Stoke City fans’ council remains in regular dialogue with the club about refunding tickets for matches that will now be played behind closed doors.
Stoke returned to training this week, albeit with strict social distancing measures, and are expected to follow the Premier League model and go to contact training, still in small groups, next week as the preparations intensify to complete 2019/20.
The Championship could be back on June 20, running the fixture list in the order that had originally been planned. That will mean Stoke start away at Reading before six-pointers against Middlesbrough and Wigan Athletic.
But all games will take place without crowds due to the coronavirus pandemic restrictions.
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Hundreds of fans had already bought tickets for trips to Reading and Wigan and there are four home games too for about 19,000 season ticket holders. Stoke have been waiting for a definitive update before confirming how it will handle what happens.
Fans’ council chairwoman Angela Smith said: “We speak to the club on a very regular basis and we will keep asking them about the situation. I’ve told the chief executive that I’m amazed how many people have contacted us saying they are not worried about getting money back on season tickets, but it’s a different story for away tickets.
“And we know that people are in different situations – that that are a lot of people will be affected badly by this crisis. Very sadly, people will lose their jobs and circumstances will have changed, sometimes drastically, from three months ago.
“I’m sure Stoke will do the right thing, as and when they can.
“But it’s not quite as simple as some people might think. Some supporters have paid cash for their season tickets and cash refunds are not practical while the ticket office remains shut. It’s not as easy as just refunding money onto people’s cards.”
The Premier League will return on June 17 but clubs in League Two and below have voted or been told their season will be curtailed. There are fears that many clubs will struggle without regular income from gate receipts.
Smith added: “We’re extremely lucky to have such good owners who could financially guarantee their employees at Stoke and bet365 until the end of August.
“But at some point, without any money coming in, there will have to be a point when all clubs have to rein in some of their costs. If you multiply that across the football pyramid then it is inevitable that football will change.
“I do think the world will recover fairly quickly but when it comes back it will be different.”
Aaron Ramsdale’s time in self-isolation is hopefully nearing an end after he became one of the first Premier League players to test positive for COVID-19 since training returned.
The Chesterton-raised Bournemouth and England under-21s keeper believes he must have picked up the virus at a supermarket after testing positive last Friday.
The asymptomatic 22-year-old, who had tested negative the previous Monday, had to go into seven days of quarantine and needs a negative test before he can get back to work.
Angela Smith was one of his teachers at the Sir Thomas Boughey Academy, in Halmer End, and sent her best wishes that he will be good to go.
She said: “I think he was very shocked, reading what he said, and like anyone who gets it you wish them well.
“He still owes me some science homework, by the way, so at least he has a chance to catch up on that.
“It’s been great to see him make such progress. He was a typical youngster growing up, with heart and soul in football.
“It was clear to me and all his PE teachers that he was destined for bigger things. I’m just sad that didn’t turn out to be at Stoke.”
The EFL has confirmed there have been three more positive cases this week after carrying out 1,030 tests among players and staff in the Championship.
“Personally, I still think it’s too soon for football to be back and I would have left it until at least July,” said Smith.
“You can look at it two ways. If footballers don’t return to work when other people are having to, some would say they’re special cases… and if they do return then they’ll still get it in the neck.
“I’m afraid I have no enthusiasm for matches without fan interaction. I caught 10 minutes of the Bundesliga and it didn’t enthral me at all. But if it’s a Stoke match of course I’ll be watching.
“I appreciate that it must be very difficult to be training and be told when it’s not safe to be within 2m of each other and then be asked to tackle and compete under pressure. The competitive faces will come on, no doubt, and when the whistle goes they won’t think of anything else – but it will be very strange.”