Fans return to the Premier League for the first time since March

They’re back! Fans return to the Premier League for the first time since March as West Ham United welcome back 2,000 supporters for their game against Manchester United… but not quite as we know it

  • Hammers fans are the first in the top flight to watch their team live this season
  • Leicester City v Aston Villa was the last Premier League game with fans present
  • Despite fans being allowed back, there are a number of changes from normal 
  • Hand sanitiser and temperature checks are part of the new spectator experience
  • Tomas Soucek gave the home side the lead before United came back to win 3-1

West Ham United welcomed 2,000 fans back to the London Stadium against Manchester United to mark the first Premier League match since March to have fans inside the stadium. 

Leicester City’s game against Aston Villa on March 9 was the last English top-flight game without supporters and with Covid-19 leaving a black mark on the sport and the world at large, the sight of West Ham supporters traipsing back into the London Stadium to witness the visit of Manchester United will have given all football-lovers hope that the opportunity to cheer their team on won’t be too far away.   

The experience is not the same – with face coverings, reduced singing, hand sanitiser, temperature checks on arrivals and social distancing all elements of the new set-up – but those fans lucky enough to bag seats for the match certainly weren’t dwelling too much on that as they belted out I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles. 

West Ham United fans were in fine voice as I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles was bellowed out

A programme seller dons a face shield, mask and gloves before the match in east London

Temperature checks and face coverings are part of the new fan experience across England

The fans were in fine voice even before Tomas Soucek had put the home side 1-0 up  in the first half before Paul Pogba and Mason Greenwood brilliantly turned the game on its head after the break. 

Chelsea are the next club to welcome supporters when they host Leeds United in Saturday’s 8pm kick-off.  

On Sunday, 2,000 Tottenham fans will be able to attend the north London derby, before the same number of Liverpool supporters will converge on Anfield for their match against Wolves. Brighton will then host 2,000 fans – the maximum number allowed in a tier 2 area – when they play Southampton on Monday night. 

Fans from the same household can sit together and socially distance from everyone else

The home fans celebrate after Tomas Soucek put David Moyes’ men in front in the first period

The return of the non-ironic cupped-ear celebration returned with Paul Pogba’s equaliser

Mason Greenwood ended his league scoring drought in style before Marcus Rashford’s strike

If clubs can convince the government-led Sports Technology and Innovation Group (STIG) taskforce that the safety measure have been adhered to, trials with greater capacities may be considered. 

However, there are still 10 clubs in tier 3 areas and therefore cannot host fans yet: Aston Villa, Burnley, Leeds, Leicester, both Manchester clubs, Newcastle, Sheffield United, West Brom and Wolves.  

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