Barber praises stayaway fans

It's a headline you never thought you’d read - a football club CEO praising fans for not turning up at a game, but these are truly unprecedented times.

By Paul Camillin • 21 June 2020

By Paul Hazlewood
Albion chief executive Paul Barber.

Brighton & Hove Albion chief executive and deputy chairman Paul Barber has thanked Seagulls fans and their Arsenal counterparts for heeding the advice of both clubs, the Premier League and police, and watching yesterday’s match at home on television.

Barber also paid tribute to the club’s players and staff; Premier League officials; broadcasters and media; opponents Arsenal; and others who helped Albion’s first home game of Project Restart run so smoothly.

He said, “We were always very confident that our fans would work together with the club, respect our wishes and follow the guidelines by staying at home to watch the game. So it was really pleasing, if not unsurprising, to have the day pass by without one single issue. And it’s very important that fans continue to watch games on TV, and stay away from the stadium, for the remainder of the season.

“I know it wasn’t, and won’t be, easy for fans, some of whom haven’t missed an Albion match for many seasons, but I would like to thank all our supporters for their cooperation and the tremendous support they have shown their club – albeit in very different ways to what they may be used to – since the start of the pandemic.

“Albion fans have been a credit to this club throughout my time here, and like us I am sure they were absolutely thrilled with yesterday’s result. It made the hard work of the past few weeks, both on and off the pitch, really worthwhile.

By Paul Hazlewood
Yves Bissouma takes on the Arsenal midfield.

“I want to thank all those concerned, from both inside and outside the club, including the Premier League, the match officials, Sussex Police and those of our partners who have helped us deliver as much of the usual matchday experience to our fans watching at home.

“It really has been a fabulous team effort, and it was really pleasing to get off to such a smooth start. BT Sport, BBC and all the media present also made life very easy for us yesterday and I’d like to thank them for taking the time to read some long and detailed instructions and complying with the new and more detailed regulations.

“I should also say well done to Graham, his staff, and our players on a terrific performance. It is an important step forward for us as a club, but we know we still have much to do in the remainder of this season and we we go again on Tuesday evening at Leicester City.

“Finally, our thanks to Arsenal and everyone connected with the club for their assistance yesterday.

And, on behalf of all at the club, I’d like to echo Neal Maupay’s comments in wishing Bernd Leno well in his recovery from what looked like a very unfortunate and painful injury.”