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Opinion

On Saturday I tuned in from Newcastle and became a Borussia Monchengladbach fan for the foreseeable…

3 months ago
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I flicked around the 2.30pm matches on Saturday and then all of the 5.30pm game, like a lot of Newcastle fans I have accepted the invitation from Borussia Monchengladbach to ‘support’ them during the remainder of this season and enjoyed seeing them stroll to a 3-1 win at Eintracht Frankfurt.

I also had a bet on them to enhance the experience (as I often do when watching non-NUFC PL matches) and kept an eye on the earlier games, Leipzig only drawing, which allowed Borussia Monchengladbach to move into third, only three points off Bayern Munich at the top.

I will be watching FC Koln v Mainz on Sunday afternoon and supporting the visitors as the Mackems have adopted FC Koln, plus a small bet on Mainz to add to the occasion.

It is a case of making the best of the situation.

The Bundesliga football was very high standard and players looked no less committed than usual, in fact the Frankfurt v BM match saw loads of getting stuck in tackles and yellow cards.

The players, managers and match officials were all professional, well planned and executed, whilst the ridiculous fears of thousands of fans turning up to stare at the outside of a stadium, instead of watching games live on TV at home, simply didn’t happen, nor was it ever going to. The same in the Premier League with the stupidity of trying to force there to be neutral stadiums used.

Dortmund played the Ruhr derby against Schalke, bitter rivals less than 20 miles apart, usually there would be 80,000 inside the stadium and yet police there (and elsewhere) had zero problems outside stadiums.

Yes I would obviously rather have fans inside stadiums but that is not an option, so you go to next best.

When the Premier League kicks off again I will have far more interest in the games than I did watching the Bundesliga because in some shape or form I will be able to pick someone I want to win and / or lose in every match. Then of course, especially looking forward to watching the Newcastle matches. An empty St James Park won’t be nice to see but that is where we are at.

You get some idiots saying you should only have Premier League games once it is ‘100% safe’ and / or only once there is a vaccine. I hate to break it to you but there will never be a time when it is ‘100% safe’, even if there is a vaccine developed and given to everybody, even then it is not 100% safe because no vaccine can ever be 100% effective. Whilst there is a serious chance that a vaccine will never be found and even if one is developed, it would almost certainly not be until 2021 at the earliest it would be widely available.

It is a balance and whilst clearly the UK government have been absolutely useless in their handling of the virus crisis, things are improving despite them, society is gradually moving towards some kind of ‘normality” including with football.

Enjoy these Premier League matches for what they are when they do kick off again, a form of entertainment and distraction, plus also importantly, ensuring the season is completed and we avoid the really serious financial implications of not doing so. Important for the PL clubs but arguably even more so for the 71 EFL clubs who will need the financial support from the money generated by PL clubs, to try and avoid too many of them going bust.

The quicker we get the Premier League matches back, then I think also the quicker we move towards having fans back inside stadiums. As time moves on and games are shown to be able to be put on in a professional way and with fans buying into what is happening, we will then hopefully reach a point where supporters are phased back into stadiums, from small limited numbers initially and then growing as the virus situation improves.

It was never going to be an all or nothing bounce back, the Premier League kicking off again with empty stadiums is only the first step.

For now, I am looking forward to ‘our’ next match, 2.30pm Saturday at home to fifth place Bayer Leverkusen.

Tune in and turn on, Howay the Foals!

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