Opinion: Matches Behind Closed Doors Have An Impact On TV Viewing Too

I’ve seen a lot of tweets today from those who normally attend European away matches. There’s an overwhelming feeling of frustration that fans can’t be over in Latvia, enjoying a pint, sing song and the game with others.

Having matches behind closed doors and having to watch on TV is obviously a poor replacement of the real matchday experience. It also has a negative affect on the players without any atmosphere to gee them up. However, another angle to consider is the impact that the lack of fans has on the TV viewer too.

As a fan living further afield in Bournemouth, it’s not possible to get to every game. I have a season ticket and attend as many matches as possible, but financial and logistical restrictions mean that I’m not able to attend every game. A trip to Pittodrie on a Sunday afternoon for example is not ideal with work in Dorset on Monday morning.

That means that when I can’t make the game, I have to settle for watching on the TV. I often enjoy watching Celtic away from home, even when I’m not at the match. You can always hear the Celtic support going through their repertoire and it adds to the spectacle. Often it’s a case of volume up and focus on the action.

Nothing can replace being in the stands or on the supporter’s bus, but watching on TV with fans present is an okay substitute when you can’t be there.

A scene that always sticks out in my mind is the reaction of the fans in the North Stand at Celtic Park as the cameras panned round the stadium following Joe Ledley’s goal against Rangers. Normally, I take a couple of days off work to attend European nights and the bigger midweek clashes. However, this particular match was on 28 December, and I had family commitments for the Christmas/New Year period Part of me was gutted at not being amongst the mass of bodies jumping to the sound of I Just Can’t Get Enough, but it was still an enjoyable watch.

I suppose my conclusion is that the lack of fans at games impacts the full global Celtic support. It’s terrible for the regular match-goers and, to a lesser extent, it is also effects those who can’t get to games, but still enjoy a taste of the atmosphere.

Living rooms from USA to Australia won’t be the same, I just hope to get back to a busy CSC pub to make our own atmosphere if we can’t get back to the stadium soon.

About Author

Hailing from an Irish background, I grew up in Bournemouth with the good fortune to begin watching Celtic as a young child during the Martin O'Neill era. Still living on the south coast, I have a season ticket at Paradise and also travel to European away matches when possible. At the age of 19, I published my first Celtic book (Our Stories & Our Songs: The Celtic Support). Then, last year, I published my second book (Take Me To Your Paradise: A History Of Celtic-Related Incidents & Events), which is sold in Waterstones and official Celtic FC stores.

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