The Oxford United chairman, Tiger, wrote the following notes for Tuesday night's programme for the game against Ipswich Town:
In many ways it is good to have a game again today so soon after the disappointment of Saturday’s defeat against Swindon. Our visitors Ipswich are a big club and a good team and I hope it can sharpen the focus of the players and staff; a win tonight would be the perfect way to get the derby game out of our systems.
It was my first experience of the ‘A420 Derby’ and even all those miles away in Thailand I could feel the excitement and build-up among the fans. It is hindsight, but with the fans there then I think we would have had that extra push and won the game, but that is no excuse: the drive to win has to come from within as well. The players know how badly it hurt the supporters and now they have the chance to put it right with three home games in a row, starting tonight. It hurt me too, I should add.
If all goes to plan – and if 2020 has taught us anything then it is to expect plans to change – then this will be the last game in an empty stadium. The plan is for 1,000 fans to be with us against Hull on Saturday, then 1,500 against Forest Green Rovers and hopefully 2,000 supporters at games after that. I’d like to take a moment to thank all those behind the scenes who have been putting the plans in place. That is no easy task and they have worked long hours to make it happen.
When it does then it will be a massive step forward for us. Football without fans just isn’t football, right? I feel so happy for the 1,000 who can be there on Saturday - I am very jealous and my heart goes out to the many thousands more who missed out. With close to 4,000 season-ticket holders and only a quarter of that number of places available, I hope you can see the impossible task of keeping everyone happy and in the end all we could do was make it as widely available as we could and hope that people understand the situation.
Even with 1,000 people inside the stadium it is only a first step, and I would like to ask those fans to help us, please. There are rules and regulations: you have to wear a mask, you must maintain social distance, and so on. If everyone helps us and follows the rules, then we can progress and welcome more fans back. The quicker that happens the better for everyone, so please, if you are there on Saturday, stick to the rules.
You can read and download the full programme online at www.matchdayfix.com/oufc