Phil Hay: EFL 'likely' to ban Leeds from doing one thing in huge clash v Fulham
Leeds United are busy making Elland Road look and sound as close to normal as possible ahead of the mega clash against Fulham on Saturday, but the EFL are ready to play their role as party-poopers.
It’s the biggest game of the season so far and it’s playing out behind closed doors at Elland Road.
Leeds have been working on two fronts over the past few weeks in a bid to get some sort of home advantage.
They’ve sold 15,000 crowdies – cardboard cutouts of fans – that will give supporters some sort of presence at Elland Road.
They’ve also been trialling piping in audio of familiar Leeds chants and songs at Elland Road. However, according to The Athletic journalist Phil Hay, the EFL is likely to ban any noises from the stands.
“Technology and innovation gave Leeds United the scope to fill half of Elland Road this weekend,” said Hay.
“The crowd they are manufacturing is inanimate and silent but selling 15,000 ‘crowdies’ — the cardboard cut-outs which have entered football parlance — was an alternative to banks of bland empty seats.
“The club went further with their experiments last week by trialling the use of crowd noise in the stadium while Marcelo Bielsa put his squad through a training game.
“The EFL is likely to ban audio from the stands across the Championship to prevent any dispute about unfair distractions but Leeds, like every club, are doing what they can to make their ground feel like home and the new normal less peculiar.”
Don’t you know pump it up
Booo. That’s all we can say to this news.
We heard the noises being piped into Elland Road last week and after our initial shock it got the hairs on our arms raised.
Home advantage has been significantly reduced across the board since games have been played in empty stadiums.
Prediction website FiveThirtyEight has reduced home advantage by 60% when it’s looking at games in the Championship.
We’ve been using the option on Sky Sports to watch games with crowd noises and find it much better than the eery sound of players’ shouts rattling around empty stadiums.
We can see why the EFL might want to get involved but surely there should be an allowance to have audio approved and piped in during games?
Why shouldn’t Leeds have a slight home advantage in a game they’re playing at home? Fulham did in the reverse fixture at Craven Cottage.
The crowdies should help to fire the Leeds players up – selling 15,000 is hugely impressive – and hopefully, the familiarity of Elland Road will do the rest.
But it’s a big thanks for nothing to the EFL.
In other Leeds United news, ‘From the noises we’re hearing’ – Graham Smyth delivers Pablo update for Leeds clash v Fulham