Everton, like the rest of the Premier League, have been playing in empty stadiums since football’s resumption in June.
It looks like it will be 2021 before the Toffees get to play in front of a full house again.
There’s no doubt football is diluted without the presence of fans and during an exclusive interview, we asked Nigel Martyn how he feels their absence is impacting Everton specifically.
He felt Saturday’s 3-1 loss against Manchester United would have panned out differently in front of a raucous crowd.
“Manchester United were under a lot of pressure in that game and the opportunity to really steamroller them was there. We sort of sat off them and let them play.
“Everton should’ve steamed right into United. We were a little bit passive. With 40,000 Evertonians in the stadium, I don’t think they’d have allowed the team to play as passively as they did.
“We probably needed our 12th man, especially against Man United. Fans are always up for a game against Man United. All players respond to fans shouting, getting excited, the noise level.
“It does make you run sometimes when you wouldn’t ordinarily. It does make you go into a challenge, it does bring you up emotionally in the game and that is obviously missing.”
“The players, when we can, touch wood, get back into stadiums talk of how much they’ve missed the fans,” Martyn went on to say.
“I definitely think that would have been a big help on Saturday, especially in an early kick off as well, where sometimes it’s a bit difficult to get going that early.”
At 1-0 up, in front of a full, loud Goodison Park, it’s tough to imagine Everton would have surrendered their lead as meekly as they did.
As Martyn eluded to, the supporters would likely have roared Everton forward.
All matches are poorer as a spectacle without supporters in the stadium and it must be hoped that they are allowed to return in some capacity sooner rather than later.
Nigel Martyn speaking to Everton News: Archive