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History changes as AFL adjusts official attendance figures

Arnold Briedis celebrates North Melbourne's win in the 1977 Grand Final replay

THE largest home-and-away crowd in League history is among the official crowd figures from 146 games played at the MCG between 1909 and 1990 that have been amended by the AFL, following a recommendation from the Melbourne Cricket Club.

It follows painstaking research by MCC librarian Trevor Ruddell of the The Stile Book, which kept a detailed log of the attendance stiles at every gate at the MCG.

Ruddell was able to cross-reference these logs with the published attendance figures.

In each case, the attendance figures have been adjusted up or down, usually by a maximum of several hundred attendees, with some larger changes.

The history books have long recorded a figure of 99,346 for the Melbourne-Collingwood match on the Queen's Birthday holiday in 1958 as the largest regular season crowd in League history. But Ruddell's research revealed that the figure was slightly overblown and that the actual crowd was 99,256, still comfortably ahead of the 94,825 that attended the first Collingwood-Essendon Anzac Day clash at the MCG in 1995.

Click here to view all 146 games and their new attendances

Also among the 146 matches with the altered crowd figures are 12 Grand Finals. They are: 1912 (+2), 1917 (+300), 1922 (+10), 1947 (-22), 1948 (+540), 1949 (-1735), 1950 (-1732), 1953 (+89), 1956 (+100), 1964 (+2), 1966 (+400) and the 1977 Replay (+125).

Other VFL venues from the time have not kept the same detailed attendance numbers and for them, the AFL has continued to rely on the published media reports from the time of crowd numbers at matches.

The new crowd figures will be reflected in The 2016 AFL Record Season Guide – the official statistical history of the AFL.

The League has expressed its gratitude to Ruddell and the staff at the MCC Library for their research.