Southend United Chairman, Ron Martin, welcomed the news that Blues fans could soon be returning to Roots Hall Stadium.
An announcement from Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed new measures and Covid-19 restrictions in England, with a further statement expected on Thursday, explaining which areas are to be placed in what tiers with those clubs located in tier one and two given the nod to open the turnstiles with a restricted capacity.
“I absolutely welcome supporters back in stadia.” Mr Martin told Yellow Sport.
“Football without the fans is not football. Stadiums are sterile and the players need an atmosphere to lift performances.”
The top five divisions of English football have been contested in empty stadiums since mid-March, although 1,000 fans were permitted entry to a series of ‘pilot matches’ in September, including Charlton Athletic’s Sky Bet League One clash with Doncaster Rovers – a match covered from The Valley by Yellow Sport.
Up to 4,000 supporters can attend outdoor events in low-risk areas from December 2, while a maximum of 2,000 will be allowed to watch in tier two areas. Meanwhile, grassroots sport will be able to resume along with leisure centres and gyms.
Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden, enthused: “This is a big step forward for sport.
“Bringing grassroots sport back was my number one priority, so I’m pleased we are reopening sports and gyms in every tier, in recognition of the significant health benefits.
“I’m also delighted we are able to get the turnstiles turning sooner than expected, taking a cautious approach and starting with the lowest-risk areas first.”
Ken Taylor from the supporter’s group, Blues on Tour, was delighted with the news, explaining: “I’m sure that like myself our Blues on Tour members will be both relieved and delighted to be back inside Roots Hall.
It seems such a long time ago that we were able to do so. I do not doubt that the club will do everything necessary to ensure the fan’s safety and hopefully progress will be made to develop this further.
“Hopefully, we can become that 12th man with vocal support to spur our favourites on.”