From the Terraces: I'd give anything to be allowed back through the turnstiles to watch Harrogate Town

Harrogate Town supporter Dave Worton's latest weekly fan column.

Saturday, 10th October 2020, 10:31 am
Updated Saturday, 10th October 2020, 10:34 am
Jack Emmett made his first appearance of the season for Harrogate Town during Tuesday's EFL Trophy clash with Leicester City under-21s. Picture: Matt Kirkham

If there’s one thing I really, truly, absolutely, totally hate, it’s missing the start of a football match. It doesn’t happen to me very often but, when it does, I find myself getting really irritated. So it was on Tuesday night.

It wasn’t as if I had far to go, just six paces from the ‘office’ into the spare room, and I couldn’t blame a slow queue at the turnstiles, although I’d give anything to be able to do so at this point in time.

Truth is, I’d been absorbed in something else, and the first indication I had of being late for the kick-off was when my daughter Molly shouted “one-nil to Town!” down the stairs.

Fans in their thousands have been allowed in to watch games in the Bundesliga. Picture: Getty Images

Having tried, and failed, to find a commentary on Radio York on two different radios, I found myself frantically rushing around the house, forlornly searching for my Ipad.

I’d left it in the most unlikely place and, by the time I found it, switched on, logged into the Town website, sat waiting for the blue polo of doom to run its course, tried to pay and released I couldn’t find my debit card... Town were 2-0 to the good.

When I eventually managed to ‘attend’ the match, I’d missed the opening 25 minutes and Town’s best spell of the game.

Even so, I have to declare myself pleased with the way that the squad members currently finding themselves out of the first XI acquitted themselves against a fairly inexperienced Leicester U-21 team.

It looks like we may have the makings of a useful squad this year and, on a personal note, it was nice to see Jack Emmett back in the reckoning.

It was certainly a tonic after the frustrations on Saturday, when Town went down 2-1 to a Bolton Wanderers side who looked far better than their early league position had suggested.

It seems that Ian Evatt may just be beginning to whip them into shape, as he did with Barrow last term, and we didn’t catch them early enough in the season.

The fact that Town were playing with a number of changes from the well-established team also showed on the day, as we struggled to get our usual pass-and-move game together until it was too late.

Not that we were well beaten. An early defensive lapse, and a second goal against the run of play, left us always chasing the game, in much the same vein as the early home defeat to

Notts County last season. So, I find myself not unduly worried. After all, you’re not going to win them all.

If I’d have predicted, two years ago, that we’d be losing narrowly in League Two to the once-mighty Bolton, while suffering a first league defeat since January in front of a crowd of zero at Doncaster, you’d have promptly sent the men in white coats round to take me away.

As I write, a petition, calling for spectators to be allowed to return in some form to football at all levels, has very quickly passed the 100,000 signature mark, making it eligible for a debate in Parliament.

I know it’s not an easy decision to make, and it may not even be the correct one, as coronavirus infections begin to rise again, but football fans are looking at the decision to allow 3,000 spectators back into the 5,272-capacity indoor Royal Albert Hall, and scratching their heads in disbelief at not being allowed, say, a regulated, screened and masked 1,000 fans into a 15,000-capacity outdoor stadium.

Molly and I signed the petition, as we believe the issue needs to be at least debated, and not left to drift by Government.

Over in Germany, 11,500 fans attended a game at Borussia Dortmund last week, but the infection rate is far lower over there, of course, and they have a functioning test, track and trace system.

That’s something we in England can only dream of.