Linfield are now expecting to break the 10,000 attendance barrier for the Boxing Day fixture against fierce rivals Glentoran at Windsor Park.
The Belfast Telegraph understands that, when combining Linfield season tickets and the number of tickets already sold by both clubs, the figure is just below the 10,000 mark at present with more tickets set to go before the December 26 showdown.
In November, this newspaper revealed that the Blues were considering cutting Glentoran’s ticket allocation due to the high demand from the home fans to attend the Premiership derby and a lack of it from a sizeable section of the BetMcLean Oval outfit’s support, but following dialogue between the clubs, it was decided to give the east Belfast side every opportunity to take up their full allocation.
The Glens have an allocation of 2,600 in Windsor’s North Stand for the Boxing Day game. A few weeks ago, around 1,400 of those tickets had been purchased. It is believed that number has since increased to 1,800 and there is hope that most, if not all, of the remaining 800 will be sold, ensuring a cracking atmosphere and the largest crowd at a League game in Northern Ireland for years.
Linfield have fewer than 100 tickets left, with half of those in the South Stand and the other half in the Railway Stand, which are likely to be snapped up in the lead-up to the clash.
To date, the largest Sports Direct Premiership attendance in 2023/24 came in October when the ‘Big Two’ played at Windsor in front of 7,772 fans, with David Healy’s side winning 2-0.
Another big crowd is expected on Friday night when the Glens host the Blues at The BetMcLean Oval in the League but those attendance figures will be eclipsed come Boxing Day.
In recent seasons, the largest domestic crowds have been at the BetMcLean Cup Final, with 11,103 at Cliftonville’s 4-3 victory over Coleraine at Windsor in 2022 and 11,038 showing up at the same venue in March when Linfield beat the Bannsiders 2-0.