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IWAN ROBERTS ON PLAYING BEHIND-CLOSED-DOORS

3 June 2020

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Former Huddersfield Town striker on playing games without a crowd

- Iwan Roberts recalls playing a game behind-closed-doors
- Former striker urges players to create their own atmosphere
- Radio summariser discusses ‘home advantage’ in final nine games

Former striker Iwan Roberts has urged the Huddersfield Town players to create their own atmosphere for the final nine games of the Sky Bet Championship season.

A provisional date for the 2019/20 campaign was set by the EFL and following Government guidelines all matches will be played behind-closed-doors.

With no supporters and no atmosphere at the games, professional footballers will have to adapt to their new surroundings.

Iwan Roberts, who made over 150 appearances for Town, recalled his only experience of playing a match with no supporters and explained why he believes Town’s players will be able to create their own atmosphere.

“I had one (behind-closed-doors game) at my third or fourth year at Norwich; we had a friendly arranged against Arsenal. It wasn’t at Carrow Road or a Highbury, it was at their Training Ground, so that’s the only game where I’ve had no-one there watching.

“You can compare them to pre-season friendlies, but even at those friendlies there’s always a few hundred or thousand that turn up to watch those games. It’s going to be strange; it’s going to be different.

“The main difference is that the players know they’re competitive games. I do think, even though, it’ll be a strange situation and scenario for the players having no-one in the stands, they know it’s all to play for in these last games.

“It’s been a tough season; Town aren’t quite safe and still have to fight to get more points to move away from the bottom three.

“I do think, even though there will be no atmosphere, the players have to create their own atmosphere, they know there’s nine massive games for Huddersfield Town; that should be enough motivation to create that.”

With no crowds at games, what does that mean for a home advantage? Well, the former striker actually thinks it could benefit some players!

“I think you probably do lose your home advantage, but I’ve been in two situations.

“When you’re flying at home, as soon as you go on the pitch you’re expecting to win because of the atmosphere and the crowd behind you.

“I’ve also tasted the other side of it, where you’re having a bad time at home, performances aren’t good, and as soon as you make a mistake then fans can get on top of you. So, I think it’ll work as an advantage for some teams.

“Players can feel pressure when home fans aren’t happy with performances. Maybe in an empty stadium, they could go out and express themselves more freely.”


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