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Government Plans For Return to Stadium's Mean Saints Fans Will Miss Out
Monday, 22nd Feb 2021 16:50

Under the latest plans set out by the Government to end lockdown, it looks like Saints fans could miss out with their final fixture of the season being away to West Ham United.

Boris Johnson announced this afternoon that up to 10,000 sports fans could be back in stadia by mid-May as part of the government's plans to move England out of lockdown.

It would come as part of step three of the four-stage plan laid out by PM Boris Johnson -by 17 May at the earliest.

The government's plan outlines how up to 10,000 people or a quarter of the stadium's capacity - whichever is the lowest - would be allowed.

It would mean, for example, any Premier League ground with a capacity of 40,000 or more could welcome 10,000 fans, while a smaller crowd, up to a quarter of the normal capacity, would be allowed in smaller venues.

This would in effect allow around 8,000 fans into St Mary's

"The turnstiles of our sports stadia will once again rotate," says Johnson.

But it seems that the Prime Minister's announcement has a hollow ring about it.

The date that restrictions would be lifted and fans allowed to return to stadium seems to be set as Monday 17th May, two days after the scheduled last home game of the season ironically against our next opponents Leeds United.

This will mean that unless this game is selected for screening for the Monday evening, then we will not get the chance to return to St Mary's this season, if it is changed to that day, then we will become the first football match to be played.

The final day of the Premier League season is set for the following Sunday, but the question is whether it would be fair to allow supporters back in the stadium on that final day if there is something on the outcome..

The final day sees Sheffield United V Burnley, Fulham V Newcastle & Leeds V West Brom for example, as the Premier League table stands at the moment Fulham V Newcastle could be a relegation decider, would it be fair to allow Fulham to suddenly have supporters back for this game.

The Football League season is set to end a week earlier on May 8th, usually the first games of the play offs are the weekend after followed by a midweek fixture for the second leg, that would mean the first game would be before the May 17th date, but the second game after, again would it be fair to allow one side to have fans in the ground but the other to have not been allowed to be backed by their fans.

It is great news that there is an end in sight and I welcome the news, but somewhere along the line no one in Government has actually discussed the fixture list and the implications of when the dates fall.

Photo: Action Images

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TimSaint added 17:15 - Feb 22
Didn't expect to be allowed back in before the end of the season anyway, so doesn't really make any difference and a small token gesture would just be considered a bonus anyway.
Perhaps the Govt was fully aware of the fixture lists before they announced the return dates and chose them deliberately ?
Either way, it is progress and hopefully we can look forward to a more normal season with fans next season.

ElijahK added 17:41 - Feb 22
Well the benefit of that is that if we can beat Bournemouth in the Quarter-Finals of the FA cup, then we should be able to watch saints at Wembley whether we make the FA Cup final or not!

WestSussexSaint added 18:30 - Feb 22
I think you are giving BoJo too much credit that he chose the date based on the football fixture list. More likely he had one eye on the Cricket season than football.

mattthelegend added 19:25 - Feb 22
I would imagine they took the fixtures into consideration when announcing these dates.

SanMarco added 19:42 - Feb 22
I wouldn't bet on anything at all when it comes to the competence of our lords and masters. All looks like back of a fag packet jottings so they can say they got fans flooding back.

NewburySaint added 20:53 - Feb 22
Yeah, I don’t think they’ve properly thought this through-either put the potential date back to the 24th so nobody will have the benefit of supporters, or bring it forward a week to the 10th so everybody has the benefit of supporters, in both the PL and FL Play Offs.


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Letters from Wiltshire #33 by wessex_exile
Letters from Wiltshire #32 by wessex_exile
Fifty years ago yesterday, Colchester United of the 4th Division pulled off the greatest cup giant-killing ever, beating 1st Division Leeds United 3-2 at Layer Road. Watched by 16,000, and the Match of the Day cameras, Dick Graham’s U’s, a rag-tag band of mostly aging journeymen, defied the odds to defeat arguably the greatest club side in Europe at the time. “The greatest cup giant-killing ever” is a bold claim, and over the years various football magazines and websites have run their own polls of which was the greatest. Whilst that day at Layer Rd always features, as the years have gone by other feats fresher in the memory have been put forward as a candidate – we probably all remember Ronnie Radford’s screamer against Newcastle, Sutton’s exploits, or even Bradford City quite recently at Stamford Bridge – but these pale into insignificance when you pause to reflect on the Don Revie side that we beat that day. Sprake, Cooper, Charlton, Hunter, Lorimer, Giles etc – all full internationals, all household names – the only one missing was Billy Bremner, and that was because he was injured. By comparison, all we had to offer was Ray Crawford – at his peak arguably on a par with some in the Leeds side, but that peak had been ten years earlier playing for Ipswich and England. Eleven heroes didn’t just try and hold out against Leeds United, they took the game to their illustrious opponents with such tenacity, grit and no small amount of flair, and before we knew it, the U’s were 3-0 in the lead. As legs tired, Leeds got back into the game with goals from Hunter and Giles, but we held firm – typified at the death by Graham Smith pulling off an impossible save to ensure the U’s achieved the greatest cup giant-killing ever!
Letters from Wiltshire #31 by wessex_exile
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Letters from Wiltshire #30 by wessex_exile
Letters from Wiltshire #29 by wessex_exile

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