The fever-pitch noise, last-minute thrills and second-half attacks against the Kop have been replaced by a turgid atmosphere and plastic football fans.
You heard it all, not quite. How about fake crowd noise and ‘dolls’, masquerading as fans, found in FC Seoul’s stadium.
Yes, you heard it correctly. Scarcely could I believe it, but this is not a regular season— far from it.Embed from Getty Images
What a year 2020 has been for football, and we still have a month to go. The new normal has been anything but ordinary.
With football fans still waiting on the outcome on the future of the beautiful game, it raises the question: Is Covid-19 the death of football? Such a strong statement but not one without foundation.
On closer inspection, it is not hard to see why. Anfield has become akin to a ghost town. A flawless 3-0 victory over Leicester City, in the Premier League, felt more like a funeral.
Quiet, sombre and muted celebrations followed the full-time whistle—almost an ode to a loved one who had just passed, or a final farewell at a graduation party.
But before we close the curtains, or complain of doom and gloom, a 360-degree jump across the other side of the world showed football is not quite dead just yet.
The passing of Diego Maradona led to scores of people pouring out in admiration at the death of an all-time great. “Diego is not dead, Diego lives in the people,” was heard on the streets.Embed from Getty Images
Covid restrictions were thrown in the scrap heap as the world ravaged by torment came together for a moment that will live long in the memory.
Switching from a moment of passing to the immediate present— for the 2000 fans allowed back into Anfield against Wolves, it has been a wait far too long. And yet, the injustice still rings true.
The select few who are lucky enough to attend, at the same time, know it comes at a cost to other die-hard fans. Nothing seems to be going right. And it should not come as a surprise.
The fracas over broadcast deals and fixture congestion further harm the game that we all adore. Added to that, a VAR system that fails to meet the demands of the modern game adds further insult to injury.
The next few months could prove to be crucial on the future of football. So what do we do? We do the only thing that we can.
We wait, and we continue waiting.