“Football is nothing without fans.”
Scarcely have the words of the late, great Sir Matt Busby been more apt.
For over a year, footballers of all levels have had to carry out their work in near-isolation with an eerie silence echoing around empty stands.
Now, as football slowly begins to emerge from the side-effects of the Covid-19 pandemic to begin welcoming back supporters, all of that is about to change.
There will be no fans at Saturday’s Scottish Cup Final as Glasgow remains in tier 3 but Dundee will welcome back 500 fans at Dens Park for Thursday’s Premiership play-off final first leg with Kilmarnock.
Fans also made their return earlier this week at the other end of Scottish football as 250 filtered through the New Central Park turnstiles to see Kelty beating Brechin City 2-1 in the first leg of the pyramid play-off final.
The same amount will be at Glebe Park on Sunday as Brechin confirmed on Wednesday they have been given the go-ahead for 250 people to attend the crucial second leg.
‘It’s been a long 14 months’
Bigger crowds will soon follow in Euro 2020 and Kelty boss Barry Ferguson – who regularly played in front of 50,000 as a nine-in-a-row winning Rangers captain – believes fans are the lifeblood of the beautiful game.
“It’s been a long 14 months without fans,” said Ferguson. “Our stadium normally creates a great atmosphere and there were a lot of faces at our game that I haven’t seen for 14 months.
“It’s tough. I take my hat off to players not just at our level but players in League Two, League One, Championship and the Scottish Premiership.
“I would struggle to play without fans. They create an atmosphere and get you motivated.
“It’s great to see 250 people in. I’m disappointed we can’t have a full house here and one in Brechin but I’m so excited about Sunday’s game that I wish it was happening tomorrow.”
City will offer season ticket holders free entry into Sunday’s game as they bid to avoid dropping out of the SPFL and into the Highland League.
“Football has been missing the fans,” said Brechin boss Michael Paton. “We all crave their support and it will be like having a 12th man on Sunday.
RETURN OF FANS AT THE GLEBE
The Club is pleased to confirm that 250 home spectators will be able to return to the Glebe for our second leg of the Pyramid Play Off Final v @KeltyHeartsFC on Sunday. There will be NO charge for entry to this game.
— Brechin City FC (@BrechinCityFC) May 19, 2021
“The fact that fans have been away for so long means that some of my players haven’t experienced playing in front of crowds – ever.
“I’m really excited and looking forward to seeing these players play in front of fans because the support and belief that is around this club is unbelievable.”
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