WEMBLEY FAN VIEW: After asking for your COVID ticket at the gates, there’s no adrenaline and no thrills among 4,000 fans in a 90,000-seat stadium – it’s different, but it’s better than being completely locked out
Walking into Wembley it was like being back at big games from January and February last year – except hardly anyone had turned up.
Take out your ticket, scan it, and then they’ll ask for the other ticket: the Covid ticket.
As locally residing students, we had been to a testing location on Saturday evening for a lateral flow test to obtain proof of a negative result required to pass the turnstiles within 24 hours of kickoff.
Fans were back at Wembley to watch Leicester’s FA Cup semi-final victory over Southampton
It was one of three pilot events aimed at getting supporters back on football pitches
UCFB student Jack Devonport was one of the lucky 4,000 at Wembley on Sunday
Get out your phone, the Covid marshals – who are everywhere – check the date and time on the NHS email and that you’re absolutely negative and you’re done.
I made it from my flat to my seat in the stadium in 15 minutes, more than an hour before kick-off.
So it is different – but not bothersome. Inside there are pints and food for sale as usual – and you can even queue at the bar.
We were emailed in advance to tell that celebrating, singing and singing was not allowed. But that was not enforced by security.
I was five or more seats away from someone else, others had at least one seat separating them from other fans, with everyone spread over 4,000 others around a 90,000-seat stadium.
They probably have as many staff as they have fans and it’s all efficient. We do not have to do tests on the door, which would take time, it is not stated.
The match itself wasn’t the most exciting, but I’m sure the Leicester and Southampton fans would have been ready had they been admitted.
I last went to a game of this magnitude at Arsenal last February. This, a semi-cup final without fans of both clubs, clearly didn’t feel the same.
A Southampton and Leicester fan pose together outside Wembley for Sunday’s semi-final
No adrenaline, no thrills – and even after Kelechi Iheanacho’s goal, they pumped music over the speakers, destroying the atmosphere even more.
So it was okay: not the best game, not the best crowd, but it’s just fun to be back at a live match. I am also signing up for the FA Cup final.
It’s much better than being completely banned from football and I’m pretty blessed to have been one of the 4000. It is an experience I will not forget.