Football’s Dilemma with its ‘Product’ Once the Season Restarts in Empty Stadiums

If there was one thing the return of the Bunderslegia demonstrated last weekend, it was that playing football in empty stadiums is a bit of a non-event. With the restart of the Premier League slated for June 17th, after witnessing a few rounds of German games, you just know that Sky TV, the Premier League and its member clubs, currently have their respective marketing departments in full think tank mode, thinking of ways to elevate the TV product from appearing like soulless training games to the viewer.

On the My Old Man Said podcast over the past few weeks, we’ve discussed a few attempts at addressing the issue, from cardboard cutouts, robot fans, and recently in episode 105, South Korean sex dolls.

What will be next?

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Aston Villa Training Sale

To be fair, Borussia Mönchengladbach’s recent 13,000 cardboard cutout fans (see below) looked better than they sounded, but alas there’s no real benefit for fans (who paid 19 Euros for the cardboard honour). For TV companies though, it certainly has the potential to improve the aesthetic of what people are watching on their screens.

Although, surfer flags won’t be possible now and the use of those flame throwers at the start of games will look a bit lame now with no crowds.

Will they then attempt to layer on sound, as well to what we watch? As we’ve also discussed on previous podcast episodes, the event of mobile apps being developed to try and create audible supporter interaction, maybe something that is better in theory, than it is likely to be in practice.

Since the recording of the show, the announcement of the Premier League kicking off in June to complete the remainder of the 2019/20 season, which although morally questionable, in terms of Villa’s fate at least, will avoid the nonsense of their destiny being decided by ‘Points Per Game’ formulas, which are also discussed in episode 105.

[Episode 106 has been recorded and will be out soon]

Episode 105 Notes

Premier League Training Begins as Villa Prepare for Summer Football

As Premier League clubs return to training to prepare for the possibility of the commencement of the 2019/20 season, we look at the realities of football in the near future – from ghost stadiums to South Korean sex doll fan replacements.

With the EFL recently announcing that a Points Per Game format – with promotion and relegation – will be undertaken, if the season doesn’t commence, Aston Villa will be concerned that the Premier League will follow a similiar path.

In other Villa-related news, we look at the curious case of former Villa centre-back Jores Okore being accused of match fixing.

In ‘Overrated or Underrated?’ we discuss the Villa ex-player trio of Tommy Johnson, George Boateng and Stewart Downing.

While wrapping up the show is the discovery of a true Villa legend that even My Old Man Said is happy about!



PS: Warning: contains strong language.


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David Michael – @oldmansaid 

Dan Rodgers – @avfc_vilr

Chris Budd – @BUDD_music

Editor/Producer – David Michael

Outro music – Phil Marten


  1. Let’s just do our best ON the field and stay up. Adjustments will be made for next season… One goal (pardon the pun) – do enough to stay up! Cheers from Florida.

  2. sound has already happened, according to the normally reliable robbie earle today in the stoke sentinel, FAKE NOISE SOUNDS STUPID BUT IT ADDS TO THE EXPERIENCE & the key statement which I don’t understand “this was the guide that we perhaps never really appreciated enough when everything was normal. If you go to the bathroom, its the changing sound that makes you realise you’re missing something. It was subtle and sounded natural.” page 36 if you can get a copy of the paper.

    fans are no longer needed in the world of pandemic football- or so we are told – watch out for developments when the season ticket money goes back and they want our cash – man u have just lost £28 million in the first quarter of the year

    Villa started the league system on planet earth when william mcgregor realised he needed paying customers. What was true in 1888 is true in 2020

    trevor fisher

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