Having No Fans Might Decide Who Wins The Premier League
I’m Harriet, a freelance sports and lifestyle journalist and podcaster with bylines including The Independent, Metro, Teen Vogue, and more. I have a timely pitch for a football feature I think would work well for GQ.co.uk, so sending it over below in case it’s of interest!
Is football without fans finally becoming impossible for players?
With just the click of a button, fans watching at home are able to turn on artificial crowd noises to make the experience that little bit more normal. However, for the players on the pitch, a sense of normality is a distant memory and far from reality. Nowhere was that more evident than at Anfield last night, as the reigning Premier League champions lost their first game at home in nearly four years. Sadio Mane has never lost a game at the stadium, yet the so-called fortress finally crumbled as relegation contenders Burnley defeated the side 1-0.
All too often, the conversation regarding football played behind closed doors is centered on the fan experience, but in my article, I’d argue that it’s really the players who are finding it an impossible task. Particularly at a team like Liverpool, the team often plays solely for the fans. This is particularly evident when the political climate is tough, and the players palpably put in that extra 10% to give the city something to smile about; It’s also no coincidence that Klopp signed a new contract the day after the general election in December 2019. Without the fans, they look defeated, deflated, and void of motivation to want to do better.
Football, after all, is more than a sport. It is a game led by emotion – and emotion requires fans. People that pay their week’s wages, fly from across the world, and miss family occasions to be at the match. I’d explore this idea further and argue that without fans, teams at the top of their game look like they are missing a player on the pitch – one they simply cannot function without. Yes, we’re missing going to the match, but they’re missing us being there even more.
The article would be around 800 words and I can turn it around by Monday. You can visit my portfolio via the link here, and let me know if you have any other questions.
Thank you so much for your consideration,