With up to a thousand United supporters allowed into the stadium on Saturday for the first home league game of the season, against Southend United, manager Chris Beech spoke about how good it will be to see fans, albeit not in the numbers we would really like to see, back in the ground for the game.
“It’s great, isn’t it, they’ll be so excited,” he said. “They’ll have that feeling of getting ready and sticking that new strip on that they’ve paid good money for.
“They’ll be coming down in it and feeling good, so it’s fantastic. Hopefully it’ll be a nice day and we can have a really good first home game.”
“Players respond to fans being in the stadium, of course they do, and like I said to the chairman the other day, it must be so difficult for the lads.
“It’s like being a performer, a singer, and having no crowd to sing to. Even if you’ve sang a bad note, there’s a response from them and you’ll think that you’d better buck your ideas up – you don’t get that without people there, and it is really strange.
“I spoke last week after the game about how hard it is going behind in a game at the moment, in the situation we’re in. Balls end up in the stands, but there’s no ball boys to get them back quickly for you.
“I watched that ‘All or Nothing’ and I think that helped Mourinho in one of the games where the ball was quickly given back to one of the players and they scored a goal. It’s that connection of what our sport is that’s been missing.
“Hopefully we can do well on Saturday in terms of the club and the organisation, which will mean that the EFL and governing bodies are happy, and we then get it expanded to what we would class as normal football.”
“To be fair, I don’t think the players need lifting, because they are and have been very motivated,” he continued. “If anything, like I keep saying, step back a little bit and relax.
“In terms of being able to play in front of our supporters, who’ve had to be very patient along with all the other nationwide supporters of football clubs to come back, but it’s absolutely superb. I think it’s really good.
“It’s a big test for the club, I would imagine, who is fan number 1,001 who can’t get in! It will start all sorts of arguments and discrepancies, but it’s great that some of our wonderful supporters can come back.
“I know it’s only one thousand but I don’t see it as anything other than a good thing. And what we’ve all got to do is make sure we keep tabs on this horrendous virus that seems to have different value in different news programmes in what’s actually happening.
“We’ve got to keep a clear mind – we’re a football team that’s prepared to play football, and it’s great we can share it with some of our fans.
“Some of that sharing will be with the people who come into the Paddock. I miss them, me. That’s what football is all about, isn’t it? They just want the best for their club.
“It’s like anything – once you’ve been beaten and by a score line, it doesn’t really matter what you say, everybody will look into it and say, well you’ve had 19 shots but are you doing any shooting practice, or we didn’t have creativity in midfield - there’s always something that’s going to come out when you’re had a negative result, no matter what you say or do.
“We just have to make sure we stop giving gifts away, have a good foundation, have freedom within that.
“I was speaking to the lads the other day and I said, we should be … I just want postmen. The response was, what are you on about gaffer?
“So I said, I just want you to deliver the package to the lads to express themselves, without giving it away. How do you get your Dominos? It doesn’t get squashed through your letterbox before you’ve even eaten it. You just need to deliver. Have a platform, deliver and crack on.”
“What we have this weekend is that we’re one of eight clubs who will have fans in,” he concluded. “I’m very pleased with that. I’m so happy that the lads and lasses can come back and watch us play.
“It will probably cause a bit of discrepancy, if you’re a fan that misses out, but I’m really pleased that we’re going to have people who support our cause supporting us on the day.”
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