John Smith’s Preston North End Fans’ Panel verdict: I felt like a character in a strange work of fiction
It took Phileas Fogg 16 days fewer to travel the world than the 96 it took to get our game with Luton finally played following its initial postponement in March.
In the fiction adventure book Fogg was able to complete his 80-day round the world trip by rail and steamer but sadly on Saturday I was unable to make even a four-hour train journey to Kenilworth Road due to the impact of Covid-19 on everybody’s daily lives.
With no fans allowed in the stadium there was no awayday train trip or pre-match drink in the hostelries of Luton, but by the wonders of modern technology being able to watch a stream of the game on iFollow,
I was looking forward to the return of football albeit in a very much watered-down form.
However I felt like I was a character in my own fiction adventure book stuck in the surreal situation of having seen every minute of this season’s North End action, to having to resort to following the game by text on my Sky Sports mobile phone app when iFollow had the audacity to go down shortly before kick-off. My frustration seemed to last for an eternity until North End returned to my social bubble after a three-month absence appearing on screen with 11 minutes having been played.
It felt very different watching the game on the flickering screen but it definitely made a welcome change.
It was a strange affair with the tannoy system pumping out crowd noises to try and make the eerie atmosphere more realistic. Like the socially distanced substitutes’ bench the cardboard cut-out fans in the stands seemed to follow suit, with the physios looking like something you would come across while being sat in the dentist’s chair.
The football on the pitch was far less frightening and we dominated the game throughout always looking likely to get the three points once we had taken the lead early in the second half.
However still looking comfortable we were undone three minutes from time when Luton equalised with their only shot on target.