5 ways to replace stadium atmospheres as football goes behind closed doors – Paddy Power News

The current conversation surrounding the coronavirus pandemic is geared around preparing the population for the new normal in society and football is no exception to that.

Its looking increasingly likely that footballs reintroduction behind closed doors will be for the long-term, with the Premier League reportedly planning for the entirety of the 2020/21 season to be played in empty stadiums.

Such a decision would have major repercussions throughout the game on clubs, broadcasters, sponsors, and of course supporters themselves, who will be barred from the spectacle they help create. Think of the poor Arsenal fans in particular: if they cant turn up and pay good money for the privilege of booing their own players, what else is there to do on a weekend?!

This is the reality were likely to face however, so we better make the best of this bad situation. So to try and counter the fact games will soon be unfolding in soulless stadiums, weve come up with five ways to try and help replace the atmosphere well be losing

An approach pioneered by Taiwan and South Koreas professional baseball leagues in recent weeks, filling stadiums with cardboard cutouts of fans at least makes the stands look a bit more lively and colourful, as opposed to a sea of faded plastic seats.

Well soon be able to see what impact this has a bit closer to home, with Borussia Mnchengladbach fans given the ability to upload their own pictures onto cutouts to occupy what would have been their matchday pew.

There are, however, two drawbacks to this approach. One: They dont make any sound (although thats not a problem for any games staged at Old Trafford). And two: Given it relies on fans sending in their own picture, its open to abuse. All it takes is a few pro pranksters to unite, and suddenly youd have an entire stadium packed to the rafters with portraits of Joe Exotic.

Actually, wed tune in to see that.

This method draws on inspiration from Arsenal in the early 1990s, when reconstruction work on Highburys North Bank was masked by a giant mural of supporters.

Keeping in mind the game is about nothing but money these days (why else are we rushing the sport back?!), the one major benefit to the murals would be the ability for clubs to splash sponsors logos all over them.

Plastering your stadium with a giant, beautifully hand painted advertising hoarding thats 100 times the size of a normal one is a great way for clubs to earn some much needed coin. We bet perennial football advertising partner Rainham Steel wouldnt believe their luck.

Ah, FanZone. Who else remembers bearing witness to this behind Sky Sports red button, an intoxicating mix of pillocks shouting into microphones 200 miles away from where their team is actually playing?

Despite its lunacy, it proved to be annoyingly addictive viewing. So lets bring it back, only this time live in the stadium so long as both fans are kept a safe Peter Crouch-length distance apart, of course.

Itd amuse the listening fans at home far better than the eerie silence of a training ground-style atmosphere and pumping the audio into the stadium speakers would put the players at ease. After all, thered be occasional chanting, cheering at goals and merciless abuse from their own supporter everything the modern player has come to expect!

This is a practice already adopted in some clubs stadiums, naming no names (*cough* Chelsea, *cough* Spurs) even when playing in a sold-out stadium. Thus it doesnt take a giant leap of imagination to picture it being an option genuinely taken up by the Premier League.

Combining it with cardboard cutouts in the stands wouldnt actually be that bad considering the circumstances, but crucially broadcasters would have to make it realistic. That includes the occasional colourful language being picked up on a rogue microphone that Martin Tyler has to apologise for, and deafening anti-Mike Ashley chants up at St James Park.

Recording every word said to and by a referee la rugby union is something that has long been called for in football. And its always been rejected, mainly because the bleep button for the live coverage would wear out far too quickly.

Now is the time, though, to offer people the option to listen in if they want. Grown adults should be granted the option of tapping the red button to hear players call Mike Dean a cheating pr*ck (theyre living our dream!), purely for the additional entertainment it would provide.

Just look at how insightful it was the only time fans have previously been allowed to hear what was being said, way back in 1989 during a clash between Millwall and Arsenal. Were missing out!

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5 ways to replace stadium atmospheres as football goes behind closed doors - Paddy Power News

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