OPINION: Let’s hope 2021 is a better one for football and the world in general
2020 has been a year like no other. Living through an unprecedented global pandemic has seen many people sadly lose loved ones whilst we have all had to make great sacrifices, with our usual way of life completely disrupted.
Football is not special enough to have escaped the Coronavirus pandemic. Thousands of fans up and down the country have been unable to watch their teams play for the best part of a year. We’ve always known how important fans were to the footballing experience and the game as a whole, but this year has highlighted that even further. Football is lacking soul without fans in stadiums. At the time of writing, only Liverpool and Everton are allowed any fans into their grounds but at an extremely reduced capacity.
It has also denied fans the chance to witness moments they have dreamt of for many years. 2020 was the year in which Liverpool secured their first league title in 30 years and Leeds United secured their return to the Premier League after 16 years yet both sets of fans were forced to watch their teams get over the line on television.
So many of them will have imagined how those moments would go in their heads and none would have wanted them to be like this.
Football also has a big role to play in the mental welfare of people. Many rely on the experience of going to watch their teams.
Not just going to the actual game, but also the social side of it to, which could mean going for a drink in a local pub before hand or some other pre-match ritual. Not being able to go to football has also had a damaging effect on people’s wellbeing which is why some supporters have found solace in turning to non-league football instead.
Thankfully, non-league hasn’t been too badly effected in terms of allowing fans but though the FA did cause great damage by null and voiding the whole of the 2019-200 season.
Clubs are operating at a restricted capacity but that is still much better for clubs than games behind closed doors which would lead to some clubs going out of business.
As we enter 2021, let’s hope things will improve greatly, not just for football but the world as a whole and we can start getting back to doing the things we love.