If you look at attendances going way back, beyond the 80s, they used to fluctuate wildly on a week to week basis. The reason the average was higher was because we had a big ground. an 80000 attendance against the filth in almost any previous decade would affect the average a lot more than a 44000 in the early 80s, by 2000.
The point about unemployment is difficult to justify when scrutinized. Why did Aberdeen and Dundee United crowds go up in the early 80s? All seems to tie in to success if you ask me.
Changed with season tickets, that's for sure