March 7. The last weekend of normality in the Premier League. A goalless draw against Brighton was the last match we’d see at Molineux before the pandemic forced the season into suspension. If you’d have told me back then that I’d not step foot in a football stadium again for the foreseeable future, I’d have lapped up every second of that goalless draw. But I took it for granted and for now, we’ll have to get used to a new normal. Watching from the sofa instead of the stands.
For nearly three months now we have been deprived of Premier League football and while the return of the Bundesliga has quenched the thirst for some, it’s still not the same as watching your own team every week. With the Premier League set to return in a matter of days, the question arises as to whether it is the right time.
The government itself has actively encouraged the return of football saying it “could provide a much-needed boost to national morale” but some top-flight footballers have expressed concerns, with Danny Rose speaking out on Lock’Don Live back in May saying, “I don’t give a f*** about the nation’s morale, bro, people’s lives are at risk. Football shouldn’t even be spoke about coming back until the numbers (infected or dying) have dropped massively. It’s b******s. We’ll see.” And it seems like a lot of people agree. In a new poll carried out by YouGov, 48 per cent of participants said they believe that the English top-flight is resuming too soon.
Personally, when the discussions about the Premier League’s return first began, I was concerned. The daily death toll was still high and it seemed silly to me to be worrying about sport in that moment. It seemed that they were rushing to get it back for the purposes of money. While I am an advocate of finishing the season by playing the remaining games, it needs to be safe before they do so. I think leaving more time for society to test the waters before returning would have been wise but lately, we do seem to have moved closer towards normality.
Over the past few days, the number of deaths has decreased and places like shops, pubs and zoos are in the process of reopening. The Premier League are carrying out two rounds of tests each week to keep up to date and the right precautions seem to be in place, with every step being thoroughly planned and thought out. There will be no ball boys or girls, instead, new disinfected balls will be used. There will be deep cleans, limits on staff, separate zones and much more. This gives me confidence that the league’s return isn’t as rushed as I originally thought.
What has really helped the Premier League with its plan for returning to action is the successful restart of the Bundesliga. Each round of games in the Bundesliga has been played safely and hasn’t been lacking in entertainment. This has proven that it is possible for the sport to return safely.
I think finishing the season any other way would be harsh. Of course, you’re never going to find a perfect solution but the thought of relegating clubs who may have otherwise stayed up is unfair. Maybe it’s because Wolves have been in relegation battles in the past which have gone down to the wire, I don’t know, but I think everyone should have the chance to fight for survival if possible. I guess I just don’t see how you can start a new season when this one is nowhere near decided, it feels like throwing a lot of hard work away.
The return of the Premier League for me is exciting as watching Wolves play is one of the things that draws me away from the stresses of everyday life. The one major concern I have is with the potential reopening of pubs on July 4. With the league restarting behind closed doors and fans encouraged not to gather outside stadiums, there is the possibility that many will want to flock to the pubs to get back some sense of normality on match day. I just hope that, as a nation, we are able to act sensibly in light of football’s return so that no one is put at extra risk.
As for Wolves, I truly believe we can finish the season strong. We have a decent set of fixtures remaining and having experienced playing behind closed doors before, the team should know what to expect. It won’t be easy as Wolves thrive on having noisy support behind them but knowing that we’ll all be cheering them on from the sofa will hopefully spur them on. This team has repeatedly exceeded expectations since Nuno began his revolution and I think they will continue to do so. A top-six place is definitely achievable.
Are the Premier League returning too soon and how can you see Wolves finishing the season? Comment in the section down below.