Newcastle United have decided to ban players from signing autographs for fans until further notice due to concerns over the growing coronavirus epidemic.
We are the first Premier League club to implement this – much like how we were the first club to ban handshakes before top flight officials made it an official ruling, much to the bemusement of fans at the time.
This news also comes on a day where fears over the virus have forced leagues across the continent to ensure all games are played behind closed does for the time being, with Spain’s La Liga becoming the latest to do so and the Italian Serie A postponing fixtures altogether.
The Premier League have yet to issue any statement as of yet, but it now looks a real possibility that England will face the same fate as the rest of Europe if – as expected – the numbers affected by COVID-19 continue to grow.
Imagine that. We get to our first FA Cup quarter-final in 14 years but it’s forced to be played behind closed doors due to the outbreak!
This would surely work to the benefit of Manchester City who wouldn’t have to deal with a jam-packed St James’ Park screaming the black-and-whites on.
Even worse still, and I hate to pitch this idea to my fellow Newcastle fans, could you imagine us progressing to the semis and set to play at the new Wembley for the first time since its inception (we played Spurs away twice, but this would draw nowhere near in comparison), only to be forced to watch the game play out at home on the telly?
No 50,000 Geordies. No Trafalgar Square takeover. Our dreams as we envisioned all but crushed.
Let us pray that the spread of the Coronavirus cools off a little and normal service is restored.
First and foremost for our health, as after all, this is the most important thing, but equally so it doesn’t scupper the most special story of our season – and us Newcastle fans can have something to look shout about once again.