Football tourists 'worth £684 million to Britain'
800,000 fans a year come to England to watch Premier League matches, bringing in over half a billion pounds to the UK economy a report claims.
The research by the Office of National Statistics claims that the influx of fans to the country coming to watch top flight football drew in £684 million in 2014, a 15 per cent rise on the previous year.
The Cottagers are a relatively small club and were even relegated in May 2014, but are a popular destination for fans due to the price and relatively easy availability of tickets, as well as a reputation for a picturesque stadium and well-behaved fans.
The report - commissioned by VisitBritain - also claimed that one in 10 visits to the north-west of England is taken solely for the purpose of watching a football match.
Tracey Crouch, the tourism minister, welcomed the figures as proof of “the positive role football is playing in showcasing key destinations in many different regions … It’s great for local economies, great for football and great for the UK’s tourism industry.”
Sean Bones, the Manchester United Supporters Trust vice-chairman, told the BBC: “It’s good for the country when additional funds come into the economy but we need clubs to reward the long-term loyalty of our supporters.”