Stan Collymore’s ground-breaking idea for Premier League’s Project Restartby Jason Pettigrove
If things carry on going according to plan, then Project Restart should hopefully be a reality in the not to distant future, and Stan Collymore has come up with an interesting suggestion regarding where to play the games.
Having home and away matches as per a normal season would appear to the way to go, and that’s exactly how the Bundesliga have re-started over the past two match days.
However, Collymore, perhaps taking his cue from suggestions of playing at neutral venues, has suggested that the smaller EFL grounds should be used, so that the acoustics and what’s left of any ‘atmosphere’ won’t be lost in huge, empty stadiums.
“I’d love to see our clubs ditching their home grounds for the last 92 games of the 2019-20 season in favour of neutral venues borrowed from teams in the EFL,” Collymore said in his Daily Mirror column.
“I can think of a dozen grounds at least that would make viewers feel closer to the action than they would at Old Trafford or Anfield, with QPR’s Loftus Road chief among them.
“[…] It’s a neat and tidy ground with four stands that are close to the pitch and dugouts right next to the touchline, meaning viewers would get a real feel for everything that is going on.
“Without supporters in stadiums, I’m going to want to hear everything that is being said on the pitch.”
Although it’s a suggestion that isn’t without merit and can, to an extent, be understood, Collymore hasn’t taken into account one of the most important aspects, and that is the standard of pitch that the players will play on.
Premier League teams are used to playing on smooth ‘billiard table’ surfaces these days, and without the money of the English top-flight, some of the lower division clubs don’t have pitches that are suitable.
When you consider what’s still at stake in the few games that are left, everything needs to be stringently checked and, with respect, some are unlikely to pass the quality control necessary.