Although not confirmed, it is highly likely that Football League matches involving our sides when the new season kicks off on September 12, will be played behind closed doors, writes Gareth Davies.
For all our teams, who have fanbases renowned for the passionate backing, it could mean they are disadvantaged during the early weeks of 2020-21.
Supporters could be allowed back into stadiums from October but for Plymouth Argyle manager Ryan Lowe, he is open minded about the pitfalls of playing matches behind closed doors.
Speaking at a press conference held at Home Park on Thursday, the Pilgrims’ chief, who enjoyed a prudent Football League career as a striker before moving into management, was asked if games without supporters could be a drawback, based on what he has seen post-lockdown.
He said: “Has it been a disadvantage to some? Yeah, possibly. I’m a big Liverpool fan and with no screaming Kop behind them, have they struggled a bit of late? Well, I wouldn’t say they have struggled, but they need that extra man and listen, the Green Army are our 12th man for a reason.
“It will be my job to get the lads up to the task and I will. Me and my staff will make sure and again, yes, sometimes you need that extra bit of buzz from a tackle or a shot to get the crowd off their seat. I’m sure we will be motivated from September 12 and we will need to get used to playing games behind closed doors. We will get the lads fired up and hopefully it won’t be too much of a disadvantage.”
Lowe’s side returned to training recently although this is restricted to small groups with no full-contact work yet.
However, that is set to change next week and The Independent understands that Argyle will announce their pre-season games early next week.
The Pilgrims boss also added that these current limitations are restrictive because of the camaraderie in his group that thrives on what he describes as a ‘good bond’.
“(Training) is quite tough for us as well as the players,” he added. “We are down on the training pitch from 10 and the players are on their feet in slots, coming in for an hour, getting some dinner, going home, sitting in their cars for an hour then coming back.
“That is tough as we’re quite a tight group and the players want to get together and have a bit of banter with each other but they can’t. As one group comes out the other goes in and if there is a crossover, one group has to walk round the top pitch.
“We can’t wait to get them together to gel them together because that is one of my biggest fortes as togetherness is key for us.
“That’s not just the players, it’s the players and the staff because we have a good bond with each other and we have great banter with each other. But when you’re working, you’re working and doing your job.
“Hopefully, after next week we can have full contact training and then we’ll plan for games.
“Planning for games we’re still going to do although there are some protocols in place. Teams have got to be tested before you play them so we have to look at those that have been tested. Pre-season won’t change for the players because they will still get the minutes, volume and games in.
“The surroundings will change because there won’t be any fans.”