Credit: Joe Dent/JMP

Fans praise organisation as they are welcomed back to Peterborough United stadium

Fans have praised the organisation of social distancing as they were allowed back into Peterborough United’s Weston Homes Stadium for the first time since lockdown in March..

By Ben Jones
Wednesday, 9th December 2020, 11:21 am

There was a generally positive response from the roughly 700 fans at the Papa John’s Trophy match against West Ham United Under 21s last night (Tuesday, December 8).

They were all seated socially distanced in the BGL Group Family Stand to watch Posh win 3-0.

The crowd was much smaller than the 2000 that the ground is permitted to hold, perhaps owing to the fact it was a midweek fixture as well as a Papa John’s Trophy match, which are renowned for low attendances, with some fans also citing high ticket prices, £18 for adults, as a reason for staying at home.

Fans that were in attendance had to follow new safety protocols, which included wearing a face covering both inside and outside the ground, not touching turnstiles, using hand sanitiser regularly, one-way systems and a staggered exit plan.

The kiosks that usually sell food and drink will have to remain closed for now.

Posh have worked extremely hard on making their matchday experience safe, lobbying the region’s MPs, Paul Bristow and Shailesh Vara, for weeks prior to the announcement that Posh could safely host fans again.

These protocols received mostly positive feedback from the fans the Peterborough Telegraph spoke to after the match.

Darrin Clarke said: “I thought the overall club protocols, from the club shop through to the entering of the stand, were clear and concise.

“Once in the Family Stand the stewards certainly did their best without acting like the Police, to make sure you followed the arrows and sanitise where needed before seating.

“I heard a few moans about standing up and stewards acting swiftly to stop that, some will moan but I think we just have to accept the rules and use common sense.

“Given that there were only 600-700 in one stand it felt safe, not sure how it will pan out if we hit Tier 1 though.

“The club have certainly used this as a trial game, so hopefully they have learnt a few things ready for the big comeback.

“Overall it’s great to be back, without doubt, and actually didn’t feel like we had been away. I just wish we could get hot drinks, especially on a cold night like last night.”

Tom Lea added: “On the whole it was all well managed and worked well. The entrance into the ground was all nice and smooth and the ticks on the seats made life easy considering most people were sat in seats they’d never been in before, myself included.

“My only criticism is that six lads turned up 15 minutes late and all sat in one line next to each other and a couple of them didn’t wear masks. Nothing was done about the size of the group but one of them was told about needing a mask.

“It was great to be back, I’ve been one of the lucky ones to have seen a few games this season anyway but to be back in with other fans was really good and a step in the right direction.

“I think if the club can solve any teething problems, there’s no reason why they couldn’t comfortably deal with a lot more fans than 2000 if the government guidelines allow for more soon.

Mike Capper said: “I enjoyed the game. Once seated, it generally felt like a normal match, except for the need to wear masks.

“Entry was well marshalled - plenty of guidance about where to go - and everything was well signed.

“Obviously it was a shame refreshments were not available but that’s not a major issue.

“I thought the exit was okay, but as nobody knew what to expect, there was a little confusion - it might be helpful to have a tannoy explanation of the light system before the end of the game?

“It’s also a shame the London Road End isn’t open, but I understand why. A good night out and I’m sure the teething problems will be ironed out for Saturday.”

Posh will expect to host a 2000 capacity crowd at the Weston Homes Stadium on Saturday when they host Rochdale in the league.

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