WHO Poll
Q: 2020/2021 Where will we finish up this season?
a. Top Four, Champions League here we come
8%
  
b. 5th-7th Europa League is well within our grasp
8%
  
c. 8th to 14th anywhere in mid table is about right
32%
  
d. We're in a dog fight before a ball has been kicked and we'll do well to finish 17th or just above
26%
  
e. GSB have derailed our season before a ball has been kicked, the Championship beckons
27%
  



Queens Fish Bar 10:12 Tue Nov 17
Supporters back at Premier League and other elite sports grounds by Christmas
Downing Street is considering a surprise plot from ministers to allow supporters back at Premier League and other elite sports grounds by Christmas.

Four figure crowds in low infection risk areas are seen in Whitehall as an immediate post-lockdown option to get terraces opened up for the first time in nine months.

However, with much of the country likely to be plunged into new tier four Covid-19 restrictions from Dec 2, public health experts maintained that a New Year return was more likely.

A potential easing of restrictions had prompted the Rugby Football Union to deliver its clearest signal yet that it was "cautiously optimistic" that crowds will be back in time for Six Nations in February.

Football clubs in the Championship and below also expressed relief at a potential lifeline for an industry starved of matchday revenue since March. Steve Kavanagh, the Millwall chief executive, told the Daily Telegraph "we are now starting to see the sun appear behind the clouds", while Southend chairman Ron Martin said he "absolutely" welcomed the end of the "sterile" era of empty grounds.

Sporting leaders are yet to be fully briefed on the plans but Government insiders confirmed proposals were being considered after Boris Johnson told northern MPs earlier this week that "we will work to have the crowds come back" after Dec 2.

A plan being considered by No 10 following briefings with the Cabinet Office and the Department of Culture, Media and Sport would initially apply on a pilot basis to tier 1 areas, and could eventually include tier 2.

Such an announcement would mark a dramatic and unexpected shift in Government policy after pilots to get spectators back were suspended twice in late summer, before being completely wiped out by the second wave of Covid-19. Tony Rowe, chairman at Premiership and European champions Exeter Chiefs, told The Telegraph he "always thought" ministers would move to open stadiums up "rather than come up with a financial rescue package".

“If they were, say, to give rugby union tens of millions of pounds in a rescue package, there’d be an absolute outcry in the country because everybody wants money to save their businesses and they’d say, ‘Well, that money’s just going to go and pay overpaid rugby players’," he added.

The return of crowds would most likely be in line with previous pilot schemes, which initially limited attendances to fewer than 1,500 at venues. However, the Government is hopeful crowds can be quickly scaled up, potentially with the roll out of digital passports and rapid testing kits at grounds.

With such extensive protocols in place, it is likely the return of crowds would only initially apply to the elite professional game, including the Women's Super League.

In rugby, Exeter estimate they need 5,000 out of a 14,000 capacity to break even because of safety protocols, while Twickenham, meanwhile, is said to need a half-full crowd to turn a profit. “We continue to work with Government on the safe return of fans to stadiums and remain cautiously optimistic that we will be able to welcome some for the next Six Nations,” the RFU said in a statement.

The Government has been keen to ease resentment in sport after arts venues such as the London Palladium, Albert Hall and O2 were given permission to sell tickets for up to 5,000 spectators earlier in the autumn. The Football Supporters' Association said at the time that the policy was "zero logic". "I accept people's frustration at the inconsistency there," Mr Dowden told the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee last month.

On Tuesday night Kavanagh, at Millwall, told The Telegraph “any return of normality is welcome". "All we ask for is consistency and hopefully there can be consistency now," he said. “Every business deserves the right to be given a chance to show that it can provide Covid-secure environment and football’s no different to that. The bleeding obvious was staring people in the face and some of the reasoning was just a roadblock to stopping because I think there was a fear factor around football, for some reason, or sport."

Public health experts have repeatedly expressed concerns that football crowds are a higher risk to local areas as they travel in bigger numbers, and often drink in surrounding streets before and after matches.

Professor Gabriel Scally, president of the epidemiology and public health section of the Royal Society of Medicine, told The Telegraph that any possibility of getting crowds back while Covid rates continue to rise was "extremely optimistic".

"At the moment there is little or no sign of any significant reduction in new cases and given that situation, it is almost impossible to realistically see how substantial gatherings at events are feasible," he added.

Kavanagh insisted, however, the previous crowd ban was "illogical and hopefully, now, we can move beyond that, because football’s got a massive part to play in rebuilding the nation’s good feelings". "We’re nowhere near sunny days but we just want to get to normality," he added. "We’re all desperately bored and fed up of where we are.”

The potential return of crowds comes despite Downing Street expressing fresh annoyance after football leaders told ministers the Premier League is still yet to agree upon a final rescue package for the EFL.

The Government had been expecting a saga now stretching back months to be resolved as 20 figures within the game gathered for a meeting with Mr Dowden. However, during the video conference this morning, both competitions recognised an agreement, while close, was still yet to be finalised.

Replies - Newest Posts First (Show In Chronological Order)

Mike Oxsaw 6:43 Wed Nov 18
Re: Supporters back at Premier League and other elite sports grounds by Christmas
If the vaccine is ready by 1st January the government may well decide just to drop all the restrictions and let it rip, burying the covid mortalities in the seasonal 'flu deaths and hoping the first tranche of the vaccine works on it's victims...sorry...recipients.

martyboy 3:30 Wed Nov 18
Re: Supporters back at Premier League and other elite sports grounds by Christmas
G.O Oh no it wont!!! Boris is going to shut us all down for another couple of months. But he may be kind, and let us see our family for a day or 2 over Xmas!!!v Some Gullible twats will also stick to it!! Ill be having my parents, my in laws, and kids and grandkids all arounds over Xmas, so up yours Boris!!!

Golden Oldie 2:27 Wed Nov 18
Re: Supporters back at Premier League and other elite sports grounds by Christmas
Look, stop moaning, it's just for two weeks and everything will be back to normal again.

Sven Roeder 1:59 Wed Nov 18
Re: Supporters back at Premier League and other elite sports grounds by Christmas
DONT WORRY NORTHERN , THE BIG BASH WILL BE ON IN A COUPLE OF WEEKS FOR YOUR VIEWING PLEASURE

Presumably with fans in as well given they managed to get 30,000 in at the Gabba for the AFL Grand Final a couple of weeks ago. And noone died

WHU(Exeter) 1:57 Wed Nov 18
Re: Supporters back at Premier League and other elite sports grounds by Christmas
Sold...give 'Talking Pictures' a go, that's what I bung on when WFH.

WHU(Exeter) 1:55 Wed Nov 18
Re: Supporters back at Premier League and other elite sports grounds by Christmas
"Every single so called medical expert"

Indeed. And I like the way that some of them talk as if what will happen is solely THEIR decision, bypassing the bit about them making recommendations to the Government, who will then decide on how to go forward.

One of the things I'm looking forward to at the end of all this, is being able to turn on the box without some puritanical wet fish appearing as if by magic, half of them look like they're part of some weird US religious cult and make Mary Whitehouse look like a fun loving party girl.

Northern Sold 1:30 Wed Nov 18
Re: Supporters back at Premier League and other elite sports grounds by Christmas

Russ of the BML 12:45 Wed Nov 18
Re: Supporters back at Premier League and other elite sports grounds by Christmas
Northern Sold 12:11 Wed Nov 18

You just described why people shouldn't watch morning TV.



Ha ha Ha... yeah Russ you have a point... I turned off when a poor old Scottish dear who was 80 years old said I don't care... I'm old... I've had my life.. I've not seen my sons for 6 months... and if I want to see my family again... I'm happy with the decision... ALL 3 so called Experts rounded on her like a pack of Hyenas... although one did say... although you can't see your family is there perhaps someone from your local church you can be in a bubble with so you are not all alone this Christmas.... and the other said... why not have a Zoom Christmas with your family....

so... back to watching Everybody Loves Raymond during my breaks WFH from now on...

Faux Bare 12:50 Wed Nov 18
Re: Supporters back at Premier League and other elite sports grounds by Christmas
I’ve grown to really hate this so-called medical experts on tv. All doom and gloom merchants.

Dr Hillary on Good Morning Britain is the worst. And he’s called Hillary.

And as for Sarah Jarvis, she seems to be on every tv programme going spouting the same old negative nonsense. Not sure how much medical work she actually does.

Russ of the BML 12:45 Wed Nov 18
Re: Supporters back at Premier League and other elite sports grounds by Christmas
Northern Sold 12:11 Wed Nov 18

You just described why people shouldn't watch morning TV.

Manuel 12:44 Wed Nov 18
Re: Supporters back at Premier League and other elite sports grounds by Christmas
''I want to go to Euro 20, especially England v Scotland on 18th June 2021.
Surely that will be possible?''


I really hope so mex, as I want to go to at least one game too. It's too early to say of course, but think it's going to be tight though. Maybe some others have a crystal ball on this??

Northern Sold 12:11 Wed Nov 18
Re: Supporters back at Premier League and other elite sports grounds by Christmas
WFH today... got back from walking the dog and for my vices Jeremy Vine show was on... hot topic do we cancel Christmas ... every single so called medical expert was saying the government should cancel families mixing... horror stories of NHS being overwhelmed, killing grandma whist she is pulling her cracker etc etc tec... and also a fair few of the viewers ringing up agreeing ... so I can't see how getting 25% of people back in stadiums will happen whilst medical experts... government ... and more importantly still large parts of the population are still petrified...

simon.s 12:03 Wed Nov 18
Re: Supporters back at Premier League and other elite sports grounds by Christmas
The PL can look after itself for the time being. And they’ve had it good for a long time. I’ve no real desire to rush back to the LS, and especially not a diluted version. But when you think they haven’t even had fans in at National league level, there has to be a lot of clubs close to going out of business.

Faux Bare 11:58 Wed Nov 18
Re: Supporters back at Premier League and other elite sports grounds by Christmas
Imagine the London Stadium 25% full...............oh.

Mike Oxsaw 11:55 Wed Nov 18
Re: Supporters back at Premier League and other elite sports grounds by Christmas
What are they going to do if the fans all decide to go and sit behind one of the goals for a sing-song, physically eject them? Live on TV?

Block 11:46 Wed Nov 18
Re: Supporters back at Premier League and other elite sports grounds by Christmas
I really dont see the point if they're not letting in a large number.

Shock horror.

I'm pretty certain if you were the owner of a football club you'd feel entirely differently, plus for some people football is a huge out for them, to have that back in peoples lives would be a huge boost.

ironsofcanada 11:43 Wed Nov 18
Re: Supporters back at Premier League and other elite sports grounds by Christmas
The NFL does it with some games.

Saw some ladies in gold dresses and parasols dancing during the Saints game Sunday - huge gaps and sort of social distanced.

threesixty 11:37 Wed Nov 18
Re: Supporters back at Premier League and other elite sports grounds by Christmas
I really dont see the point if they're not letting in a large number.
Without crowds in the tens of thousands it will look no different to what we see now. It will be even more odd.

I also think the issue will be getting people in and out of the ground safely without the virus spreading in the indoor areas. I feel like fans seated outside should be minimal spreading of the virus. (i.e. demonstrations last summer did not increase the infection rate).

I suppose if everyone wears masks at all points of the process maybe they can try it?

I think waiting to the spring seems a better idea when there are vaccines available.

Block 11:34 Wed Nov 18
Re: Supporters back at Premier League and other elite sports grounds by Christmas
Not sure how we could be losing so much, considering we have fuck all costs aside from the wages.

simon.s 11:31 Wed Nov 18
Re: Supporters back at Premier League and other elite sports grounds by Christmas
I’ve seen that some of the lower league clubs are doing ppv for their games, which is one way of bringing in some revenue, but yeah they need punters through the gate.

Block 11:30 Wed Nov 18
Re: Supporters back at Premier League and other elite sports grounds by Christmas
Rossal, they've been having fans in some non league grounds.

Its mental how you cannot have fans in grounds, particularly those that have a huge capacity. You could easily get 30k inside our piece of shit stadium.

Rossal 11:27 Wed Nov 18
Re: Supporters back at Premier League and other elite sports grounds by Christmas
They need to get people back into grounds in non league and the football league

Clubs will start to vanish over the winter otherwise......how can they survive with £0 income?

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