After 266 days, Brighton fans can finally return to the Amex to watch a competitive game of football.
After the national lockdown ended this week, Brighton was placed into the tier 2 category, meaning 2000 fans can return to the stadium. The first game back for Seagulls fans is against Southampton at 8pm on Monday.
The decision to allow fans back to stadiums comes after the #letfansin campaign, started by supporters’ groups and clubs throughout lockdown after plans for a return at the beginning of October were abandoned. Fans were aggravated by perceived inconsistencies in the law which allowed people to pay to watch matches in the cinema but not in stadiums.
Clubs, especially lower down the pyramid, are desperate to get back the revenue provided by matchday tickets.
A statement from the Premier League read:
“Fans have been greatly missed and we welcome the Prime Minister’s announcement regarding the return of supporters for the first time since March, albeit at small numbers.
“Our ambition remains to work with Government to increase attendance to more substantial levels.
“Until this can be done, many fans will be unable to attend games and our clubs will continue to operate matches at a financial loss.”
The game against Southampton will not be the first game at the Amex under Covid regulations. Back in August, 2,500 socially-distanced spectators attended Brighton’s pre-season friendly against Chelsea.
Hopefully fans can give the team a much needed lift at the Amex; brighton have not won in the league at home this season, recording three draws and two losses.
Albion Goalkeeper Matt Ryan believes the return of fans could play a part in turning this form around:
“The supporters are going to be a massive advantage for us. Our home form is something that is vital throughout a season if we want to reach the goals that we have set ourselves.
“We acknowledge ourselves the fact it hasn’t been good enough recently although it’s not through a lack of trying. We have got to be better at finding ways to get the job done and get those victories at home.
“We will be working together with the fans on Monday to try and do that.”