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Fans verdict on returning to stadiums

4 December 2020

After supporters were allowed to re-enter stadiums at six EFL Clubs in midweek, we spoke to three of the lucky fans who attended a fixture to get their thoughts on returning.

Vicky Johnson was among the Luton Town fans that returned to Kenilworth Road on Wednesday night, as the Hatters saw off league leaders Norwich City by three-goals-to-one. Here’s what she had to say...

“We felt very honoured to be allowed back into Kenilworth Road and proud to represent the club to prove that fans returning could be done safely.

“My dad has been shielding since the first lockdown so it was great for him to attend, it was also fantastic for his mental health as getting to Luton Town games are the only activity he's able to really attend due to his disabilities.

“We read the rules regarding movement during the game and were given staggered arrival times to avoid crowds at the entrance gate. We had to go to the gate at our allocated arrival time and bring photo identification with us. At the gate, we had our temperature taken and we were then given our seat numbers, and guided down a one way route to them.

“Being able to have a little bit of normality back in our lives, with the new normal, was great for the soul. The health and safety measures in place ease any concerns you might have, and once the whistle blew for kick-off the rest of the world was forgotten and we enjoyed 90 minutes of great play and three points on the board.

Cambridge United fan Jon Mansfield has been very complimentary about his club, and says the return of fans is step in the right direction. 

“It has been a long nine months since the last league game we could attend, which was away to Leyton Orient back in March. The EFL have done a great job with iFollow and I have watched every match, but it doesn’t match the excitement of walking down Newmarket Road and seeing the floodlights on a matchday.

“The club have been fantastic throughout this situation; there was plenty of advice given in advance in terms of what to expect, with details of expected conduct of fans and the changes and measure the club had put into place for the match. The one-way systems were well marked and the stewards were great, they all handled the situation in a very professional manner. 

“It’s a vital step on the way to convincing the Government that Clubs can host outdoor events safely and this will gradually lead to getting more fans in the ground in future.”

Lee Salmon returned to Adams Park for the first time since his club, Wycombe Wanderers, were promoted to the Sky Bet Championship for the first time in their history. He says he felt safe on his return to the stadium and it felt fantastic to be back. 

“It meant so much to me, to be able to attend a game again. It has been nearly 10 months since the last game with supporters, so it was just fantastic being back and cheering on my team

“I felt very safe; the club staggered entry times to allow crowd flow to be smooth and staggered. At the end of the game, only one block at a time could depart.

“I feel everyone has a right to go or not go, given the choice. People have different scenarios, such as elderly relatives in their bubble that they don't want to put at risk. However, there were three seats between each person and every other row was empty.”

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