Cheltenham Town will be opening their stadium doors again for supporters, following the Government’s announcement on Monday,. This has been a massive boost for local fans, who have missed out on watching their team for many months.
The Jonny-Rocks stadium has a capacity of 7,066, but with Cheltenham being in Tier 2 it will only be allowed to hold 2,000 fans.
Cheltenham resident Joe Tryner, lifelong fan, spoke about the topic:
“I’m really happy they’re opening the stadium – football hasn’t been the same without fans and it’ll help out so many clubs in need.
I’m slightly annoyed it’s taken this long, as cases were much lower a few months ago but fans weren’t allowed back in, so why now?
He will be attending as many matches as he can, with Cheltenham having a very successful season so far.
“To be honest, the restrictions should be drilled in by now- wash your hands and keep a distance from other people – other than that not much has changed in my life, so I’m very excited to get back in there.”
Less pleased about the opening of the stadium was Ke Nagai, 20, from Cheltenham.
Speaking to us, he continued to voice his concern about safety:
“How will they be able to socially distance fans going to their seats? And bathrooms? There will also be problems with how fans will arrive at different times.
It’s not good enough. It just won’t be safe, people like to touch the back of seats and railings, which will be a spreader too. I won’t be attending until 2023 at the earliest.”
Richard Joyce, Media and Communications Manager at the club, explained the club’s preparations:
“It’s a massive plus for us, and locals, to have it back earlier than we originally thought.
We have done some preparation, but we’re still waiting on more information before we can announce full official plans.”
They have already passed some safety protocols regarding Coronavirus and social distancing, but will have to complete more before fans can be legally let in.
“We’re planning a pilot match, which will include a seating plan to ensure social distancing. We’re working with a number of different companies for this, but there is more work to be done. The overall feeling around the club is excitement.”
Cheltenham’s first home game following this second lockdown will be against Exeter City on Saturday 5th December.