Wolves boss Nuno worried a generation could be lost

Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo fears football risks losing a generation of supporters the longer matches remain behind closed doors.

Nuno Espirito Santo the head coach / manager of Wolverhampton Wanderers (AMA)
Nuno Espirito Santo the head coach / manager of Wolverhampton Wanderers (AMA)

Nuno’s pack have been playing in empty grounds for months and Friday's clash with Crystal Palace (8pm) will be the 10th without fans at Molineux.

Supporters, who have not been able to go to the stadium since the 0-0 draw with Brighton on March 7, have been forced to watch from home and are even being asked to pay £14.95 to see the encounter with the Eagles on BT Sport Box Office.

Indoor events have been taking place across the nation over the past few weeks, but football remains without fans, and on if he finds that confusing, the concerned Nuno said: “I find confusing everything that’s happening, very confusing.

“It doesn’t make too much sense. I find these times very confusing. The rates of the infection are so high, you compare it to seven months ago, all these things are very confusing for now.

“But one thing is for sure – we need our fans back in the stadium as soon as possible. They are the most important part of football.

“I don’t want to fear, or even say it, but eventually we are taking a big risk with what’s happening.

“I hope our fans come back in the same numbers as before, I really hope so.

“I really hope so. I don’t want to imagine anything else as that would be very, very sad.”

The Premier League’s introduction of pay-per-view games has caused uproar, with a boycott scheme gathering massive attention nationwide.

And Nuno fears this period of watching games from home – or now perhaps choosing not to watch them at all – will have turned many fans away.

“That’s normal if you get used to something. Day-by-day, you get games sitting on your couch,” he said.

“After that, the impact this has had, there are some generations now who are getting into football in a different format. They only see games on the TV.

“They’ve never felt the atmosphere. If they don’t know what they have, I don’t know if they will go for the first time.

“So, I just really want the fans to go back to the stadium.”

Asked when the situation becomes critical, Nuno said: “The risk is imminent and is happening now.

“The effect that the pandemic has had on football, you cannot only measure by the situation of the fans, but the absence of being able to practice in the parks. It has affected the Sunday football that you call.

“All of this being away will have an effect on the future, especially on the young generation.

“Even in terms of football players growing up, this moment will have an effect. The boys who are 14 or 15 years old, if they’re not able to practice on a daily basis, this disruption could take them away.

“Maybe we’ll find ourselves in five years time with a gap of footballers that suffered from this pandemic, as well as fans.”

Nuno added: “It’s very worrying. Why some activities, yes, and why some activities not? Why are some countries having stadiums partially open to fans, and other countries not?

“This is political decisions, and in terms of political decisions, only history will judge.”

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