Earlier this week in the WhatsApp group I made a prediction:
“Football to stop for 2 weeks from Monday; then return to no crowds for 2 weeks from the new year. We are going to miss going Spurs again.”
I was ridiculed. When asked for my source it was “Dan Sports News”. It was just a guess.
But today we have taken a step closer to that prediction.
There is an emergency Premier League meeting scheduled for Monday where top of the agenda will be an immediate cancellation of all games for 2 weeks.
The plan will be put suspended all games for a 2 week circuit break; giving teams to time to recreate the Covid bubbles that allowed football to return at the height of the pandemic.
Football will then return after New Years Day. With the first round of games after the break being the FA Cup 3rd round.
At the same time, the UK Government are also planning a two week circuit break lockdown after Christmas. This will likely begin on Monday 27th December.
This will involve a ban on major events and indoor mixing. Pubs and Restaurants will be out door only.
The circuit break lockdown will end on Sunday 9th January. A week before we are due to play Tottenham.
History throughout this pandemic, however, indicates that we will not immediately return to normal.
Post-lockdown, the restrictions will be lifted slowly.
It is likely that they will follow the same procedure as last time. In football terms this means games with lower capacity and no away fans.
So whilst fans will begin going to games again from 10th January, it will not be full stadiums nor will travelling fans be accommodated. I would expect this to go on for at least 2 weeks so they can “study the data.”
This means we will not see full stadiums and away fans at games again until February.
We play Tottenham on 16th January.
If all of the above comes true, and I think it will, it will mean we will miss out on playing at Spurs’ new stadium for the 4th consecutive year.
Delays to opening the stadium meant it was not ready when we played them for the 2018/19 season.
It eventually opened in April 2019, after we had played them that year.
In 2019/20, the game was scheduled for the second half of the season. Covid hit and it took place with no crowd.
The 2020/21 fixture took place in December just as crowds were returning. Restrictions to just 2,000 fans meant no away tickets were available – although a few Arsenal fan heroes did secure themselves tickets in the home end.
So if the January 2022 fixture is back behind closed doors or in front of a limited audience away fans will not be welcome.
It will mean that we will unlikely pay our first visit to the new Tottenham Stadium until 2023 – 5 years after it was due to open.