Why supporters will be greatly missed at Tynecastle Park for Hearts v Dundee

In the popular US sitcom Community, a common plot line running throughout is that of the darkest timeline conceptualised by Danny Pudi's character Abed Nadir.

By Joel Sked
Friday, 16th October 2020, 5:09 pm
Updated Friday, 16th October 2020, 7:01 pm

Essentially it is an alternate world, running alongside the ‘normal’ one created following a series of unfortunate events.

For Hearts fans, they are currently living their own dark timeline following the coronavirus.

In a more normal the team could have scraped to safety, a summer overhaul undertaken and they would be a Premiership side playing in front of fans.

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That is, of course, not the case.

219 days after that fateful defeat to St Mirren, Hearts are back in league action, and it was always going to be Dundee.

The term ‘you couldn’t script it’ was thrown around a lot once the fixtures were released. But the term rubbish. If you were going to go to the hassle of scripting a narrative from the Championship fixture release, of course it would have been Dundee heading to Tynecastle on opening day.

After all that had occurred during the summer, namely Dundee' s flip-flop vote on the SPFL resolution, there is plenty of bad blood stemming from Tynecastle, especially the support.

Hearts fans will be at Tynecastle this evening in spirit. Picture: SNS

It makes the lack of fans at grounds all that more irritating.

Manager Robbie Neilson has spoken often about the intensity of pre-season and Betfred Cup matches without fans. The players are having to generate it themselves without the assistance and demands of supporters.

It has made for a surreal and certainly far less enjoyable occasion when going to the football.

Incendiary night in EH11

At Tynecastle, crowd noise has been piped into the stadium but it essentially acts like the background music you have on when getting on with household chores.

The lack of Hearts fans is going to fully sink in this evening for a game where Tynecastle Park would have been at capacity with a large travelling support. Under the lights, the home crowd feeling wronged while backing their team, the perfect combination for that famous and all to infrequent Tynecastle Park atmosphere. Raucous, belligerent and opinionated.

It would have been the perfect concoction for an incendiary night in EH11 and a captivating spectacle. The intimidating environment Neilson admits he and the team will miss.

Instead, it will be a sterile environment and another bleak reminder of the current football landscape.

Hearing manager and player shouts is novel for a while but doesn’t replace the shouts of supporters, no matter how nonsensical or inaccurate. The sound of football, the flow of a crowd noise, the lull broken by the anger provoked by a refereeing decision. While the eeriness of making your way to a game, knowing it is on but with no sign of fandom certainly won’t me missed.

Football fans get a bad rap, especially within some circles in this country, but it is these men, women and children who make the game what it is. Make events like tonight all that more special.

The sooner this dark timeline is consigned to the past and supporters can finally make there way back to these venues, which crave the emotion of people the better for the product, the enjoyment and Scottish football which has been an even more tempestuous place since March.

Until then, Tynecastle and Scotland’s other grounds won’t be the same. Neither will the football.

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