THE Welsh Premier suffered a three per cent decline in attendances last season.
An average gate of 329 represented a slight decrease on the previous season, but was still the second best figure in the league’s 20 year history.
The statistics could also reflect a decline in public interest after just two seasons of the Welsh Premier league’s revamped 12 club format, launched in 2010.
TNS bucked the trend with a 28 per cent increase to an average of 436 at Park Hall, while Bala Town also enjoyed a 10 per cent jump.
Surprisingly Aberystwyth Town and the reprieved Newtown, who spent all season in the league basement, reported small increases to 341 and 213 respectively.
However the now defunct Neath saw gates plummet by 32 per cent, while five other clubs also saw support decline.
The figures also scotched league officials’ claims of better gates for Friday and Sunday fixtures.
Friday gates slumped by seven per cent, while Sunday matches attracted an average of 24 per cent less supporters compared to last season. Saturday gates also fell by 14 per cent.
Meanwhile some of the biggest matches of the season, the Boxing Day and New Year derbies took place in midweek.
However supporters hoping the latest figures will spark a u-turn in the unpopular 12 club, mid-season break, end of season play-off format look set for disappointment.
While outgoing Welsh Premier secretary John Deakin conceded a review of the format was likely, his successor has argued the figures still represent a successful season.
Gwyn Derfel said: “Since the Super 12 was launched last year the average attendances, compared to all the other season’s is up by 26 per cent, which significantly bucks the trend in other European countries.
“The numbers are slightly down compared to 12 months ago, but they are still the second best in the history of the league.”
It now looks likely that the much derided 12 club league will be retained despite concern among some supporters.