Common sense, above all else

If they are confirmed later this week as being in a Tier One area, the Gulls are expected to be able to accommodate crowds...

If they are confirmed later this week as being in a Tier One area, the Gulls are expected to be able to accommodate crowds of up to 2,500. Photo: Micah Crook/PPAUK - Credit: Micah Crook/PPAUK

The return of fans presents unique challenges

ALL THE REGULATIONS surrounding the return of fans to professional football next week will struggle to make the best of an unprecedented situation unless they are accompanied on all sides by a hefty dose of the most important factor of all – common sense.

Torquay United are planning to welcome up to 2,000 supporters to next Saturday’s (Dec 5) game against Wrexham – the figure is limited by the Government decision to place Devon under anti-virus Tier Two restrictions.

The Gulls had already put in place a raft of safety measures to allow fans back before that hope was blocked less than two months ago.

Those rules, and probably some new ones, will be in operation at Plainmoor, where CEO George Edwards and his team have worked tirelessly to keep their staff safe and Covid-19 away this year.

United are poised to announce all the ‘protocols’ in the near future, and football in the winter of 2020-2021 will not be as we have always known it.

It may well include:

Most Read

*Priority admission for season ticket holders

*All sales online – NO CASH transactions

*Email confirmation of attendance

*Timed arrival at the ground

*Temperature testing on entrance

*Stewarded escort to seats/terraces

*No leaving of places to hug/celebrate/criticise goals or decisions

But there is no way that you can have fans back at any ground, especially at Plainmoor with Gary Johnson’s side top of the National League and so much at stake, and expect everyone to behave as if they were at a Mozart recital.

Supporters will have to show more restraint than usual, but to expect them not to shout or cheer, for instance, is patently pointless.

If that’s the intention, they might as well call the whole thing off.

The vast majority of people have obeyed whatever rules the Government has passed down throughout this pandemic.

That same vast majority of Gulls fans will be keen to do exactly the same now.

But what will make it all work, as well as it possibly can, must be at least a spirit of ‘normality’ and that precious common sense from all concerned.

And, of course, the ultimate choice remains for everyone. You don’t have to go if you don’t want to...