The footballing world is in limbo. Some leagues have restarted, some have been cancelled, some have been declared complete; millions of football fans all over the world find themselves nervously awaiting the news which could have a monumental impact on their club.
With the FA looking increasingly keen on ensuring the English football season is completed, the possibility of games being played behind closed doors is beginning to become an ever more realistic prospect.
And that just doesn’t sit right.
After all, English fans are some of the most passionate in the world. The Premier League may be the greatest league of them all, but it would be nothing without its fans.
Since its inception in 1992, football fans have provided us with some iconic scenes in the top flight.
We’ve compiled our top six memorable moments which we would have missed out on if the Premier League had always been played behind closed doors.
Liverpool Salute the Kop After West Brom Draw
In a world where footballers couldn’t be metaphorically further from the common man in the street, unity between a team and its fans is a difficult bond to achieve.
One method adopted by Jürgen Klopp, sees himself and his team linking hands and saluting their adoring fans at the end of a game. The German tactician has been known to engage in the salute at both Borussia Dortmund and Liverpool.
A reasonable celebration after a good result I hear you say. Perhaps. But not after a 2-2 draw with… West Brom.
Having trailed 2-1 going into stoppage time, the Merseysiders dug themselves out of a hole thanks to a Divock Origi 96th-minute equaliser. Cause for a sigh of relief unquestionably, but not cause for a whole-team celebration.
The image is still mocked to this day on social media and will no doubt forever be ingrained in the minds of English football fans.
Kudos to Christian Benteke who tried his best not to join in with the frivolities and attempted to make the ground swallow him up instead. We feel you Christian.
Angry Eric Dier
One of the weirdest moments of this season so far after Tottenham were knocked out of the FA Cup at home to Norwich.
Jumping to the defence of his brother who had allegedly been involved in an altercation in the stands at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, Dier took it upon himself to clamber over aisle after aisle of seats – baboon-like – to confront the supposed perpetrator, who – going by the various viral videos – ran away.
Unnecessary comedy gold.
dWenger in the Stands at Old Trafford
Arsene Wenger has had some memorable trips to Old Trafford, but he’s also had his fair share of forgettable ones as well.
In August 2009, Wenger and his Arsenal side travelled to Manchester United hoping to leave with all three points.
The Gunners found themselves 2-1 down heading into stoppage time. However, with defeat just minutes away, Robin van Persie levelled the match to the delight of the Arsenal bench.
Step forward Mike Dean. The perennial villain of the piece ruled out the Dutchman’s strike, leaving the tempestuous Wenger furious.
The Frenchman unleashed his anger on a nearby water bottle, leaving Dean no option but to send the Arsenal boss to the stands. What followed was a scene that will never be forgotten.
With no seats left to be claimed, the Gunners boss was forced to stand among the United faithful. With his arms wide apart, gesturing to Dean that he had nowhere else to go, the Frenchman provided viewers and those sat around him with a moment they will never forget.
Adebayor Gets His Revenge
Another Arsenal and Manchester matchup, but this time it’s the blue half of the city terrorising the Gunners.
Having swapped north London for the north west, Emmanuel Adebayor didn’t have to wait long to be reunited with his old colleagues, as City hosted Arsenal five games into the season.
The forward received a torrent of abuse from his former fans, being booed and jeered every time he touched the ball, but it would be the Togo international who would have the last laugh.
With 80 minutes on the clock, the big man powered a header into the ground and past the despairing dive of Manuel Almunia, putting the game beyond Arsenal’s reach.
There was to be no dignified hands in the air from Adebayor though – instead, he sprinted the full length of the field to greet the travelling Gooners before sliding on his knees with his arms open. Cue pandemonium in the Arsenal end, as the Manchester City man sat back to enjoy the show.
The King Power Hosts the Opera
As if 5000/1 underdogs Leicester City winning the Premier League couldn’t have been made any more poetically brilliant, boss Claudio Ranieri had one last trick up his sleeve.
Prior to the Foxes’ penultimate game of the season against Everton – a day on which they would finally be handed the Premier League trophy – legendary Italian opera singer Andrea Bocelli performed hair-raising renditions of Nessun Dorma and Con Te Partiró
With Ranieri beside him, chest pumped out with a tear in his eye, it truly was the perfect send off to the most romantic tale ever told in the Premier League.
Admittedly Bocelli’s performance had very little to do with the King Power crowd – even though they tried to sing along with him – but the atmosphere created by the Leicester faithful that day will never be forgotten.
Plus, if he’d been singing into an empty stadium it would have made a beautiful moment a bit weird really.
The Sunderland Beach Ball
Often fans are called upon by players and managers to become a 12th man and to have an impact on the game. It’s all a bit metaphorical really, they can’t actually have an impact on the outcome… or so you might think.
In October 2009, one Liverpool fan had arguably more of an impact on the outcome of a game than any fan has in Premier League history.
After the supporter tossed their Liverpool branded beachball onto the pitch, Darren Bent’s shot went from being a comfortable gather for Pepe Reina, to the footballing equivalent of a ‘googly’ – turning wickedly and diverting off the inflatable and into the net.
The result cost Liverpool a point and ultimately a place in the Champions League at the end of the season, although luckily they were rubbish and it was the difference between sixth and seventh rather than first and second.
Cantona’s Moment of Madness
Undoubtably the most iconic image that wouldn’t have existed were the Premier League played behind closed doors.
Having been sent off for a challenge on Crystal Palace defender Richard Shaw, Eric Cantona was lead down the touchline by a member of the United backroom staff – clearly aware of the Frenchman’s tendency to let his emotions spill over.
Unfortunately, a full quota of the United backroom staff couldn’t have prevented what was to come. Cantona leapt into the crowd studs-first, hurtling towards a Palace fan kung-fu style before being dragged back onto the grass.
The former Leeds man would receive a nine-month ban for his moment of madness – the most iconic footballer-fan interaction in Premier League history.