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Streaker on the Pitch as National League Weymouth FC "Let Down" by Returning Fans

calendario 10.12.2020
by: Zach
  • England
  • Vanarama National
  • North
  • Step 1-2
  • Vanarama National - North
Streaker on the Pitch as National League Weymouth FC "Let Down" by Returning Fans

Eight hundred fans returned to Weymouth’s Bob Lucas stadium after an eight-month-long wait due to COVID restrictions. While the majority of loyal fans behaved responsibly, the club reported that some fans broke smoking and alcohol regulations, as their team hosted a 1-5 defeat to FC Halifax Town

Ignoring repeated PA announcements pleading supporters to abide by social distancing, fan behaviour at the Halifax game prompted the club to slash its attendance cap again for their most recent home game to Dagenham and Redbridge. Already, the road for Weymouth fans to return to their stadium this season looks set to be a bumpy one.

One decisive bump occurred in the second half of Weymouth versus Halifax game, just as the south coast hosts were making a comeback. After conceding two goals in the first 45 minutes, Weymouth got one back thanks to their captain Josh McQuoid. Earlier that week, the attacking winger announced that he became the father to a baby girl, Orla McQuoid. A fan replied to the announcement with the premonition that McQuoid was “destined to score” on the weekend, making the goal extra fateful along with the fan return. 

That goal, however, was not all that fate had in store. Just after the goal, as Weymouth were getting back into the game, a topless fan invaded the pitch, disrupting the game, the return of fans, and his team’s flow. Jeff Brazier, covering the game for BT Sports, stated that as football games balance on thin margins, this interruption “contributed to the side’s downfall.” Of course, Weymouth went on to concede three more goals. They lost the game, and for the time being, they also lost the ability to host so many fans.

Tragically, Weymouth also lost their next home game to Dagenham and Redbridge 1-3. A hugely reduced contingent of only 450 fans watched from the ground as their side sunk further into the National League relegation zone. Weymouth struggle in second from bottom, above fellow south coast stragglers Dover Athletic. For a side like Weymouth, who battled so hard in the National League South playoffs to earn promotion on penalties amid the pandemic, this setback must be frustrating.

The Weymouth manager, Brain Stock, forgot to thank returning fans after the game but made sure to do so in a statement on the club website. In the statement, Stock thanked fans “for the atmosphere” they created, and in general, fan returns so far have been a positive thing. In the National League North, Southport fans also saw their team lose, in a 0-1 defeat to Farsely Celtic. After the game, the BBC reported fan statements that “it’s not about the result.” The majority of fans across the country, across leagues, behaved responsibly, like the majority of fans at Weymouth. However, as the team announced, a small majority left them “disappointed,” adding insult to the injury of taking no points from the game. Win or lose, non-league football is about supporting your club and making your voice heard in the ground. 

Being there for your team physically and financially is best done by paying for a ticket and going to the games. Chants and cheers are still allowed, they just have to come from behind a facemask, and from the stands, not from a pitch invader. The 800 fans at the Weymouth game were part of a test sample and could have doubled to 1,600 to support their Dagenham and Redbridge game. 

The actions of the few prevented that from happening. Despite the best efforts of Josh McQuoid, who scored again at the start of the Dagenham and Redbridge game, Weymouth are in trouble. With a mere seven points from their first ten games of the season, Brian Stock’s side will need all the fan support they can get to stay in the league. That can only happen if everyone does their part and stays safe for themselves, each other, and their team.


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