Manchester City do not have enough regular and devoted supporters to fill the Etihad Stadium for every game, Jamie O’Hara has claimed on talkSPORT.
The former Premier League midfielder said the 55,097 capacity ground – the fifth-biggest in the Premier League – is TOO BIG for the size of the club’s die-hard fanbase.
O’Hara’s claims come amid reports City have struggled to sell out the stadium for Wednesday night’s Carabao Cup semi-final clash against Manchester United.
City secured a comfortable 4-0 win over Championship side Fulham in front of just 39,223 supporters on Saturday, and the boss said following the game that he didn’t understand why so many supporters decided to stay at home.
Fans didn’t take kindly to the manager’s remarks, though, and the Spaniard apologised during his pre-match press conference on Tuesday, before once again urging them to ensure it is ‘full, full, full’ for every match.
It appears Pep’s pleas have fallen on deaf ears, though.
And O’Hara is not surprised.
“They don’t have the fanbase, do they?” he said on the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast.
“They don’t have the fanbase of Manchester United or Liverpool, they don’t.
“They’ve built success from a billionaire owner coming in and they’ve got a fantastic manager, but at the end of the day they aren’t as big as Man United or Liverpool, so they can’t fill the stadium.
“I think they’ll always struggle. They haven’t got the history and the tradition Man United and Liverpool have.
“And if your manager is having to come out and say, ‘come and watch up please’, I mean, come on!”
Man City have earned an unwanted reputation for their struggles to shift tickets in recent years, with reports in 2018 claiming the club were averaging almost 10,000 empty seats for Premier League games – leading to rival fans branding their stadium ‘The Emptihad’.
And O’Hara has suggested the club take a serious look at their ticket prices if they want to find a solution to their problem.
“I think you’ve got to respect the fact that it’s not cheap to watch football matches anymore,” the former Tottenham midfielder added.
“Maybe City should make the ticket prices cheaper, then they might find more people turn up!”