Coronavirus tiers: No fans allowed back at Wolves, West Brom, Villa or Walsall yet

Fans of the West Midlands' Premier League and EFL clubs will have to wait a little longer before returning to watch their team.

Fans of West Midlands clubs will have to wait a little longer to return to their club's grounds after Wolves, Albion, Villa and Walsall were all placed into tier three
Fans of West Midlands clubs will have to wait a little longer to return to their club's grounds after Wolves, Albion, Villa and Walsall were all placed into tier three

Wolves, West Brom, Villa and Walsall all fall in areas that will be placed into the highest coronavirus tier following the end of lockdown next Wednesday.

Baggies boss Slaven Bilic said: “It’s very disappointing. When I heard the fans are coming back it was great news because we are all missing fans.

“But then when we found out we are third tier it’s a blow.

“But I am optimistic our fans will come back to the stadium very soon.

“Still we are not happy because it’s not our fans but it is a step forward towards getting our fans back.

“Of course we are missing them big time. We were delighted about it, then it’s not our fans but it’s a step forward.”

Despite admitting it is a ‘problem’ for Albion that relegation rivals Fulham and Brighton are allowed supporters in, Bilic was keen to focus on the positives.

“It is a problem, but still I’m looking at it as positive news,” he said. “Even when we were playing Brighton or Fulham away you still want the fans to be there because it’s helping us as well.

“It’s better at home but you also want them away. We perform better with fans, home or away.

“I still see it as very positive news that the fans are coming back to the ground.”

Though not being allowed home fans, Wolves and the Saddlers will get to experience some sort of atmosphere on Saturday, December 5, when they both travel north.

Wolves are due to face Liverpool that day – though that game could still be moved for television coverage – while Walsall are at Tranmere Rovers in League Two.

And with Liverpool city and the Wirral in tier two, 2,000 home fans will be allowed into Anfield and Prenton Park for those matches.

National League North side Kidderminster Harriers also fall into tier two, but they have no post-lockdown home game scheduled until December 28. And the club confirmed yesterday they were awaiting further discussions with the National League.

"Harriers are encouraged by recent Government announcements that supporters are shortly to be allowed to sporting venues," read a statement. "The club has been fully compliant with all guidance and instructions issued by the Government, National League and Safety Advisory Group to enable matches to be played behind closed doors this so far this season.

"By the same token there is now a considerable, further level of detail needed to ensure matches can now be played with supporters in attendance, including a meeting with all clubs and the National League next week.

"We’re naturally very much excited at the prospect of soon being able to welcome the Harriers faithful back to Aggborough.

"We will do all we can to help this happen quickly, but it can only be done when it is safe to do so and when that clarity from the National League and others has been obtained.

"Please be aware that, due to current restrictions in place nationally, Aggborough presently remains closed to the public."

Clubs from non-league step three and below had been allowed to admit fans before lockdown, but they will have to abide by the new rules from next Wednesday.

That means Hednesford Town, Rushall Olympic, Stafford Rangers, Stourbridge, Chasetown and Halesowen Town are all not allowed supporters in their ground during games.

League discussions are set to go on over the next few days, with all step five and six leagues – including the Midland League and West Midlands League – joining a virtual meeting with the Football Association tonight to discuss what happens next.

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