Matchday Atmosphere Report
There is an ongoing debate at Fulham FC about the match day atmosphere. Why do the away fans always sound louder and the Hammersmith End losing crowd noise through the gaps in the stand are just two of the comments made.
Matchdays form an important and regular topic of discussion between the FST and the club. From food, drink, disabled facilities, toilets, stewarding, ticket prices and much more. One area we keep revisiting is how to improve the atmosphere during a game.
The club have from time to time requested reports from companies who are experts in sound and noise within a stadium.
The club have kindly passed on one of those reports for the FST to publish. The report was undertaken in the autumn of last year at home game vs Norwich.
Here are some of the main points and summary from it.
- Vanguardia were commissioned by Fulham Football Club to undertake an assessment of the crowd atmosphere on a match day and investigate ways in which the stadium acoustics may enhance the fan experience
- This report describes the findings of the assessment in terms of architectural acoustics, usage of the sound-system and subjective impression of atmosphere.
- Through a combination of complaint emails and fan forum engagements, Fulham FC supporters have indicated they are dissatisfied with the atmosphere at their home stadium. The majority of complaints have come from season ticket holders in the Hammersmith End. The complaints are largely related to the perception of crowd noise escaping from the open corners at either side of the stand.
- Fulham FC have trialled various methods of improving the atmosphere during the 2016/17 season. This has included the introduction of cardboard clappers on the seats which were in use on the match-day assessed. The club have also trialled goal celebration music and live drummers in the stands, however it is understood these were not well received by fans.
- The majority of vocal support for the team comes from the rear of the Hammersmith stand. The stand itself has a long, shallow seating rake, meaning that the fans towards the back are a relatively long distance – approximately 35-40m from the pitch. Conversely, the Putney stand has a steeper seating rake and shorter distance of only 20-25m from back row to the pitch-side.
- For supporters seated towards the middle of the Riverside and Johnny Haynes stands, the away support in the Putney end is going to be more audible than the chanting from the back of the Hammersmith stand due to the shorter distances involved.
- A notable feature of the architecture of the Hammersmith stand is the restricted view fans have of the other parts of the stadium. The view, and subsequently the propagation path of sound is obstructed by the hospitality boxes at either side of the stand. This may be a contributing factor to the perception that noise generated by fans in these areas of the Hammersmith stand does not transmit to the rest of the home support.
- As mentioned, there is a perception among fans in the Hammersmith stand that noise they generate is escaping out of the open corners of the stand. During the match-day survey, it was observed that the majority of vocal support is based towards the back of the Hammersmith stand, in the centre of the seating. It is unlikely that the open ended architecture of the Hammersmith is stand is resulting in a significant reduction of sound energy reaching the rest of the stadium.
- A number of measurements of crowd noise were taken in both the Riverside stand and the Hammersmith Stand.
- Towards the middle of the Riverside stand, crowd noise levels of 80-82dBLAeq were measured. These consisted largely of the away supporters in the Putney Stand at a point in the match where the visiting team was in the lead.
- In the second half, measurements were taken in the Hammersmith end. During home goal celebrations in the second half, crowd noise levels of up to 102dBLAeq were measured in close proximity to the vocal support. This represents a good level of crowd noise and is in line with measurements taken in other, similar stadia.
- It is not felt that the open ends of the Hammersmith Stand are particularly detrimental to the build-up of crowd noise generated by home supporters. More noticeable was the longer distance from the pitch to the rear of the Hammersmith stand, where the most vocal home fans are situated.
The trust would welcome any comments back from this report to take back to the club so please contact by email at [email protected]