• Dan Tracey


If there is one thing that is more striking than anything else this season, it is the continual sight of empty stadia during football matches and although there was a sprinkling of domestic fandom before the turn of the year, the sound of silence has been all too loud since last August.

However, like with so many other aspects of life, there is certainly light at the end of the tunnel and light from a Premier League point of view is worth 10,000 bulbs or fans in attendance, as they will be better known.

With Boris Johnson’s English lockdown exit plans permitting a five-figure crowd on the final day of the season, there is certainly cause for celebration. Then again, it does create something of an imbalance in terms of fairness.

Because for those clubs that do possess home advantage, the return of supporters will be a timely boost and if Fulham versus Newcastle was a winner take all special in the battle for survival, the Cottagers will have been given a huge boost.

Of course, whether such a dramatic scenario unfolds next month remains to be seen and although high drama may not be on offer in West London, the question regarding fairness was one still unanswered.

That is until the Premier League’s latest announcement and one that sees a late schedule change. In doing so, it means each of the 20 teams that operate within in the division, will be able to open their doors to paying custom.

To facilitate such a move, the penultimate weekend of the season will now take place across May 18th and 19th and it means, these fixtures will take place a day or two after England further eases from lockdown.

Therefore, there can no longer be any arguments regarding the lack of competitive balance and especially at such a crucial point of the season. While the most important thing of all, is that more supporters will get an opportunity to see their team in the flesh.

Because the past year or so has been rather arduous in terms of armchair fandom and with so much television football taking place – even though this has been something of a necessary evil, there has been a huge sense of oversaturation at times.

Thankfully, the final two gameweeks of this current Premier League campaign and the European Championships should act as a precursor to a form of normality within England and after the summer, the likes of Old Trafford and Anfield will hopefully be much nearer full capacity.

Add into the mix, the sights of supporters at the F.A. Cup Semi-final and the Carabao Cup final over the next two weekends and even though the numbers will be rather meagre for the vast structure of Wembley, it is so much better than another game behind closed doors.

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