Having been shielding under NHS advice until the 1st of this month, I was somewhat late to the whole ‘the pubs are reopening’ party. Walking through the door of my local felt very strange, I guess almost trepidatious, despite many decades of accomplished service at the bar.
I walk in and see half a dozen familiar faces. There was brief a hale fellow well met thing, and then a sense of disappointment I truly haven’t felt since I was a teenager in the very early 80s, and realized I wasn’t getting any class of personal computer, not even a second-hand ZX80, after an absolute age of repeated begging… jeez.
Sterile is not a word one readily associates with pubs and bars, and but that’s precisely how they have become. I’m grateful to still sneak and hour or two to mix with real people and have slurp, bar life is in my blood, but what’s on offer now is a sorry state of affairs.
Judging by this report by Adam Shergold for The Daily Mail, the short to medium term future of fans physically at football matches looks equally bleak.
Aside from only fraction of supporters being allowed back into sporting arenas, there look to be a whole set of understandable yet frustrating protocols for the ‘devoted’ to comply with.
In the MLS – teams have made fans that were let in sign legal waivers that exempt them from legal action, should they try and pin contracting COVID-19 on attending a game.
Sparsely populated pubs with jukeboxes noticeably turned down are sterile, going out to eat is simply about going through the motions. Nobody in their right mind finds doing a weekly shop wearing a mask enjoyable – especially if you wear glasses. None of these bricks and mortar businesses are taking enough money to survive this lunacy.
Now turn your thoughts to ENIC’s brave new world business model, which was entirely focused upon the footfall of fans/client reference numbers. A model based solely upon packing folk into an arena with all the identity of an airport, filled with food and drink outlets.
Tottenham were lauded for having allegedly hit £800,000 in match day food and drink sales in April of last year. Those heady numbers are long gone now. Fantasy.
Of all the Premier League sides, it is ironic that Spurs – the most fiscally uptight of the lot – now stand to weather what is and will continue to be a brutal economic storm.
Levy fans will demand to know who could’ve predicted such terrible, random misfortune?! I’m more curious to know why our biggest sponsor is an insurance firm, and yet we didn’t have pandemic insurance – after all, Wimbledon did.