Covid passes won’t keep Bristol City fans away from Ashton Gate

A huge majority of football fans appear to be prepared to put up with the new requirement to show a Covid Pass to get to watch Bristol City take on Huddersfield Town this Saturday – but some have said it means they won’t go.

Ashton Gate released the details of how they would enforce the new rules passed in Parliament this week – and urged people to get to the stadium at least an hour before Saturday’s 3pm kick off.

The response on social media and the supporters’ forum boards has been mixed – with some fans questioning the effectiveness of the policy, the civil liberties aspect or the logistical challenges.

READ MORE: Bristol City fans urged to arrive an hour before kick off to get Covid Passes checked

But while that response from Bristol City’s fanbase has largely mirrored the reaction from wider society, the question of whether large numbers of supporters would not go to games because they have to show a Covid Pass has been answered, unscientifically.

A Twitter poll by the One Team In Bristol fanzine asked followers if the requirement to show a Covid pass or a negative test result would stop them going to City games.

The result, with hundreds of people voting, showed that 86 per cent of people said it would not stop them, with around 14 per cent saying it would.

That 86-14 split is actually a higher percentage than the population of Bristol who have been double-jabbed – which currently stands at 70 per cent, albeit for everyone over 12. It is only from the age of around 50 onwards that take up of the vaccine is as high as 86 per cent.

But with roughly one in seven City fans – at least those who have taken part in the poll – saying they will not be going to Ashton Gate because of the Covid Pass regulations, it could see a dip in the crowd numbers.

Since the return from the covid lockdown, which saw no crowds at Ashton Gate for more than 500 days, the average attendance at Bristol City has dropped below 20,000, and has not recovered to pre-pandemic levels, although that has coincided with a run of winless games at home.

City owner Steve Lansdown told supporters that the Covid Pass was about keeping fans and the community safe.

“They are for our safety,” he said. “We have to abide by the rules and regulations. I know Ashton Gate will be well prepared and get people in the ground as quickly as possible, and obviously out as quickly as possible, and keep them as safe as possible.

“Get down there as early as you can,” he told fans. “Enjoy the atmosphere and help us out in that regard. It would be great to get everybody in a bit early and get the songs going for Christmas and get that Christmas spirit going.

“The men’s team has started to pull things around, we’ve got a bit of an unbeaten run at Ashton Gate. We’re turning a corner there and feeling our way into the season,” he said.

Bristol City blogger Paul Binning – aka The Exiled Robin – praised the club for its clear messaging ahead of Saturday’s game.

“Credit where it’s due,” he said. “The ticket pricing will p*** off many fans but this Covid comms is as clear, helpful and detailed as we could expect, I’d say.

“Remember the guys and girls there on Saturday are only implementing Government rules – it’s not their fault.”

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