WEMBLEY FAN VIEW: Lack of tension but better than being locked out

WEMBLEY FAN VIEW: After they ask for your COVID ticket at the gates, there is no adrenaline and no tension amongst 4,000 fans in a 90,000-seater stadium – it’s different, but it’s still better than being locked out completely

  • Total of 4,000 fans were allowed into Wembley stadium for the FA Cup semi-final
  • Kelechi Iheanacho’s goal was enough for Leicester to beat Southampton 1-0
  • But despite the return of supporters, there was inevitably a lack of atmosphere
  • REPORT: Leicester beat Southampton on Sunday night to reach the FA Cup final

Walking into Wembley, it was like being back at big matches from January and February last year – except barely anyone had turned up.

Get your ticket out, scan it, and then they ask for the other ticket – the Covid ticket.

As students living locally we’d been to a testing site for a lateral flow test on Saturday night to get the evidence of a negative result within 24 hours of kick-off that was needed to get through the turnstiles.

Fans were back at Wembley to watch Leicester’s FA Cup semi final win over Southampton

It was one of three pilot events aimed at phasing supporters back into football grounds

Pull out your phone, the Covid marshals – who are everywhere – check the date and time on the NHS email and that you’re definitely negative and off you go. 

I made it from my flat to my seat in the stadium in 15 minutes, over an hour before kick-off.

So it’s different – but not inconvenient. Inside, there’s pints and food for sale as usual – and you can even queue at the bar. 

We were emailed in advance to tell us celebrating, chanting and singing was not allowed. But that wasn’t enforced by security.

I was five-or-more seats away from anyone else, others had at least a seat separating them from others, with everyone spread out from 4,000 others around a 90,000-seater stadium.

They’ve probably got as many staff as fans and it’s all efficient. We’re not having to do tests on the door which would take up time, there’s no standing around.

The match itself wasn’t the most exciting, but I’m sure the Leicester and Southampton fans would’ve been up for it if they had been allowed in.

I last went to a game of this sort of size at Arsenal last February. This, a Cup semi-final without fans of either club, obviously didn’t feel the same.

A Southampton and Leicester fan pose together outside Wembley before Sunday’s semi-final

No adrenaline, no tension – and even after Kelechi Iheanacho’s goal they pumped out music over the speakers, further killing the atmosphere.

So it was OK: not the best game, not the best crowd, but it’s just nice to be back at a live game. I’ll be applying for the FA Cup final too.

It’s much better than being locked out of the football completely and I’m quite blessed to have been one of 4,000. It’s an experience I won’t forget.

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