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Bournemouth manager Jonathan Woodgate said 2,000 fans provided a “brilliant atmosphere” and were the “12th man” in their Championship play-off semi final first-leg win over Brentford, according to BBC Sport.

Sport in England took another step towards normality as fans returned to venues across the country on Monday.

Horse racing, rugby league and rugby union also opened their doors.

It followed successful test events including the FA Cup final on Saturday, which saw about 20,000 fans at Wembley.

“I loved the fans being back here,” Woodgate told BBC Radio Solent.

“I absolutely love it. It’s different, we are not used to it. After the year we have had with no fans, it’s been quiet. The atmosphere was brilliant.”

The Cherries, who are looking to make an immediate return to the Premier League, opened their 11,000-seater stadium to home fans only in line with government restrictions.

Larger outdoor venues across England are now able to admit crowds of up to 10,000.

Smaller outdoor venues will have capacities capped at 4,000 or 50%, whichever is the lowest.

Barnsley were backed by 4,000 supporters for their play-off tie with Swansea, while about 3,000 rugby union fans watched Bristol Bears beat West Country neighbours Gloucester in the Premiership.

The biggest attendance permitted on the night was the 6,000 at the KCOM Stadium where Hull FC went down 27-10 to the Catalans Dragons in the Super League.

Premier League fans return

On Tuesday, the doors of Premier League football stadiums open to home fans only at a reduced capacity.

With the penultimate round of top-flight fixtures pushed back to 18 and 19 May, every Premier League team has the chance to host a match in front of spectators before the end of the season on 23 May.

It is the first time since December, when up to 2,000 football fans were briefly allowed to attend some Premier League matches, that spectators have been allowed in to watch top-flight football.

Manchester United, who host Fulham at Old Trafford, and Southampton, who entertain Leeds United at St Mary’s, will be the first to welcome people back when they kick off at 18:00 BST.

Brighton & Hove Albion fans will watch their team take on champions Manchester City (19:00 BST), while Chelsea face Leicester City (20:15 BST) at Stamford Bridge in a repeat of Saturday’s FA Cup final which the Foxes won.

Six further games on Wednesday will have fans in attendance, while a season played almost entirely in the absence of spectators will come to an end with limited crowds at all 10 games on the final day on Sunday.


Image Source: BBC Sport


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