Look, the pandemic. It’s bad. Not been the most fun twelve months, all things considered.
Way, way down the list of reasons why the pandemic is bad would be no fans at Anfield. It is, very very obviously, worth it in terms of the lives it saves. But it’s still, nonetheless, not very fun, and it’d be great if it were safe enough to host fans in the not too distant future.
And that looks like it might be the case.
“The [UK] Government’s roadmap [out of lockdown] is really welcome because it sets out a plan for a return of supporters, so hopefully the final two fixtures of our season will have up to 10,000 supporters in them all,” the Premier League chairman Richard Masters said.
“We’ve go to go past those initial steps in the Government’s roadmap to get there, so hopefully that will be a fantastic finale to the end of our season.
“From the beginning of next season onwards, our goal is to have full stadia and obviously the Government’s roadmap offers us that opportunity.
“There’s a lot of water to pass under the bridge before that can happen but that’s our ultimate goal. The return of full vibrant Premier League stadia and a return to the normal Premier League.
“If the vaccination programme works in the way that the Government wants it work, that will bring the return of full Premier League stadiums[…] The first step is to see that trophy presented on 23 May, hopefully in front of 10,000 fans, somewhere in this country. Beyond that, it’s full stadia, hopefully from the start of next season.”
Look, an awful lot depends on safety, which has to come first. But if we’re looking ahead, for the first time in a long time, there are genuine signs that it might be safe to have “proper” football back fairly soon.