Kevin Farnell

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If I wanted professional football I went to Walsall at Fellows Park if memory serves, a division 3 or 4 team. The quality was missing but they probably had other things on their minds!

Fellows Park. That brings back memories! I used to go there a lot with my Dad and we always stood at the railway end (the number of balls that went over onto the railway line was quite impressive) and had a cup of hot Bovril at half time. I can remember going to the last ever game at Fellows Park and unusually at half time we moved from the railway end to the stand at the opposite end of the ground. Looking on line, the last league game was 1st May 1990, but there was a testimonial game for Peter Hart played 10 days later. My memory deserts me on which game we went to.
I can remember asking to go with my Dad when I was very young, to be told that there was a wall you have to look over. I imagined my Dad (who was 6ft2) standing on tip-toes trying to watch the game, When I finally got to go the wall turned out to be 18-24 inches high.
I've also, twice been on TV at fellows park. Back when Match Of The Day covered games from League 1 through to 4. The first time, I'd bumped into one of my school friends at the match and we were standing just behind the above mentioned wall at the corner. A corner was taken and me and my friend were shown immediately behind the player. The second time was also on MOTD, but I was standing further back with my Dad.
I seem to recall that shortly after the last game, the roof of one of the stands collapsed. Sadly, the site is now a supermarket. I always liked the name 'Fellows Park'.
Moving on to Bescot Stadium, I went there a lot too. As Jenny says, it doesn't have the atmosphere of Fellows Park, but does have the advantage of having a railway station right next to it.
One funny memory from Bescot (now Banks's) stadium, is that when an extra tier was added to the eastern stand it gave fans a view over the western stand to the M6 motorway. Whenever one of those lorries painted like a friesian cow went past, a huge 'MOOOOO!' would echo around the ground. What the away fans at the other end made of it, I have no idea. Probable not a good indicator of the quality of the football though.

Happy memories!

Kevin
 

jfy1999

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I can't personally confirm but a rumour is going round that matches will be on terrestrial TV, which I think is a good idea. Given that we've seen parties being thrown during lockdown, I can all too easily see a few diehard fans being tempted to arrange meetings at the houses of people who have Sky/BT, if those are the only channels showing the football live.
 

TheLocalYokel

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I can't personally confirm but a rumour is going round that matches will be on terrestrial TV, which I think is a good idea. Given that we've seen parties being thrown during lockdown, I can all too easily see a few diehard fans being tempted to arrange meetings at the houses of people who have Sky/BT, if those are the only channels showing the football live.
I think that's been one of the major worries - fans congregating in houses to watch matches. I don't know whether that's happened in Germany yet.

It might not with the Premier League until the end of the season when vital relegation matches are settled, and imagine the possibiity of groups gathering for the match that might win Liverpool the title.
 

TheLocalYokel

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The potential start date for county cricket has been pushed back yet again - this time until 1 August although there is hope that England might be able to take on the West Indies on 8 July. A small number of spectators might be permitted if the professional game does commence this summer.

The ECB will thrash out a scenario for county cricket should it take place at all this year that might involve a form of regional competition.

There is a posisbility that local club cricket might begin playing before 1 August.
 

JENNYJET

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Might it be possible to limit spectators to members of the host counties for tests this allowing a reasonable distance to be observed amongst those attending? I understand not good for general spectators and receipts will be hit but ECB can deal with that over time as things recover and TV could be opened up to terrestrial etc.?
 

TheLocalYokel

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Might it be possible to limit spectators to members of the host counties for tests this allowing a reasonable distance to be observed amongst those attending? I understand not good for general spectators and receipts will be hit but ECB can deal with that over time as things recover and TV could be opened up to terrestrial etc.?
I think the ECB is hoping that a limited number of spectators might be possible if the West Indies test series does get under way in July. I read that they will or are thinking about hosting the three test matches at Southampton (one) and Old Trafford (two) because they have onsite hotels which would make it easier to isolate the members of both sides.
 

TheLocalYokel

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The Premier League resumes this evening and the Championship at the weekend. All matches will be 'behind closed doors'.

Leagues One and Two have ended their seasons. Both tables will be decided on points per game, with the play-offs still to take place to decide the additional promotion places.
 

Kevin Farnell

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I've been watching some Premier League highlights on YouTube and although the stadiums are obvioulsy empty, there is the sound of the crowd in the background (example Liverpool v Crystal Palace on SkySports YouTube channel). I'm guessing that this is dubbed onto the video rather than being played over loudspeakers in the stadium, as a huge roar goes up when a goal is scored. Either way, I find it a bit ridiculous.

Kevin
 

TheLocalYokel

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I've been watching some Premier League highlights on YouTube and although the stadiums are obvioulsy empty, there is the sound of the crowd in the background (example Liverpool v Crystal Palace on SkySports YouTube channel). I'm guessing that this is dubbed onto the video rather than being played over loudspeakers in the stadium, as a huge roar goes up when a goal is scored. Either way, I find it a bit ridiculous.

Kevin
It is dubbed onto the sound track. There is an option to watch without this sound track when all that can be heard are the shouts from players and coaches.

I don't have Sky and have been watching either on BBC1/2 or on Freeview Channel 11 in my area. With the BBC the Red Button allows me to remove the canned crowd noise but I can't find a way to do it with Freeview. I say watching. That's a bit of an exaggeration. I have an 'office' at home and usually 'watch' the football out of the corner of my eye on a tv screen whilst working on my desk top computer.

The crowd noise soundtrack is slightly behind the play so when a goal is scored the 'crowd' (aka the sound mixer) takes a second or so to realise before it cheers.

Crowd-free tv football is better than nothing at all but I can't rid myself of the notion that I'm watching a practice match. At top matches the crowd is such an important element of the whole.
 

TheLocalYokel

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Watford are in a fierce battle to avoid relegation from the Premier League and, if that wasn't bad enough for the club and its fans, they have had to leave out three players for today's match against Southampton (which Watford lost) because it's been reported that the players in question contravened lockdown rules on Friday.

One of the players is said to have celebrated a birthday and threw a party at his home at which around 20 guests attended, including two other Watford players.

It's said that the matter came to light following pictures being posted on a social media site.

If this is all true the players' actions show irresponsibility and disrespect to the club (their employer) and its supporters of the worst kind.
 

Brummiegem

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I totally agree Mr Yokel.
However,this is not that much different to the behaviour of Liverpool fans for 2 nights running.Only difference is the huge numbers involved.
Total disregard for social distancing,and each other’s personal space.It makes you wonder if there’s is a spike in Covid-19 cases in the city of Liverpool and the surrounding areas,whether the government will get the blame.
Let’s be honest,we all know that if our chosen team or sports stars won a major honour or competition,we would be just as excited.Would we all flock to the city centre to celebrate knowing full well that in doing so could put ourselves or others at risk of an infection or virus?

Slightly off topic,but similar theme,hundreds of mainly teenagers flocked to Birmingham city centre on Sunday afternoon to see a so-called you tube star.
The Primark store was closed early as many of these people tried to enter the store en masse.
My point is the total lack of responsibility and respect for others,including themselves and their loved ones in getting involved in these gatherings.
No matter what your political point of view,this is something you cannot blame the government for.Every individual has a responsibility for themselves and those around them.

Leicester could be the first city to have restrictions enforced or even be locked down again.
Sadly,I think we could all face a further lock down if people continue to behave in the way that they are.
It is my belief that in the year 2020, the British people have become ungovernable.
 

Brummiegem

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Meanwhile,in the tennis world we have seen two tournaments happen recently.
The first organised by Novak Djokovic,and played in Serbia and Croatia has ended in a number of players and Novak’s own coach falling ill with Covid-19 symptoms.
The other organised by Jamie Murray and played in the U.K., seems to have passed off with no major incidents.
The tournaments were organised so players could get much needed matches under their belts.With the U.S. open still scheduled to take place next month,more mini tournaments will probably be organised between now and then.
It remains to be seen whether any of the U.K players will test positive for symptoms of the dreaded virus,but it does seem that there were differences in the organisation of the two tournaments,
What is clear,there is still a risk and threat of picking up Covid symptoms,no matter what precautions are put in place.
I just hope that every governing body in sport and in the wider society are taking notes on the outcomes of the various events now going ahead, and that swift action is carried out if further covid cases appear.
Like everybody,I want sport and normal life to come back.We must not become complacent though,care and thought must go into bringing events back.The public too must also wait there turn.If we bring too much back too soon,it could disastrous for everyone.
 

TheLocalYokel

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I totally agree Mr Yokel.
However,this is not that much different to the behaviour of Liverpool fans for 2 nights running.Only difference is the huge numbers involved.
Absolutely ridiculous behaviour by those Liverpool supporters involved (or for that matter by the many thousands who cram onto beaches or take part in marches/demonstrations), but the difference here is that these men are players and employees of the club. They should not be doing anything deliberately that can put into question their fitness to play. Not only that, they are supposed to be role models for the many younger fans who will believe that if it's all right for the players to disregard government guidelines it's all right for them too.

If what has been alleged is true I hope that the club takes the strongest possible disciplinary action against them.
 

TheLocalYokel

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Rather than start a new thread I'll include the England v West Indies test series here as it was the first first-class cricket match to resume in this country after the COVID restrictions were eased.

Specifically, I marvelled at West Indies' Rahkeem Cornwall who weighs in at 22 stone (he is 6' 6 too) and is reputedly the heaviest player ever to have played test cricket. Despite his bulk he demonstrated incredibly quick reactions to grab a slip catch off the England batsman Burns. I doubt that any player could have shown a quicker reaction.

I'm looking forward to seeing him bat. He seems to have the build of someone who could hit the ball from Old Trafford right across the Pennines to Headingley.

He makes Adebayo Akinfenwa who plays football for Wycombe Wanderers at a mere 16 stone look like someone who has been on a crash diet. Akinfenwa is a very powerful man though who can bench press nearly twice his own body weight.
 

JENNYJET

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Just watching Rakheem Cornwall on TV and he is spellbinding. Big is not enough, he is a force of nature. I commend the authorities for allowing the series to commence or we might never know if this man.
 

Brummiegem

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Have to agree with above posts.Rakheem Cornwall does look a really good bowler.I thought he was unlucky not to get a wicket or two during his bowling spells.
I listen to Test Match Special as I don’t have Sky,but Rakheem had been mentioned in the previous test by the commentators.So I was looking forward to seeing, or rather hearing how he got on.

It is truly bizarre and eerie listening to any sport without the fans. Not hearing the balmy army during this series has been very strange.Not hearing about beach balls and party snake dances.
One thing you do hear though,and the same with the football,is the players and coaching staff shouting and giving instructions.That to is a bit strange.In fact everything about the last three or four months has been strange.
I am actually starting to get used to it,and to a degree,strangely enjoying it.
Does this mean I am going mad ,I have heard that lock down is sending people a bit funny.
 

JENNYJET

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When you think you hear that knocking on the door and no one is there, that is when to worry before the men in white coats cart you off. I forget there is no crowd because my mind is hearing a crowd and has got used to it. As to the Cricket, the Barmy Army is the missing element and no fancy dress. Only in England.........
 

TheLocalYokel

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Have to agree with above posts.Rakheem Cornwall does look a really good bowler.I thought he was unlucky not to get a wicket or two during his bowling spells.
I listen to Test Match Special as I don’t have Sky,but Rakheem had been mentioned in the previous test by the commentators.So I was looking forward to seeing, or rather hearing how he got on.

It is truly bizarre and eerie listening to any sport without the fans. Not hearing the balmy army during this series has been very strange.Not hearing about beach balls and party snake dances.
One thing you do hear though,and the same with the football,is the players and coaching staff shouting and giving instructions.That to is a bit strange.In fact everything about the last three or four months has been strange.
I am actually starting to get used to it,and to a degree,strangely enjoying it.
Does this mean I am going mad ,I have heard that lock down is sending people a bit funny.

We don't have Sky either (my wife also enjoys cricket) and when test cricket was on free-to-air tv we would sometimes turn the tv sound off and listen to the TMS. The snag with that was that you might miss the great Richie Benaud's comments on the telly coverage.

We sometimes still listen to TMS but find most of the commentators these days rather bland and corporate. In the past the commentators seemed larger than life and each brought different qualities and approaches to their work (perhaps not everyone liked that as it might have detracted from the cricket in their eyes), and finding another Arlott or Johnson, or even a Martin-Jenkins or Blofeld, is probably not the easiest task a producer might be called upon to undertake.

I quite like Agnew who possesses a fine sense of humour and in his early days joyously jousted with that arch-joker Johnson - who can ever forget the leg-over sequence that apparently brought drivers to a halt because they were laughing so much? In recent years he has wound up Boycott more than once to everyone's amusement but now that Sir Geoffrey has retired from TMS that enjoyable propect is no more.

I miss the atmosphere that crowds bring to cricket and football matches. I've watched a few 'live' Premier League matches on Pick and the BBC but without the crowd they almost seem like practice games. It's certainly better than no live sport at all but I think that spectators are such an important part of professional sport.
 

TheLocalYokel

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I note the England v Barbarians match this weekend has been called off because up to 12 Barbarians players breached the Covid conditions set out by the rugby authorities who have now cancelled the game. This was supposed to be a warm-up match in preparation for the final match of the 2020 Six Nations that has been delayed from earlier this year. Given the hectic schedule of most of England's players in the Premiership since the season restarted I'm surprised that the Barbarians game was added to their workload. Was a warm-up match really needed to put England in shape against Italy? We will know next week as there won't now be a warm-up game.

In fact, looking at the rugby schedule from now until July next year it's non-stop. After the completion of the 2020 Six Nations next week there are four matches each for England and the other Home Nations plus guest countries in a one-off Autumn competition, with the 2021 Six Nations taking place in February and March and finally the British and Irish Lions tour to South Africa in July and August.

In the meantime Premiership teams will be commencing the 2020-2021 season next month after just one month of the 2019-2020 season ending having resumed in August. The 2020-2021 Premiership season will run until June next year and all the clubs will also be involved in European competitions during that period.

This means that some top players face the prospect of 12 months continuous rugby at either international level or top club level. It's inevitable that they won't be able to maintain such a ridiculous schedule meaning that the club competitions will be devalued because many of the top players will simply be too tired mentally and/or physically to keep going for 12 months. They will need substantial rests at times.

Why ever did the authorities come up with the meaningless Autumn international competition instead of giving players a well-earned and much-needed break?
 

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