Manchester United. Borussia Dortmund. Barcelona. These are the best 3 upheld football clubs in Europe right now, each averaging somewhere near 75,000-80,000.
Nonetheless, today’s ultra-current, ultra-safe (and some would say, ultra costly) stadiums have one major floor versus their bygone day counterparts – capacity. The widespread introduction of seating in football stadiums prompted a misfortune in the number of fans who could physically attend matches.
Thus, while attendance of 80,000 (or now and then up to 95,000 in Barcelona’s case) are amazing, they’re as yet far off football’s highest ever attendances. Here’s a portion of the top attendances the footballing scene has at any point seen:
Top Football Matches in The World With The Highest Attendance Ever Recorded
1. Michigan Stadium – Michigan, USA (official attendance: 109,318)
Manchester United v Real Madrid, International Champions Cup, 2014
By a long shot, the latest large attendance was set on August second, 2014, when Man United played Real Madrid in an International Champions Cup match in America.
The game was played at Michigan Stadium at the University of Michigan before a rat horde of 109,318, with Man Utd arising 3-1 victors.
This record attendance for football (soccer) in the USA surpasses the record of 101,799. This was set at the 1984 Olympic Games Football Final played at the Rose Bowl in LA, where France beat Brazil 2-0. Curiously, the third-place playoff match got (at the time) a record of 100,374 the prior day, meaning the record was broken twice in 24 hours.
2. Estadio Santiago Bernabeu – Madrid, Spain (official attendance: 129,690)
Real Madrid v AC Milan, European Cup Semi-Final Second Leg, 1956
While arch-rivals Barcelona may have the greater stadium right now, it’s Real Madrid who beat the competition as far as the highest attendance.
The Bernabeu’s record was hampered in 1956 when barely short of 130,000 saw Real take on Italian giants AC Milan in the European Cup Semi-Final. Trailing 2-1 from the primary leg, Real won 4-2 on the evening, 5-4 on aggregate. Madrid proceeded to beat French side Reims 4-3 in the final, claiming an unrivaled fifth continuous European Cup.
Real are probably not going to better the attendance anytime soon – the cutting-edge Bernabeu presently holds only 81,044. While there are plans in place to modernize the stadium, it won’t increase the capacity. Perhaps, a reasonable choice as Real’s average has just once surpassed 70,000 in the past 5 years. If you’re hoping to take a trip to Madrid, you ought to have the option to get a ticket for a Real match.
3. Salt Lake Stadium – Kolkata, India (official attendance: 134,000)
East Bengal v Mohun Bagan, Federation Cup Semi-Final, 1997
Perhaps the most random attendance on this rundown comes from India. Hardly a hotbed for football, but in 1997 a noteworthy 134,000 fans crushed into Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata for the Federation Cup Semi-Final.
East Bengal beat Mohun Bagan 4-1 in what is India’s largest truly wearing attendance – higher even than any cricket match. East Bengal proceeded to lose in the final seven days later.
4. Estadio da Luz – Lisbon, Portugal (official attendance: 135,000)
Benfica v Porto, Portuguese Primeira Liga, 1987
The old Estadio da Luz was the setting for the largest truly brandishing attendance in Portugal. It is also quite possibly the latest on our rundown, with the noteworthy attendance set a little more than 30 years ago.
The 135,000 was set in an “O Classico” experience among Benfica and Porto, with the hosts dominating the competition in a 3-1 triumph. It was an outcome that set them up to win the Primeira Liga that season – with Benfica pipping Porto to the title by 3.
It’s a number that will not be achieved again anytime soon – the old Estadio da Luz is a distant memory now, wrecked and replaced by the new stadium opened in 2003, ready for Portugal facilitating the 2004 UEFA European Championships. While undoubtedly a noteworthy design, the new stadium’s capacity is only a fraction of the bygone one – a simple 65,000.
5. Hampden Park – Glasgow, Scotland (official attendance: 136,505)
Celtic v Leeds, European Cup Semi-Final Second Leg, 1970
Hampden Park holds the record for the largest at any point club attendance in Europe, which was also the largest attendance record for a UEFA rivalry.
It was set in the 1970 European Cup Semi-Final Second Leg among Celtic and Leeds. The game was originally due to be played at Celtic Park, but demand for tickets was way above the 60,000 capacity at the time.
Therefore, the match was moved to a lot larger Hampden Park. Leeds was allocated 10,000, around half of which were sold, with the other half got back to Celtic as the away side.
The main leg at Elland Road completed 1-0 to Celtic, with the Scots winning the second leg 2-1 to book their place in the final. They lost 2-1 to Feyenoord at the San Siro.
6. Hampden Park – Glasgow, Scotland (official attendance: 149,547)
Scotland v England, Home International Championship, 1937
As amazing as the 1970 attendance was, it was almost 13,000 shy of Hampden’s record. That was hampered way in 1937 when almost 150,000 fans saw Scotland take on England in a Home International Championship match.
This game actually stands as a British and European record attendance for football. A fact made considerably more great as the game was adequately useless. Wales has already won that year’s title, meaning there was nothing at all riding on this match. Nevertheless, an estimated 50,000 England fans traveled north in vain as Scotland ran out 3-1 victors.
Tickets on the terraces sold for 2 shillings (around £5 in today’s cash). Interest was perhaps elevated because it wasn’t broadcast on the radio because of a disagreement between the Scottish FA and the BBC.
Local reports show that 46 people fainted – which is a minimal number for the size of the group and facilities at the time.
Amazingly a full program of English league fixtures was played on the same day, with practically no impact on their attendances.
If you’re keen on reading more about that day, The Blizzard has a great top-to-bottom article about the match.
7. Hampden Park – Glasgow, Scotland (official attendance: 147,365)
Celtic v Aberdeen, Scottish Cup Final, 1937
Simply seven days after the Scotland-England game, a mind-blowing 147,365 packed into Hampden for the Scottish Cup Final where Celtic took on Aberdeen.
This match set 2 additional standards for Hampden Park – the largest ever attendances for both a European domestic game and a National Cup Final anywhere on the planet.
An estimated 30,000 fans were also bolted out of the stadium and missed the match. The game finished 2-1 to Celtic – the lone team engaged with two of these record attendances.
Celtic player Jimmy Delaney also played in Scotland’s success over England seven days earlier. In only 7 days, he’d been watched by almost 300,000 people.
So there we have 3 passages for Hampden Park. And the stats get much more noteworthy. The Scottish Cup final was somewhat of a serious deal back in the day. Somewhere in the range of 1928 and 1973, 37 finals recorded attendances of more than 100,000. A further 5 were 90,000+. In those 44 years, the average attendance was 109,324, with the games watched by more than 5.5 million people.
8. Maracana Stadium – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (official attendance: 199,854)
Brazil v Uruguay, World Cup Final, 1950
The largest-ever “official” attendance. Step forward to the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where barely half of 200,000 people watched Uruguay lift the World Cup prize back in 1950.
The hosts went into the match, just requiring a draw to win. Back then, the victors weren’t chosen through today’s take-out tournament – instead, the best 4 teams played each other in a smaller than usual league with the top team delegated champions.
Brazil went into the match 1 point ahead of Uruguay. Notwithstanding going 1 up, Uruguay turned the match around in the second half, scoring the victor with 11 minutes left. Winning goalscorer Ghiggia was the last enduring player before he passed away on July 16, 2015 – 65 years to the day after scoring the triumphant goal.
Such was Brazil’s certainty of triumph. They’d already printed 22 gold medals engraved with each player’s name and practiced and recorded a victors’ sing to be played full-time. A local morning paper printed an image of the Brazilian team with the caption “title holders.” According to legend, the Uruguayan captain purchased as many duplicates as possible and laid them out on the floor in the changing area for the team to urinate on before the match.
The aftermath of Brazil’s defeat saw calls for them to change their unit from white (at the chance) to the now-famous yellow shirts with blue shorts. The 22 gold medals were gone forever, and the triumph melody has never been performed.
Along these lines, notwithstanding developing the beautiful game, none of the main 7 football attendances at any point recorded were actually in England.
9. Wembley Stadium – London, England (official attendance: 126,047)
Bolton Wanderers v West Ham United, FA Cup Final, 1923
Obviously, the greatest ever football attendance in England was at the old Wembley Stadium. In fact, it was the old Wembley’s first since forever game – the 1923 FA Cup final between Bolton and West Ham.
The official attendance was recorded as 126,047, but many more fans gained passage, and unofficial reports claim the attendance may have been as high as 300,000. That’s not a mistake – 300,000. Imagine the line for the Underground at full time!
The groups were enormous to such an extent that fans spilled onto the pitch, causing the commencement to be delayed by 45 minutes as police on horseback cleared spectators off the playing surface. They famously did this with a white police horse called Billie – giving the game the nickname of The White Horse Final.
When the match did eventually start, the bumper swarm saw Bolton win 2-0 to lift the FA Cup interestingly.
Thus, there you have it – a rundown of the absolute largest football attendances of all time. Will we at any point record 100,000+ attendance again? Indeed, part of Barcelona’s plans to expand the Nou Camp incorporate adding around 6,000 extra seats to take the total capacity to more than 105,000 – so 100,000+ attendances will be conceivable from the mid-2020s (although FC Barca does rarely sell out, as of now).
Will the Maracana’s record at any point be beaten? Probably not in our lifetime – most stadium capacities have been cut drastically in the last 30-40 years. There’s now just a handful that can accommodate more than 100,000 people, the largest of which is North Korea’s Rungrado first of May Stadium, with a capacity of 114,000. So regardless of whether North Korea at any point got awarded the World Cup, we’re still far-fetched to go anyplace near the Maracana’s record.