Premier League potential return bitterly divides fans

Premier League potential return bitterly divides fans
Before the coronavirus pandemic brings an abrupt end to the Premier League season, Liverpool were just two wins away from winning first prize in English football – their first league title in 30 years.

But as the Premier League examines ways to relaunch the season, a potential resumption of the current campaign divides fans bitterly.

“All these celebrations we had planned, those drinks with friends and the hugs and kisses that we imagined when it was finally confirmed, we had to wait for that now and, obviously, we’re going to have to think of it in different terms”, Liverpool fan and co-founder of Anfield’s envelope Gareth Roberts told CNN Sport.

“But I still think it would be a huge thing for Liverpool to finally win it and, like any Liverpool fan, I would like that to be confirmed.”

Safety first

There have been 172,481 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the UK with 26,842 deaths, according to latest figures.

A number of Premier League teams have had multiple team members who test positive for the virus.

So while he is desperate to see a return to action, Roberts does not want the health and safety of others to be jeopardized as a result.

He accepts the dream of seeing his team lift the trophy in front of a crowded Anfield stadium, which is far from being a reality, all return must inevitably be played behind closed doors.

But Roberts knows how important football is to the community and says that watching the games on TV will always bring welcome relief.

“For me it’s an integrity issue. Football is very important to people and they put so much into it,” added the 43-year-old.

“If you suddenly delete this, I think a lot of people would find it difficult to manage.

“In fact, I think a lot of people would walk away from the game if you said Liverpool are not going to have the chance to win the title now.”

Liverpool fans have left flares as their team coach arrives at the stadium before the Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Manchester City at Anfield on November 10, 2019.

‘Bonkers’ rushes

However, the mood at the other end of the Premier League table is very different.

Newly promoted Norwich City has struggled in the elite this season and is worryingly anchored at the bottom of the table – requiring a major turnaround to avoid relegation.

For Jack reeve, founder of the Talk about the Norwich City podcast, football means relatively little in the context of the crisis and, overall, he would prefer the season to be abandoned, describing any comeback at the moment as “bonkers”.

“We don’t have a vaccine, the deaths are not going down much and we are still planning to bring the season back. It just seems ridiculous to me,” Reeve told CNN Sport.

Like Roberts, Reeve says that stadium safety is paramount to any return to action but, unlike Roberts, he says that behind closed doors is not a prospect he looks forward to.

“I think people would much prefer that sports return safely, rather than being rushed,” he said, admitting that it would be difficult to take if Norwich was relegated without the chance to finish the season.

“I want the fairest result possible but, unfortunately, I don’t think there is a particularly fair result unless the season continues and I don’t think it’s a particularly wise decision either.”

“Central pillar of your life”

Earlier this week, British lawmaker Oliver Dowden said, “I have started talks with the Premier League to get football started as soon as possible in order to support the entire football community. But, of course, such movements must comply with public health recommendations. “

Proponents of a potential return to action have suggested that this could help improve the mood of the nation.

“Some conversations seem to be about the general morale of the country and I think football plays a role in it,” added Roberts.

“When you dedicate a large part of your life to something and it is a central pillar of your life, it is difficult for people to suddenly get rid of it with very little notice.

“You have this moment of pure joy [when Liverpool win]; the expression on your face is also the expression on the face of thousands of other people. You cannot recreate this. “

Teemu Pukki of Norwich City celebrates with his teammates after scoring his team's third goal in the Premier League match between Norwich City and Manchester City at Carrow Road on September 14, 2019.

This is an observation also shared by Reeve who says that he missed the social side of sitting in a crowd of thousands and cheering for his team, despite his modest position.

“It has always been for the people I see on the field that I think it has been the biggest loss for me,” he added.

“Not having it really discouraged me and I know it kicked a lot of other people out. For some people, football is their life and I feel sorry for them.”

Premier League organizers have accelerated their plans this week to relaunch the current season with reports suggesting a soft goal of June 8, with players expected to return to training next month.

Top English clubs to meet on Friday to discuss potential comeback, while European football’s governing body UEFA has urged national leagues to decide the fate of this season by then May 25.


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