What it’s like... to play behind closed doors
Echoey stadiums, constant coaching and muted goal celebrations. David Moyes, Mark Noble and Michail Antonio reveal what it's like to play without fans.
Behind closed doors.
It’s a phrase that has become a key part of football jargon over the last few months.
But, while supporters who are stuck at home watching on TV debate whether it’s best to have the crowd effects on or off, what’s it like for the players out on the pitch?
To find out, we spoke to three figures who were pivotal in helping West Ham climb to safety after the Premier League restart about the quirks of playing high-stakes games in such a sterile atmosphere.
‘The ball hits the back of the net, and you want to celebrate. But the fans aren’t there.’@Noble16Mark, @Michailantonio and David Moyes reveal what it's like to play behind closed doors. 🚪 pic.twitter.com/7KmMCiHIil— betway (@betway) September 11, 2020
After a tricky start, the Hammers – who are in the latest football betting to start the new season with victory over Newcastle United – soon found their feet, losing just one of their last seven games of the previous campaign to finish five points above the drop.
Manager David Moyes admits that it helped being about to coach from the touchline throughout the match.
Captain Mark Noble, who made his 500th appearance for the club without any fans in attendance, admits that he found it particularly strange after more than 15 years of playing in front of big crowds.
And Michail Antonio, who scored eight goals in those final seven matches, reveals what it feels like having to celebrate in front of an empty stand.