Revealed: The prevalence of racism in Manchester’s football stadia

Thanks to the extensive and detailed archives of incidents provided by a number of police constabularies up and down the country, MM has been able to explore just how ubiquitous racism has become within Greater Manchester’s stadia.

Of the 17 Football League grounds, five of the six grounds that had seen the highest number of racist incidents per spectator were Greater Manchester clubs: Oldham’s Boundary Park, Bury’s Gigg Lane, Rochdale’s Spotland Stadium, Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium and Manchester United’s Old Trafford.

The research, which looked at the number of recorded racist incidents at Football League clubs between the 2014/15 and 2018/19 football season, found there were five recorded racist incidents at Boundary Park, the most of all grounds surveyed.

Whilst the figure seems small (paling in comparison to the 49 recorded racist incidents at Old Trafford in the same period), when factored in with the the Latics’ average attendance of 4,406 per season over the same period, means that there was one racist incident per 881 match goer.

The data, gathered through FoI requests, looks at the number of times a ‘racist incident’ was recorded at any Football League club between the start of the 2014/15 and end of the 2018/2019 season.

Data was requested for all 92 sides competing in the Football League as of the beginning of the 2018/19 season. Any data offered by police that is not described as a ‘racist incident’ (i.e. ‘hate crime’) has been excluded.

The results reflected well on Bolton Wanderers, who’ll be happy for some good news following a turbulent season.

Wanderers saw only one arrest for racism over the last five years, and given their average attendance of 15,185, means that The Macron Stadium has seen the fewest incidents of racism per-spectator in Greater Manchester, and the second fewest of all grounds surveyed, behind Swindon Town’s County Ground.

In response to the findings, a Bolton Wanderers spokesperson said “While we recognise the hard work we’ve done as a club over the years in promoting community cohesion, we believe that one incident of racism is one too many.”

A spokesperson for Oldham Athletic said “as a football club we take any abuse extremely seriously,” and said they will undertake a full investigation. 

The data also suggests that racist incidents are more commonplace within Greater Manchesters football stadia, compared to other football grounds across the country.

The average number of spectators per season was taken from


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