Monday, May 4

Neutral gear?

Football seems to be slowly edging towards some kind of restart. The idea of playing the remaining nine PL fixtures at a neutral might make some sort of sense as any home advantage will already be lost by playing behind closed doors. Though it might be best if our neutral venue isn't Millwall. A couple of good omens for neutral grounds are that West Ham beat Blackpool at Wembley in the Play-off Final and also won at Wembley when they beat Spurs in the League Cup.

There's also the question of how the players will react to playing without fans. Will it be football at all? And who will shout at Arthur Masuaku if my fellow season-ticket holder Matt isn't there? Matt's partner Lisa has compared this to being like the question about trees falling in an empty forest. If no-one is there to shout at Arthur, does he actually exist?

Some clubs are now arguing they will only play at neutral venues if there is no relegation and the Premier League is extended to 23 clubs. There's also the issue of how the players train safely — although to be fair our defence has been practising social distancing for years. There will be risks of course, but as Jonathan Wilson pointed out in the Guardian, every form of return to normality will have an element of risk and without games a number of clubs could go out of business without any TV revenue. There are no easy answers, but the return of football in the summer would surely help improve the morale of the nation and give us something to watch beyond Tiger King.

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