It was Jock Stein who first forewarned that “without fans who pay at the turnstile, football is nothing.”
That quote has been snipped, misattributed and rehashed countless times over the years – but it is proving truer than ever as games continue to be played behind closed doors.
At present, supporters are only able to watch their team on TV and even then, at a rate many simply can’t afford.
According to a report in The Telegraph, that situation may be about to get worse, too.
From next weekend, selected Premier League games will be shown on a pay-per-view basis on Sky Sports and BT Sport’s respective apps.
Each match will cost £14.95.
It will apply to games not already being broadcast under the two channels’ subscriptions.
The Premier League have since confirmed the news.
Breaking: Premier League confirm new pay-per-view arrangement for matches not on TV pic.twitter.com/3j0yfKL16M— Martyn Ziegler (@martynziegler) October 9, 2020
Throughout September, kick-off times were moved to ensure every top-flight game could be shown live to prevent fans missing out.
Going forward, that isn’t sustainable, but the alternative means watching your team will get even more expensive.
Inevitably, fans have taken to social media to vent their fury.
Unclear when fans will return
During ITV’s coverage of England’s 3-0 win over Wales, Roy Keane and Ian Wright both called for the British government to end the ban on fans attending games.
“I’m very frustrated when you see the size of Wembley and how they can social distance in it,” Wright said, per the Daily Mail.
“People will be worried about the concourses but when you look the measures they are doing (to get us in the ground) – and you’ll have to up that – I can’t understand how people can’t be here.”
“Clubs will go bust, if you look at the situation tonight – you can’t tell me there can’t be 10,000 people in there tonight. It’s frustrating and bizarre at the moment.”
The question of when stadia will be allowed to reopen to the public is expected to be put to the Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden MP by a select committee next week, say Sky Sports.
But for as long as games are kept behind closed doors, TV channels are planning to charge for individual games.