We are without a doubt not in ordinary times, but some things have refused to change. Following the hundred days shutdown of Premier League as a result of the outbreak of the coronavirus, the English Football came back with Manchester City defeating Arsenal, and David Luiz did not disappoint in showcasing his ability to mess things up. Just like in Germany, Spain, and Italy, nobody was present to see it through.
Even without the fans, Manchester City didn’t disappoint
However, the premier league is here to stay, even if it is only behind closed doors. Manchester City’s easy win only spelled out one thing for Liverpool, and they do not stand any chance of winning the title at Everton on Sunday. The people present during the game were fewer than 300 onlookers, which included the media, safety stewards and club staff, all of whom had to go through a couple of temperature checks before being allowed to enter the playing ground.
The premier league could not have been any weirder since it was halted in mid-march with about 92 games to play, the presence of fans would have made the strict safety measures, and social distancing protocol a little bit bearable. This is not the football we all know, and the experience felt very weird for the players. Picture the football stewards standing outside locked turnstiles, sterile environment crawling with strict safety measures, and the stadium that is divided into zones of Green, amber, and Red. The deserted street outside the Etihad Stadium, we might as well add a tumbleweed and get it over with.
This only proves that the fans, the screams, the instruments, the excitement, and the love are the lifeblood of the game, so the next time they are being priced out of the game, they can refer to this unprecedented moment.
Here’s one funny thing that happened though, two Manchester city fans from Warrington, knowing very well they could not watch the game, were 20 miles away in their Man City shirts outside the Etihad to eat something at the Fish and chip shop like they usually did before every game on television. Another fan was also spotted playing “Blue Moon” outside the stadium entrance on a saxophone, and that was all of it. Fans did not turn up to cause any scene.
Fans in the UK are not exactly psyched about games being played while the daily corona-virus death tally in the country continues to be a three-digit number. Some of the players have also expressed concerns about the safety, and some supporters also took to social media to accuse the football clubs of placing money before the health and well-being of players and the other individuals present, some people believe that football without the fans does not make sense and Is not worth watching.
Front-line health workers and the Black Lives Matter campaign
The return of the premier league is fully supported by the government, and this move was meant to highlight the important steps on the road to recovery and also to lift the morale of the nation. However, the grief and loss experienced by many cants be escaped. Pep Guardiola, who happens to be Manchester City’s manager, spoke just about 24 hours before the game, mainly about all the “Difficult times” he had to endure since his mother, Dolores, passed away in April shortly after contracting the coronavirus. There were also some banners made to cover some of the empty seats in Etihad and carried messages of hope, support, and thanks to our front-liners who have sacrificed a lot by treating and caring for a lot of people in recent weeks and months.
The players were also seen wearing a logo of a blue heart in front of their shirts as a way of paying tribute to the National Health Service. They also carried inscriptions that read “Black lives Matter” at the back of their shirts to acknowledge and support the movement that sparked up as a result of the passing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota, last month.
Right before the match began, all the players took a knee. Forward Pierre Emerick Aubameyang of Arsenal was also spotted raising a clenched fist at the time. I guess the shutdown helped football to find its voice finally.