Peterborough MP urges government to allow fans back into stadiums

Peterborough MP Paul Bristow has written to the government asking for a small number of fans to be allowed back into Posh’s Weston Homes Stadium to honour Tommy Robson.

The Weston Homes Stadium.
The Weston Homes Stadium.

This topic has been much debated across the country as, currently, no fans are permitted into matches involving clubs that have ‘elite’ status. This means that clubs in the top six tiers of English football have started the new season playing behind closed doors.

Peterborough Sports, who play in the 7th tier, are permitted to allow 30% of their capacity inside their Bee Arena home, this equates to roughly 600 fans.

There was a renewed push for this amongst Posh fans this week after the death of club legend Tommy Robson on Thursday (October 8). The following day, chairman of The Posh Supporters Trust Marco Graziano addressed a letter to Peterborough United, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden and Peterborough City Council, among others, asking for the chance for fans to pay their respects to Tommy inside the stadium.

He said: “The PM spoke about being fearless within the context of living with this miserable threat to our way of life. Tommy Robson was fearless and was a beacon of professionalism and will forever be loved by the community of Peterborough.

“I know the club would support a Saturday in the coming weeks where the fans can go into the place where Tommy was most happy as a player and later as a servant of the club and so the fans can pay our respects in our own outdoor cathedral, the hallowed turf of Peterborough United football ground.

“We want to pay our respects and celebrate Tommy’s life, with the guidance and oversight of the club. We should also take this opportunity to demonstrate fans can be together, and socially distanced, in the right environment and with the right stewardship.”

A full copy of the letter can be viewed here.

In response, Mr Bristow has sent his own letter to the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

He said: “Peterborough United - Posh - means so much to my city. As I am sure you can appreciate, things are tough for the club and the fans when those fans can not be in the stands.

“I have been contacted by the chief executive of Peterborough United, Bob Symns, and the chairman of the Peterborough United Supporters Trust, Marco Graziano. They have reassured me of their commitment to safety during the crisis and that the club has followed all Government and Sports Ground Safety Authority (SGSA) guidance, They have told me that their London Road home is now Covid-19 secure and ready for the return of their fans.

“London Road has a normal capacity of 15,000, and the club is seeking to allow 1,000 supporters into the stadium in a socially distanced fashion. If cinemas, pubs and restaurants can open safely, I have every confidence that Peterborough United can do.

“A beloved football legend, Tommy Robson, passed away recently and there was an outpouring of sadness in the local community. I know it would mean so much to Peterborough if supporters of the club could come together at the ground and pay their respects to Tommy.

“Alongside all of the team and supporters at Peterborough United, I would be grateful if you could look into this matter and ensure London Road can open again.”