While there’s much more to life than football, it’s fair to say the coronavirus crisis has affected a huge number of fans up and down the country, leaving many of us to realise just how much our weekends relied on that precious 90 minutes.
One man who’s been left to rue the timing of this global pandemic is Saleh Ali – a Sydney-based Newcastle fan who’s dream of attending this month’s Premier League clash with Sheffield United was taken away from him after 3 years of saving.
After contacting the blog to reveal his story, here’s what he’s had to say:
“We booked a Europe trip in June last year for March 2020 and have been saving up for 3 years, not knowing a virus will hit the entire globe.
“I came all the way from Sydney Australia with the wife to live the dream and walk through the doors of St. James’s Park – but in the end I couldn’t even get a look from the inside.
“We traveled to Norway, then Switzerland with no troubles, we had Italy booked and cancelled it since the virus got really bad there, so we went to Spain.
“We then landed in Newcastle on the Thursday thinking the game was still on.
“We were ready for a match day tour and to watch our beloved Toon against Sheffield United, then on the Friday my dreams were shattered, with the announcement that all Premier League matches were suspended.
“We also had a match day tour of the stadium which was also cancelled due to the virus. As a result, I didn’t even get the chance to see St. James’s Park from the inside.
“I did the stadium tour of the Camp Nou in Barcelona, the tour of Manchester United, Tottenham, Arsenal and Wembley but not Newcastle. I was able to visit other stadiums – but not the one I really wanted to see.
“I just don’t understand why they didn’t allow me to do the stadium tour when I was able to do others.
“I’ve been a faithful Newcastle fan for 15 years and stay up to the early hours to watch every match of ours.
“The only reason we booked this trip was for this game and I didn’t even get to see how the stadium looks on the inside.
“Honestly, I can’t put in words how devastating this situation is as we’ve come a long way to only have it shattered 24 hours before the game.”
Absolutely devastating for Saleh, showing how this virus can crush dreams and ruin plans when it’s not taking lives.
It’s fair to say absolutely EVERYBODY has been affected by this crisis in one way or another, but Saleh’s story is gutting in more ways than one.
We sincerely hope to have him back at St James’ Park in the not too distant future!