are suffering while others are enjoying bigger crowds.

Newcastle have been the hardest hit, due in part to fans being disenchanted with owner Mike Ashley, who is currently trying to sell the club.

The Magpies have averaged 46,689 this season compared to 51,321 in the last campaign, a drop of 4,632 or 9%. Sunderland are also down - from 43,344 to 41,186 - as are Blackburn Rovers' crowds.

However Bolton Wanderers, Manchester City and Middlesbrough have all enjoyed a boom in attendances compared to last season.

The Premier League expect overall attendances to drop compared to last season's record-breaking figures but say that is due to clubs with large stadiums being relegated and those with smaller capacities coming up.

Promoted clubs Stoke City, Hull City and West Bromwich Albion have all been operating close to capacity however, boosting occupancy levels to the same as last season.

Premier League spokesman Dan Johnson said: ''Some figures are up and some are down. If you factor in the Manchester United v Fulham match which was postponed we will find we are roughly where we were last season.

''Our figures suggest we are still at 92% occupancy in our stadia, better than anywhere else in Europe and last season we had the highest attendances for over 50 years.''

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