`It’ll be rubbish’ – former Stoke City skipper delivers verdict

Former Stoke skipper Andy Griffin is in no doubt when he contemplates what football will be like for the players in empty stadiums.

Premier League and Championship clubs will be playing behind closed doors for safety reasons and Griffin warns: “I think it’s going to be absolutely rubbish for the players, I  do, because is it not about the atmosphere?

“Is it not about the fans, the cheering, even the booing at times, and the goal celebrations?

“Isn’t that what it’s about? Going to the games, seeing fathers, mothers, kids.

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“I think it’s going to be very unusual and, for me, when you come out of the tunnel and see and hear the fans, that’s what it’s about.”

Griffin, who has been looking forward to next weekend’s game between his former clubs Stoke and Reading on BBC Radio Stoke, continued: “Yes these games have to be played behind closed doors, but it’s going to be dull, no atmosphere, just like a training-ground match.

“But you have to be thinking:`this is not any old game behind closed doors, we are not just putting on this game because one of your senior players is coming back from injury, this is the real deal.’

“But without the fans, psychologically that’s going to be quite tough and quite unusual for the players.”

He said it wasn’t just down to the manager to wind the players up to perform in such circumstances.

“A lot of the responsibility is down to the players,” he continued.

“You’re going to have to do what you’ve got to do to motivate yourself individually.”

Griffin will be appearing on BBC Radio Stoke between 2-6pm with Matt Sandoz when there will be a re-running of a Stoke v Chelsea clash.

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