‘It’s so much more than a football club’ - TV presenter urges frustrated sports fans to be sensible and selfless

Television presenter Jake Humphrey has posted a message from Carrow Road on social media, amid footb

Television presenter Jake Humphrey has posted a message from Carrow Road on social media, amid football's coronavirus shutdown Picture: @MrJakeHumphrey on Twitter - Credit: @MrJakeHumphrey on Twitter

TV presenter Jake Humphrey has shared the frustration of Norwich City fans amid the sporting shutdown in response to the coronavirus outbreak, while posting a message to encourage positivity from a quiet Carrow Road.

The Canaries were due to be hosting Manchester United on Sunday afternoon, in the club’s first FA Cup quarter-final for 28 years, but that has been postponed alongside all professional fixtures in England until at least April 30.

BT Sport presenter Humphrey, who lives near Norwich, had secured access to do some short filming with a cameraman and stressed that they had maintained a safe distance in accordance with government guidelines about no unnecessary social contact to combat the spread of Covid-19.

The former BBC Sport and Children’s BBC presenter then posted a message on his @MrJakeHumphrey Twitter account, saying: “How’s it going? This is a sorry scene isn’t it? The nets are up but Carrow Road is silent. It was meant to be the FA Cup quarter-finals against Manchester United here this weekend and I’ve just come down to film a few links.

“How does that phrase go? ‘You don’t know what you’ve got until its gone?’. I know it feels insignificant and trite to be talking about sport at a time like this. I think in many ways football and sport has never been more irrelevant - but in many ways, it’s never been so important.

“I think we’re all not just missing the brilliance, the skill, the conflict, the celebration, the desolation that it brings, but also that sense of community, that sense of belonging, that’s what this place is.

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“This might be my football club but it’s so much more than a football club, it’s a community, exactly like all the others across the country and across the world, that are silent and waiting, like all of us are at the moment.”

MORE: Norwich City announce closure of offices and retail stores

Football and other sports, like so many industries at present, are having to wait until its safe for normal life to resume - with prime minister Boris Johnson stating on Thursday that the next 12 weeks will be crucial to dealing with the pandemic.

Mr Humphrey, 41, has been one of the front-line hosts for BT Sport since rights to broadcast Premier League games were secured for the 2013-14 season.

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He continued: “I just can’t wait for when the biggest thing that all of us have to worry about is a VAR decision or our team losing a game of football, because if anything can be taken from this period, it is how important and how rich our lives are for sport.

“Nothing brings together people like it and I cannot wait until I can do my job again and stand at the side of a football pitch, in a full stadium and watch an amazing moment of skill.

“Whether it’s the people in the stadium, whether it’s me and the guys on the TV, or people watching at home, that we just have that shared experience. Strange times, isn’t it?

“I hope you’re well. For now, sport doesn’t matter a jot, does it? Just keep on supporting the NHS, keep on doing everything you can to make their lives easier, follow local advice, be selfless not selfish, stay with your families, stay close, try and stay happy and I really, really, really look forward to the day that I can welcome you all to a live game of football.

“Anyway, lots of love and I hope you’re doing well, take care.”

- Mr Humphrey featured as a guest on the Big EDP Interview podcast last month, discussing a wide range of subjects with editor David Powles, including being told he’d never present a sports show, the anxiety of being on social media, Norwich City and his ambitions to one day be an MP. Click here for the full story and to listen to the podcast.

- Do you have a positive story to share about helping others during the coronavirus outbreak? Join our ‘Norfolk and Waveney Here to Help’ Facebook group.

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