Now the excitement of wondering when and where Chelsea has died down following the release of the Premier League fixtures for next season, will Blues fans be able to actually go and see the team in action?
It will be nearly 18 months by the time the new campaign gets underway since Stamford Bridge was last at full capacity for a home game against Everton March 8. 99 percent of the games since then in west London have been behind closed doors owing to the Covid pandemic.
Empty stadiums became the new norm, resulting in it being the first Premier League season in history to see more away wins (153) than home wins (144) as the lack of crowd noise was felt across the country.
There were 1000 inside Chelsea’s home for a game against Leeds late last year before London was plunged into another lockdown. Then, for the penultimate game of the season against Leicester City, 10,000 were inside Stamford Bridge.
26,500 were in attendance for the FA Cup final defeat to the Foxes and over 16,000 were in attendance to witness Chelsea’s Champions League final win over Man City two and a half weeks ago.
With fans beginning to return to stadiums across the continent – there were more than 60,000 for Hungary’s defeat to Portugal in Budapest earlier this week – is there the chance to see full stadiums for the start of next season?
The Premier League hasn’t confirmed whether that will be the case and nor have Chelsea, insisting they will be following government guidance on fans returning to Stamford Bridge in much larger numbers.
The Blues said in a statement: “The Premier League has announced that it and its clubs are committed to the ambition of having full stadiums, including away supporters, from the start of the season, and will continue to work closely with Government and all relevant authorities, ensuring operational plans are in place ready to safely welcome supporters back to stadiums in August.”
The government announced earlier this week that it has pushed back the day when all restrictions would have eased amid the pandemic from June 21 to July 19, which is encouraging for the supporters returning to stadiums as the 2021/22 campaign gets underway on August 14.