England: Women's Manchester derbies to be staged at Premier League stadiums

source: StadiumDB.com; author: Mateusz Osmola

England: Women's Manchester derbies to be staged at Premier League stadiums Women's football in England is becoming increasingly popular. Average attendances in the past Women's Super League season were significantly higher than in previous years, and it doesn't stop there, because the league wants to keep growing. In 2023/24, the Manchester derbies will again be played at venues where Premier League players compete on a daily basis.


Women's football in England is going from strength to strength

A big part of the growth of women's football was England's triumph in the European Championships last year. A total of 574,875 fans watched all of the tournament's matches from the stands, more than double that of the 2017 championship played in the Netherlands. At the time, all 31 matches were watched live by 240,055 people. Last year's Euro final at Wembley, in which the Lionesses beat Germany 2:1, was watched by a spectacular 87,192 fans.

Etihad Stadium© Google Earth

England's European championship win was surely the main reason for the attendance leap made in the Women's Super League (WSL) games of 2022/23, with the league exceeding the total number of fans who passed through the gates in 2021/22 a third of the way through last season. The average attendance at WSL games in 2021/22 was 1,944, increasing to 5,444 fans last season.

In 2021, the FA launched a strategy to increase the average WSL attendance to 6,000 spectators by 2024. The league's three-year attendance plan is now a year ahead of schedule, driven by England's victory at Euro 2022 on home soil and the playing of major matches at the clubs' main stadiums. As a reminder, the Women's FA Cup Final at Wembley this year attracted a record 77,390 spectators

Arsenal broke the WSL attendance record when they played against Tottenham in a north London derby at Emirates in September. The Gunners won 4:0, with 47,367 fans turning up in the stands. Manchester United also visited Emirates in November with 40,604 spectators, filling two-thirds of the stadium's capacity, while Arsenal's clash with Chelsea attracted more than 46,881 fans in January. Arsenal Women's daily stadium, Meadow Park, can only hold 4,500 spectators.

Old Trafford© Airviews Photography (cc: by-nd)

Of the 132 matches in the 2022/23 season, 96 of them have been played in smaller venues, ranging from the 2,200-seat Everton facility to the 16,000-seat Liverpool's arena, Prenton Park. Current Champions, Chelsea, only played one league game at Stamford Bridge when 38,350 fans came to watch them beat Tottenham.

Manchester derbies at Premier League stadiums

The Manchester derbies in the Women's Super League in the upcoming 2023-24 season will take place at Old Trafford and Etihad Stadium. The match at the 'Theatre of Dreams' - the fourth in the WSL played in front of fans - will take place on November 19. City will host their rivals at Etihad at the end of March 2024. More than 75,000 fans have attended the three WSL matches so far played at Old Trafford and the club said it hopes to beat the current highest attendance, 30,196 fans, set against Aston Villa Women last season.

The rematch will be the fourth match for City's women's team at the 53,400-capacity Etihad, following matches against Everton in May 2014 and Manchester United in September 2019 and December 2022 respectively. The latter, which took place last season, attracted 44,259 people to the stadium. United play their home matches in the WSL mainly at Leigh Sports Village Stadium, while City host at Academy Stadium.

Old Trafford© Ian Johnson