Friday, December 09, 2016


Despite ISC Title Bid Arema Fans Stay Away

Arema's narrow 3-2 win over Sriwijaya last night was enough to see the Crazy Lions move level on top of the Indonesia Soccer Championship with Persipura on goal difference with two games remaining but surely of great concern to the club management will be the poor attendance of 8,376.

A game between two of the heavyweights of the domestic should have drawn a far healthier crowd but the poor turn out is merely the continuation of the trend we have seen where despite their team's fine form the fans have in large part stayed away.

Prior to the Sriwijaya game last night these were the latest crowd figures for Arema home games giving an average home attendance of 10,646, a poor return for a club so large. With Persib still to visit Malang in the final game of the season there is a chance for that final number to rise but the fact remains the numbers are poor.

PS TNI 2,851
Persela 16,751
PSM 10,607 (played at Gajayana Stadium)
Mitra Kukar 21,653 (Played at Gajayana Stdium)
Madura United 9,168
Pusamania 6,766
Bali United 10,701
Barito Putera 4,959
Perseru 4,338
Semen Padang 5,021
Persipura 10,146
Persija 23,764
Gresik United 4,877
Bhayangkara 29,650
Persiba 17,464

The question is why? There was talk of the club doing some kind of evaluation but I am not sure of anything came of that. As can be seen above there was a move to the more centrally located Gajayana Stadium and while there was an upturn against Mitra Kukar, not the most glamourous name despite being a well run club, it hasn't been sustained.

There has been some suggestion the return of a second Arema side has drawn some of the support. Meanwhile, perhaps in a bid to reclaim the position of the number one Crazy Lions in Malang this particular Arema, the ISC version, are looking at changing their name for next season, asking fans to vote for which they prefer...Arema FC or Arema Malang.

From what I can make out the returning Arema, called Arema Indonesia, can claim the legacy of the club's founder while Arema Cronus, to give them their full name, have links to a political dynasty long involved in football. Unfortunately the tale of two Aremas, with their origins in the era of two leagues in 2011, seems to be dividing the city of Malang. And with Persema making a come back does Malang need three teams?

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