The North of England is home to a number of prestigious teams with large fan bases, as well as several ambitious clubs hoping to reach higher divisions. The 14/15 League One season involves many clubs from Northern regions, leading to a considerable amount of ‘local’ games, which could in turn lead to some impressive away followings.
Yorkshire has a notable League 1 representation with Sheffield United and Bradford City remaining in the division from last season. Both the Blades and the Bantams have creditable away followings and are likely to travel in numbers to their County rivals in the fast approaching new campaign. These two well established clubs will be joined by Doncaster Rovers and Barnsley who came down from the Championship and although these two sides have arguably more modest fan bases, Rovers and Barnsley would be expected to travel well next season, considering the number of local games.
Notts County’s Meadow Lane was one of the most visited grounds in the division last year, and this imminent season promises many more thousands of fans to travel to Nottingham. Although some may regard the Nottingham club as being situated in the North midlands, the ground has always attracted Yorkshire fan bases due to the small travelling distance. Sheffield United have always taken large numbers to the Magpies, which was apparent last season when over 3000 Blades fans made the journey despite a poor league positioning at the time.
However, County are not the only side who are geographically close to a number of clubs in the division next year. Chesterfield and Scunthorpe are known to have fairly fierce rivalries with teams such as Sheffield United and Doncaster and would also be expected to attend Meadow Lane with a reasonable backing next season. The pair will also hope that their home fans can perform loudly in the 14/15 campaign as the away ends of both clubs will almost certainly be full on a number of occasions over the course of the season.
Furthermore, fans of Port Vale and Crewe will have several reasonably short distanced games. Although the two clubs may not have direct rivalries in the league other than with one another, teams situated in the North West and also the likes of Notts County are not too far away in the grand scheme of things.
Sticking with the West, Lancashire clubs are certain to have a few spicy encounters with Yorkshire opponents. One of the most promising Yorkshire-Lancashire matches is that between Preston and Bradford. Although perhaps not one of the most highly regarded rivalries in the football League, the two clubs travelled in decent numbers when they played one another in the 13/14 campaign.
The season will also see newly promoted Rochdale face rivals Oldham. As well as this particular clash, Lancashire will play host to several derbies within the county as Preston and Fleetwood are also in the division.
Despite a considerable Northern presence, clubs in the midlands such as Coventry, Walsall and Peterborough should also travel well. The Sky Blues will particularly hope for a strong away backing, as their following was impeccable on the road last year, helping them to take a decent amount of fans to all their away games
Fans from the South West pocket of the country may find distances to away match an issue next season, with Swindon, Bristol City and Yeovil not having many games against other clubs in their region.
As for clubs based around the London area and the South East, it appears that unlike other seasons, this new campaign will not offer many fierce rivalries. MK Dons, Crawley, Leyton Orient, Colchester and Gillingham will have some distance to cover to get to the vast majority of their away games, having a limited number of ‘Local’ matches.
To conclude, fans love a good local away game and from a brief overlook, it looks as though League One fans from the North and possibly the midlands will have significantly more local clashes next season than supporters of Southern based sides.