Opinion: Portsmouth's return proves football with no fans isn't for me

If we didn’t know before, we do now. Football without fans isn’t up to much is it?

By Steve Bone
Monday, 6th July 2020, 8:00 am

Actually I think we did know that already.

A game played in front of empty stands was always going to look and feel like a training session, and anyone who thought otherwise was fooling themselves.

At no point during Pompey’s play-off semi-final first-leg match against Oxford did it feel like a big game or an occasion of any importance.

There was no intensity to it, no drama – despite what was at stake.

When Ronan Curtis fired Pompey in front at the end of one of the best back-to-front passing moves I’ve seen from any team all season, it didn’t feel like a joyous moment.

Imagine how the ground would have erupted if the goal had been scored and we’d all been there.

Is it just the outcome of the game – ie, a draw when a win looked on the cards – that's making me feel rather flat about this play-off competition? I don’t think so.

Cardboard cutouts of fans replaced real-life supporters in the North Stand at Fratton Park

The second leg will have much the same emptiness to it, and I wonder how fans of the eventual winners will feel when they know their boys are off to Wembley and are one game from the Championship?

I wrote here a couple of months back that I’d rather Pompey didn’t get promoted behind closed doors, and would much rather they did it properly next year.

I did think I might change my view when the games came around, but I’m happy to stand by that statement.

Maybe I won’t have to worry about it anyway.

We’ve not won a play-off match in seven and Monday's second leg will be tough.

Whatever happens, I'm looking forward more than ever to the day we can be back in the stands, and I’d imagine the players will relish our return too.