With the ‘Let Fans In’ campaign gathering momentum by the day, manager Chris Beech spoke this week about the importance of having supporters at games, at the same time as making sure the players deal with the circumstances they are faced with correctly.
“I think it’s vital we have fans,” he said. “I do believe last weekend’s Premier League results don’t happen if crowds are in the stadiums. I know it shouldn’t, it’s dead easy to say to the top guys they get paid so much money, they shouldn’t do that and that Man United or Liverpool players shouldn’t represent themselves like that.
“There’s no way a crowd would accept that. Let’s be right, if there was 10,000 people here last Saturday it’s absolutely that tackle on JJ would be viewed differently. Crowds don’t need to be here to see that was a sending off, but when it’s supported with a massive ‘what are you doing referee, sort it out’ he’s off straight away.
“It does affect games and response in games. I’ve said this when we’ve gone behind in league fixtures. The best way of protecting that is to score first in the current circumstances.
“But, absolutely, we want to share the game with everybody and we want people in the stadium. I just find it difficult personally to understand at the moment, because it looks like we’re heading towards more sanctions in terms of how we live our private lives.
“It’s at the opposite end now of perhaps being available to open that to supporters. I think there’s a lot of misunderstandings at the moment in terms of where you live and what you’re meant to do.”
“I do know that coronavirus is about us more, it’s getting nearer me personally, somebody in my family, not my personal family, but my nephew’s got it,” he continued. “He’s caught it from school. That’s the first time for me in all this period that it’s getting closer to me.
“So it must be around everywhere more, the ‘R’ rates are going up. I definitely do want supporters to be back, but I want us to have a game in the future, because I want us to look after each other.”
On just how strange this period is, he commented: “You can start thinking too deep about it. I’ve got to keep it relative.
“It isn’t normal, we all know that, but it’s the way it is. We prepare to play Port Vale and I can’t think any further than that. We’ve had conversations about protecting the squad from the social things the lads get up to, in terms of the virus, and we’ve even had to have conversations about lads on-loan at Kendal.
“They’re mixing with other people and there are fans in the stadiums at their games, so we have to look at things like where they get changed and showered when they come back to us. All of that is a little bit weird. Gav Skelton went to watch their game and there was over 400 people there … it’s just very strange.”
“For our fans, they would have shown how big it was to have won that game against Barrow and it’s a such a shame that we don’t get to see that,” he confirmed. “We can’t change it, so we just move on.
“It’s like a euphoric moment for winning, I’m very pleased, and very pleased that Jon [Mellish] scored what I would call a proper midfielder’s goal. It was a great performance for different reasons, particularly with it being such a long time with ten men, and that showed a different side of the determination we have within us.
“The fans would have been cheering every tackle and clearance, but the lads did it themselves because that’s what they had to do.
“The only way we can share things at the moment is through the media but we don’t get any feedback to that, unless the lads, which they probably are, look at every post that goes on Instagram or wherever.”
Meanwhile, on the decision made by the FA Appeals Panel on Tuesday to overturn the Aaron Hayden red card decision, he told us: “He might play up front Saturday with the way things are going! I know he’s done that before.
“It was superb work from everybody in getting the appeal done in the timeframe, and as professionally as it was. I get to see it before it goes and it was very well written and quite right. It wasn’t violent conduct.
“I’ve played myself, I know what is purposeful action and what isn’t. It wasn’t nice, it wasn’t clean, but if you’ve got a 14 stone lad about to land on your belly, and the other thing that starts with B down there, you’re going to protect yourself, aren’t you.
“It’s good for us that the right thing has been done and that he’s available. We can all move on from it now.”
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