AFC Fylde boss Jim Bentley on the welcome return of football fans
Jim Bentley is looking forward to next week’s return of supporters to football grounds as much as anyone, not least because the AFC Fylde manager is a fan at heart.
From Monday, clubs can welcome back crowds up to 25 per cent of their ground capacity, with a limit of 10,000. That means the final two rounds of Premier League games, the EFL play-offs and remaining National League fixtures can be played in front of crowds.
And after a National League North campaign played mostly behind closed doors until it was abandoned in February, Coasters boss Bentley says this is great news.
He told the club website: “Getting fans back in stadiums is massive. I’m sure our fans are absolutely itching to get back watching football again.
“The matchday experience is so important, even more so at this level, not only for the fans but for the players too.
“As a player you want to play in front of people shouting your name, cheering you on, celebrating goals and wins. Fans just give everybody that added motivation, that extra 10 per cent. People will see me as a manager, but I’m no different – I’m a football fan.
“It’s nice that I can go and watch my kids play on a Saturday morning but I’m disappointed that I can’t watch my own team on a Saturday afternoon. It’s been highlighted a lot during all of this, but football is about the fans.”