Friday’s announcement that professional football in England will be postponed until at least April 4th marks an unprecedented time for the English game. So, we asked our fan writers how they were feeling about the situation.
Health and safety comes first. That goes without question. But it’s still OK for football fans to feel a little lost without the game that means so much to so many. Here are our writers’ thoughts…
Ben Webb – Liverpool
The suspension of the Premier League, along with the rest of the European leagues, was no surprise to me. The Coronavirus needs to be taken seriously and, in my opinion, the Premier League (and the rest of England’s professional leagues) were awaiting leadership and guidance from the government, but had no choice but to take drastic action after Mikel Arteta and Callum Hudson-Odoi tested positive.
I can’t see football returning in April. To me, that date was to allow for a bit of breathing space and cohesive decision-making. How and when they conclude the Premier League is unknown at this moment in time, due to the predictions of the virus peaking in the future at unspecified levels. It’s unprecedented.
To give my perspective as a Liverpool fan – and in the context of football in general – it’s frustrating to be within touching distance of ending a thirty-year hiatus, but I’m not letting it change my thoughts on the season or pretend it didn’t happen.
All this talk around announcing the 19/20 season null and void seems irresponsible and a bit injudicious to suggest a decision be made of such magnitude, with so many implications and undetermined consequences.
Surely, to respect the Premier League’s reputation, and remain fair, the league must be completed at some stage, so I would imagine postponing for now before reassessing is their best option.
Liverpool bias aside, how can you start another season without concluding this one? Wait until it’s safe, then conclude – everything else is irrelevant until a level of normality has been restored to society.
Follow Ben on Twitter @BenWebbLFC
Freddie Pye – Manchester City
It’s obviously a situation that’s frustrating considering how much there was still to play for from a Manchester City point of view – namely, the Champions League and FA Cup – but come on, it’s a global health crisis. People are the priority and, eventually, the way the Premier League and UEFA went about cancelling football fixtures across the continent was justified.
I guess the only concern now is the knock-on effects financially for the clubs who have less of a financial backing in comparison to City, as well as the impact on the rescheduling of competitions.
The current projections of finishing domestic football by June 30th would mean Manchester City would have to begin fixtures on April 15th, and still play Champions League fixtures as one-legged ties. It’s just not feasible, but like everyone else, nobody can foresee the severity of COVID-19 and what is yet to come…
Follow Freddie on Twitter @FreddiePye_
Simon Phillips – Chelsea
It’s going to be a long and depressing time for everyone, including those with a diehard love of football. Restarting in April is hugely ambitious. In fact, I can’t see the season being played out at all now; I can only see it being void. I’m no medical expert but I believe it will only get worse before it peaks and begins to get better.
For the players, it will also be very dull. These guys live for the game, just like us. Hopefully they will at least be able to train together and keep kicking a ball.
The only silver lining as a Chelsea fan is that we were hit massively with injuries just as things erupted. So at the very least, it should give our injured players time to recover, and hopefully they will play training matches in order to get their full fitness back.
I knew how tough this was going to be for me after day three of no sport, when I found myself shouting ‘GO ONNN SON’ at my 8-year old niece before she had her go at ten-pin bowling last weekend!
Follow Simon on Twitter @SiPhillipsSport
Nicole Deans – Manchester United
Life without football? It's like Manchester without rain really, isn't it? Strange. But fans without football? It’s nothing! But of course, our health must come first.
As a Red, I wanted to see us continue to fight for top four while dreading the almost inevitable celebrations from our rivals, Liverpool. But that's ultimately what football is about, isn't it? The highs and lows. Through the best times of your life, and the worst.
For me, football is all I've ever known. An escape from everyday life. A trip to Old Trafford or watching at home or the pub. A pause from the daily challenges we all face.
But perhaps now isn't the time to shut the world out. Instead, let the world in. As in be kind, talk about our fondest memories in football, and wish our fellow human beings (whichever club's strip they adorn) the best in health.
Look after each other. And never again take for granted the opportunity to watch our team when the chance arises once again. Or anything else for that matter!
Follow Nicole on Twitter @UnitedSheStands
Abbi Summers – Tottenham Hotspur
It’s no surprise that with the ongoing coronavirus crisis, football would be coming to a halt. If we’re honest, for Spurs it’s probably done us a favour and given us a much needed reprieve from the turmoil both on and off the pitch.
Although a life without football is incredibly dull and boring and we hope this pause is over sooner rather than later, the silver lining for Tottenham fans is that, by the time we resume, we might actually have some players back fit! Kane, Son and Sissoko will all hopefully be back in the squad to give us that final push we really need to finish the season off.
The returning players could be the difference between us finishing in the top four or simply finishing in the top half of the table, if we’re being bleak. If José can get his tactics right, we might actually be thankful for this pandemic (in a strictly footballing sense). All I know is that our Amazon documentary is going to be wild.
Follow Abbi on Twitter @abbi_summers
Dan Critchlow – Arsenal
As an Arsenal fan, the few days before the Premier League’s suspension were very hectic. First, the hastily-scheduled trip to Manchester City was cancelled after the Olympiacos owner tested positive for coronavirus – given the risk to those who had made recent contact with him.
We were assured no players or staff were showing symptoms, and the weekend fixture against Brighton would go ahead. Then, Mikel Arteta tested positive.
That was a big shock, hitting the heart of the club. It really brought home the impact this was going to have on football, and I don’t think there were any complaints from us at the postponement news the following morning.
At the same time, despite what some might think about Arsenal fans being glad to get this season over with, we’re just as disappointed as everyone else. Someone told me this weekend he’d rather have watched a 1-0 defeat to Brighton than miss out altogether.
The health and safety of the players, staff and supporters comes first. We know that as well as anyone. Weekends just aren’t the same without the chance to watch our team, though.
Follow Dan on Twitter @afcDW