Football Supporters' Association chief relishing return of fans

‘The game loses a great deal without its fans’: Football Supporters’ Association chief relishing return of crowds as he insists it ‘could be an absolute lifesaver for quite a few clubs’

  • Football Supporters’ Association chief spoke to Sportsmail about return of fans 
  • Fans will finally be allowed into stadiums from December 2 when lockdown ends
  • ‘We are finally moving in the right direction’: Harrogate chief on return of fans

Football needs fans and fans need football. Our members, who can now go back to games, will be delighted because it is not just about being able to watch a match, it is the experience that goes with it.

Having 4,000 fans in attendance could be an absolute lifesaver for quite a few clubs, particularly in the lower leagues. That is the really good news about this because some of those clubs are in a really dire situation and they may now be able to have almost their normal attendances.

Obviously, the health of our members must remain the top priority and all steps that are taken must be in line with public health requirements.

Fans will return to stadiums in December in limited numbers having been shut out since March

But the Sports Ground Safety Authority and football safety officers up and down the country have done a huge amount of work to make grounds Covid-secure.

And I am sure that fans will recognise the importance of obeying whatever rules and procedures are in place because they will want to avoid getting the virus as much as everybody else.

I am confident they will do what is asked of them and they will just enjoy the experience of being back.

We are also pleased that we seem to have got rid of the discrimination against football and the double standards which meant you could watch a game inside a cinema but not in the stands.

Fans returning will come as a welcome boost to EFL clubs who have taken a big financial hit

In some cases, you could even watch a match in a ground itself if you had the curtains drawn and were having a meal. That was ridiculous and we are glad that has gone.

Fingers crossed this is just the start and, with the good news about vaccines, we can look forward to getting back to normal as soon as possible.

Players, managers and everybody involved in football recognise the game loses a great deal without its fans.

I am so pleased that progress is finally being made.

Malcolm Clarke – Chair of the Football Supporters’ Association – was talking to David Coverdale.

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