Hess not confident on fans being back soon
Hess not confident on fans being back soon

Just as the Football League, the National League continues through Lockdown 2.0 without fans but with games being called off more and more regularly because of COVID restrictions, it’s becoming tougher and tougher for clubs to continue.

Dover Athletic lost their game at Wealdstone last weekend and when we spoke to boss Andy Hessenthaler, they were awaiting results of COVID tests to see if they could play again this month.

With that in mind, we asked him about the possibility of fans return to increase clubs fortune, his response was stark and ominous!

“Unfortunately, my gut feeling is that we don’t see fans back in grounds until next season now!” he confessed.

“That’s my gut feeling and it’s such a shame to have a season with no fans is going to be tough for the fans and I do feel for them to be fair, because they go to work all week and for most fans they look forward to a Saturday to watch their team play, some travelling around the country watching their team play!

“So, it must be really tough for them because it’s not the same watching live streams on TV, it’s nowhere near the same and there’s no way that it can be.

“A member of my family is a Leeds fan and he’s got a box at Elland Road; they’ve got into the Premier League after all these years and he’s absolutely gutted that he can’t go and watch them. Hopefully, that will change soon for everyone, but I can’t see it happening and it will probably have to be next season now!”

Empty stadiums are becoming increasingly the norm and even the Greatest Cup Competition in the World has suffered – a fact that Hessenthaler completely concurred with.

“With no fans in it just wasn’t the same last weekend,” he admitted. “I’ve got a love of the FA Cup over the years as a player and a manager and to have no fans there… I talk to Steve McKimm quite a lot and I was gutted for him – I know they lost seven nil which was tough on them!”

“To see Tonbridge not able to have any fans against a good Bradford side was heart-breaking really because the club deserved fans in there and I think personally, if fans had been in there, the score would have been the same, I think all the Tonbridge fans in there right behind the players would the score-line would have been different!

“I felt for Steve and Tonbridge because they deserved to have a crowd in there and they are a Kent side too, but unfortunately it wasn’t the case! It really doesn’t feel the same without people watching these games…”