Premier League fans return as 2,000 West Ham supporters attend Man Utd clash

West Ham’s game against Manchester United is to become the first Premier League game to take place in front of supporters since the outbreak of coronavirus.

A small number of Irons fans will watch the game at the London Stadium, with the club based in Tier 2 and therefore allowed a maximum of 2,000 spectators.

The fixture will become the first Premier League game to take place with a crowd, albeit a reduced one, since Leicester’s 4-0 win over Aston Villa on March 9.

And there will be 2,000 fans at four more games in the Premier League before the end of the gameweek, with Chelsea v Leeds, Tottenham v Arsenal, Liverpool v Wolves and Brighton v Southampton all taking place in areas based in Tier 2.

West Ham fans wore masks as they returned to the London Stadium

There was clearly delight from some about the return to the London Stadium

Arsenal had 2,000 spectators in the Emirates for their Europa League clash against Rapid Vienna on Thursday, which was the first time fans had returned to a Premier League ground.

And fans returned at other EFL clubs in midweek including at Wycombe and Luton in the Championship.

Any clubs in Tier 1 would be allowed to admit 4,000 spectators, but there are no professional sides in those few areas.

Supporters also had temperature checks before entering the ground

And numerous teams, such as Manchester United and Manchester City, are still unable to have any fans due to being in Tier 3.

For those who can return to grounds, it is currently a very different experience to how supporters will remember it.

Things will be a bit different for match-going fans for now

Along with the reduced capacities, supporters must wear face coverings in all areas of the stadium and be considerate of those around them when singing and shouting.

Safety messages were also displayed throughout the stadium

It is hoped by taking these steps, along with many other mitigations, it will put the Premier League’s clubs in the best possible place to convince Government and the Sports Technology and Innovation Group (STIG) task force that it is ready to be involved in trials with greater capacities than those allowed by the tier system.

West Ham’s last home game in front of fans was a win against Southampton on February 29

West Ham will be hoping the presence of fans will inspire their team to secure a win that would move them, at least temporarily, to the lofty heights of third place in the table.

United, meanwhile, would go fourth with a victory.

A recent poll run by BBC Sport suggested fans were divided over whether they should be allowed to return to grounds before a vaccine for Covid-19 is rolled out.

Fifty two percent said they should be allowed before it is available, with 45% saying they should not.

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