Wirral will be in Tier 2 of the COVID restrictions when the national lockdown ends on 2nd December, potentially clearing the way for some fans to watch games at Prenton Park again.
Under the new guidelines, Rovers will be – in theory – able to have 2,000 people back inside the ground to watch matches, the first of which would potentially fall on Saturday 5th December against Walsall.
By that point, it will have been just shy of 10 months since fans were inside Prenton Park to watch Rovers, the last game being a 0-0 draw with Bristol Rovers back on 11th February.
However, it’s not going to be a straight forward process for Rovers, or any other club. They will almost certainly have to satisfy local authorities that the venue is safe and that events can be hosted in line with COVID protocols, such as social distancing.
While the return of fans to stadia is vital for clubs lower down the football pyramid, being capped at 2,000 is not going to be ideal for many. In fact, most will make a financial loss on opening up the ground and adhering to protocols without the capacity to have match-by-match paying fans back (i.e. non-season ticket holders).
Tranmere have around 3,000 season ticket holders, so if fans are allowed back in, then expect a ballot to decide who gets into each game. The club indicated a while back if this approach was required, then season ticket holders who miss out on a ticket for the first game would be guaranteed entry to the next match.
So, it’s over to Tranmere. There are many hurdles and challenges that they will probably need to overcome in order to get us back inside Prenton Park on matchdays, but all being well, we could be a matter of weeks away from cheering on our heroes again.
And what a time to return it would be…