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Which League One team has the biggest away following?

With more than half of the season gone and only a few matches left to play, it's interesting to take a look at which League One team has the biggest away following. Fans have made the journey up and down the country to watch their sides in action, and a look at the stats shows there is a big discrepancy between the teams in English football's third tier.

Which League One team has the biggest away following?

First, let's mention that it is not always easy following a team everywhere it goes given the time and finances involved. Thus, many factors have to play a part in ensuring a League One side enjoys unmatched support home and away.

On X, “The 72” recently released data relating to League One away followings this season. Below, we run through the data and reveal which team's fans average more away fans than any other in League One and which team's supporters fail to turn up in numbers on the road.

24) Fleetwood Town – 201

23) Burton Albion – 264

22) Cheltenham Town – 293

21) Shrewsbury Town – 460

20) Wycombe Wanderers – 516

19) Stevenage – 527

18) Exeter City – 535

17) Northampton Town – 692

16) Lincoln City – 709

15) Peterborough United – 748

14) Cambridge United – 832

13) Port Vale – 837

12) Leyton Orient – 859

11) Barnsley  – 1071

10) Charlton Athletic – 1079

9) Carlisle United – 1115

8) Bristol Rovers – 1135

7) Oxford United – 1173

6) Blackpool  – 1176

5) Reading – 1278

4) Wigan – 1325

3) Bolton  – 1528

2) Portsmouth – 1554

1) Derby County – 2265

Ex-Premier League sides dominate League One Biggest Attendance List

The top three average away attendances have all been posted by ex-Premier League sides with Derby County taking by far the largest crowd on the road with 2265. Their highest away attendance this season was an impressive 3896, although their geographical position in the middle of the country sees them travel 22% fewer miles to their away fixtures than the average League One club.

A look at Portsmouth and Bolton shows these sides both normally travel with over 1500 away fans. Pompey supporters rack up more miles than other clubs, travelling around 24% further than the average League One team. That makes their big numbers even more impressive, considering their position on England's South coast.

Now, let's ask the big question. How have these teams performed this season, especially on the road?

Interestingly, Derby's massive away support has not been for nothing. The Rams have finished the 2023/24 season in the second spot, which is a good sign given the many challenges they have faced in recent years. A return to the Championship should, therefore, come with great enthusiasm for the Rams who head coach Paul Warne has done a commendable job since taking charge in September 2022.

Moreover, Derby County finished the season in style, thrashing Carlisle at home on the last day to earn a deserved promotion in the 2023/24 League One season. They bagged a total of 43 points on the road and have been ranked the second-best away team in the 2023/24 season, thanks to the massive support of loyal travelling fans in the just concluded season.  A total of 43 points on the road out of 92 all season means the Rams nearly split their performance into 50-50 home and away.

And when it comes to Portsmouth, we note that Pompey fans played a crucial role in ensuring the ex-Premier League also earns a promotion back to the second tier. Portsmouth have finished the 2023/24 at the top of League One, 5 points ahead of Derby County. Being the team that had the second-best away support in the 2023/24 season also came with impressive turnover away from home as Pompei were also crowned the best away team in the 2023/24 League One season. They lost only twice on the road out of 23 trips, winning 13 and bagging draws on eight occasions.

Bolton Wanderers also made the most of their away support, finishing 5th in the away log. However, unlike the first two ex-Premier League sides, Bolton fell short of earning direction promotion as they finished third.  But after a good season, no doubt Bolton will put in a shift in their playoff matches, starting with Barnsley on 5 and 7 May 2024.

Carlisle the standout club

Carlisle United may not be the best answer to which League One team has the biggest away following but there is a caveat to why we find the team worth some honourable mention in this post.

Newly promoted from the League Two playoffs last season, Carlisle fans have travelled to away matches en masse this season. Not only do the Cumbrian outfit sit ninth in the table with an average of 1115 travelling fans over 11 away games this season, but their position on the border with Scotland means they go 62% further than the average League One side to reach their destination. Not only that, but they take a whopping 14.6% of their home crowd with them on the road, with only Bristol Rovers averaging more.

On the downside, Carlisle's impressive away following did not come with the much-needed points. With the season done and dusted, Carlisle United posted the worst away results in the 2023/24 League One season. They only bagged 4 wins and a total of 15 points in 23 away games in the just-concluded season.  With only 20 goals scored and 39 leaked in the trips, Carlisle would want to do better next season, albeit, in the National League to appease their loyal fan base on the road. The team finished bottom of the League One, so there is a need for some serious reflections on what may have earned them an early exit to the National League.

Miserable showings for the bottom trio

“You must've come in a taxi” might be the chant aimed at away fans of Fleetwood Town, Burton Albion and Cheltenham Town. Those three sides all take less than 300 fans on average, a figure worse than 17 of 24 sides in League Two. Of course, it doesn't help that all of those sides are positioned near the bottom of the table this season, but so are Carlisle who aren't using poor form as a reason not to travel in large numbers.

Despite being the fifth-worst team on the road at the end of the 2023/24 League One season, Burton Albion survived the drop. Fleetwood and Cheltenham have both been relegated to the National League. Both teams had worrying performances on the road, which we must say was made worse by underwhelming away support in the 2023/24 season.

If you're curious about the Championship, see our guide here.

Okello Steve

Okello Steve is a seasoned Sports and travel writer with over 10 years of experience in the journalistic enterprise. Steve honed his writing skills from a tender age and went on to study communication at the University and chose to pursue a writing career as an independent journalist crafting engaging content for the web on sports, casino gaming and travel.

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