The argument that the size of Widnes’ fanbase ought to have them competing at the top end of the Championship is starting to wear thin, looking at official figures from last season.

In what was a tough 2021 for the Vikings, many people questioned why other teams with apparently lower fanbases were able to put together more competitive sides.

But in official data compiled by the RFL, that I have been privy to, there has been an alarming drop in attendances at the Halton Stadium since 2019.

Back in 2019, Widnes had the best average attendance among the UK clubs outside of Super League.

No attendances were announced during the COVID-impacted 2021 season, and while no exact averages were given, Widnes’ was around 1250.

This placed them below Bradford, Featherstone, York, Halifax, Barrow, Workington and Batley.

They weren’t helped by an over-zealous approach to ticketing and the council restrictions, while the team’s performance on the pitch at times left a lot to be desired.

In the last season of Super League back in 2018, Widnes averaged just under 5,000.

So with season tickets due to go on sale at the start of November, it looks like a critical time for fans to back the club and help drive improvement to those numbers.

Amidst the uncertainty of central funding moving forward, there are some positives though.

Widnes have the second most Our League members outside of Super League, behind only Bradford, and boast the biggest and best social media numbers across Facebook and Instagram.

Four of the top 15 most watched Championship live streams involved Widnes also.