Fans are finally back at a Premier League stadium as Arsenal supporters head to Emirates Stadium after eight months for Europa League clash with Rapid Vienna
- About 2,000 Arsenal supporters have returned to the Emirates Stadium
- It is the first time that a Premier League side has welcomed fans since March
- Fans had to go through security checks and have their temperature measured
- Social distance measures have been taken for fans in the stadium
Fans have finally returned to see a top England side in action with Arsenal hosting Rapid Vienna in the Europa League at the Emirates Stadium.
The Gunners sold out their 2,000 tickets – which were distributed on a first-come, first-served basis for Group B’s game on Saturday morning within 20 minutes.
The North London side is now the first to take advantage of the new rules allowing fans to return in relatively small numbers after the lockdown ended on Wednesday.
Fans have returned to a Premier League site at Arsenal for the first time in eight months
The Gunners had sold out their 2,000 tickets for the Europa League match against Rapid Vienna
And many fans wore club scarves when they returned for the first time since March
Some fans were upset when the online ticketing system crashed and they were left without a ticket over the weekend, but those lucky enough to get their hands on one have gone to the Emirates for the first time since early March.
Many of the returning fans – who will be spread across two grandstands – were shown sporty smiles and club colors in the form of scarves as they returned to a now relatively unknown environment.
Measures to distance have been put in place – such as recycled plastic bags indicating that seats are not available and shirts fitted to show the required distance while waiting for food and drinks in the turnstiles – and masks worn by everyone while they are are located in the property.
Fans also had to apply hand sanitizer and go through routine security checks – including a temperature check – before entering, while flight attendants watched every supporter applaud as they came through the turnstiles.
Fans had to have their temperature measured by security personnel before entering the property
Distance measures also apply when queuing for food and drinks in the turnstiles
Gunnersaurus also made its return with the role of mascot that will now alternate between the staff
Supporters also welcomed the return of Gunnersaurus, with roles now alternating between staff members after former mascot Jerry Quy was fired in October following a series of cost-cutting measures taken by Covid-19.
Ahead of the game, Gunners boss Mikel Arteta said, “It’s going to be extraordinary to have them back.
‘The club has done a fantastic job of enabling everyone to visit the stadium at short notice and I am sure it will work very well.
‘I also feel sorry for thousands of fans who I’m sure would like to make but can’t be there.
The club uses recycled plastic bags to indicate social distance measures in the ground
Fans will also have to wear face masks while watching the game against Rapid Vienna
‘We are ready to receive as many as possible. It will depend on how the pandemic develops, and the new measurements when we open things up a bit and see how people react to it. Hopefully we can do that.
‘Who knows how it will develop? What we can do as a club, we will of course do as much as possible. ‘
Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang also delivered a pre-game video message to supporters, saying: “Football is all about you: the fans.
‘We missed you and we are so happy to welcome you again. To the 2.00 fans at the Emirates Stadium tonight and the millions around the world, thank you very much for your support.
“Most of us are still apart, but we’re still together.”
Stewards are also resuming their usual duties in the field and the supporters return
Food and drink is still served when supporters have entered the turnstiles on the ground