Royals fan Danyal Khan gives his thoughts after the first weekend without football due to the COVID-19 outbreak. 

Who would have thought after that amazing 3-1 victory against Birmingham City that we would now be here with a global crisis. 

I certainly never thought it would have got this bad, but the warnings were there even last weekend that we could be in trouble after Italy basically were a country in crisis with this Coronavirus at the time the Royals took to the field in the Midlands.

Only 24 hours after the game finished in Birmingham did Serie A announce that the League has been suspended. 

So, in all honesty we all knew it was coming to this country anytime soon from that point last weekend where Italy went into lockdown as a country.  

And the fear of the virus hitting the UK was radiated by Bowen when he said this after the Birmingham victory.  

He said: “I'm like any other person out there, it's worrying times when you see the way it's being portrayed in the media. 

“Let's do all the right things people are recommending to do then we'll see where we are in the coming weeks.” 

‘Let’s do all the right things people are recommending’ - something that the government have arguably taken too lightly compared to other countries with the World Health Organisation saying that some countries aren’t doing enough to tackle the issue. 

But the UK’s approach has allowed sport and especially football to suffer with Premier League clubs having to self-isolate due to a few players and managers at this moment being diagnosed with the Coronavirus.  

The main examples in English football at this moment being Arsenal Manager Mikel Arteta and Chelsea player Callum Hudson-Odoi who have both unfortunately fallen ill to the virus. 

Surprisingly no Championship players or players from the EFL have yet to be diagnosed with the virus but that could change instantly. 

Logically with the number of cases of people contracting Coronavirus reaching 1,372+ (at the time of this article being written)  in the UK as of March 15th (source- Department of Health and Social Care), the EFL’s decision to suspend all matches up to the 4th of April was inevitable to say the least. 

It was a major surprise that events like the Cheltenham festival and even the Champions League match between Liverpool and Atletico Madrid were allowed to go ahead recently.

People travelling from Ireland and Spain for the respective events - countries where Coronavirus cases are on the rise portrays a lack of awareness from the government in stopping this problem before it gets out of hand. 

And like Reading manager Mark Bowen said in his pre-match Stoke City press conference: "There are more important things in life than football”, and this decision by the EFL shows that.  

But although the decision is right- the impact on clubs from the EFL (lower league clubs) like Reading could be damaging. 

The lack of match day revenue in the meantime whilst games are off meaning that clubs that need the money will struggle to maintain and function properly.  

Money made on game days even go to paying the wages of staff at the club. And although this doesn’t massively impact upon Reading- just take a moment to think of all the League One and League Two clubs that will be badly affected.

One solution that has been suggested if football can’t resume on April the 4th in the EFL and Premier League is voiding the season. 

So just scrapping everything and starting all over again next September for the 2020/21 season is a possibility alongside others that footballing bodies will be considering as the pandemic develops over the next few months. 

Now voiding the season would be unfair for some teams including Leeds and West Brom who would be gutted to not be promoted.

 On the contrary you have relegation threatened teams like Luton Town and Barnsley who would love the season to be voided. 

But for Reading, I don’t think it has a massive impact on the club for whether or not the season is voided.  

The club will be losing out on a lot of money, but the club are in a safer position of not being threatened with relegation and not having much chance of making the plays that the season not continuing the season if the virus gets worse doesn’t have much impact on the club compared to others.  

For me, I will miss the buzz of waking up on Saturday morning knowing that the Reading will be taking to the pitch looking to battle for three points against loads of clubs around the country, in a country where it’s second division is probably the most competitive around the world compared to other second divisions. 

Nevertheless, health comes before anything and that includes football and like I have already said, this is the best decision all round to suspend all EFL games. It just will be hard to take not having football to look forward to on the weekends. 

I’m a football fan so having no sport for a while gives me a numb feeling thinking about it but it’s something all us Reading fans will have to get use to. 

Thankfully as Reading fans - our last memory before the games were suspended was tasting the sweet success against the Blues in the Championship. If we would have lost that game and then the virus really kicked in, it would be so frustrating waiting a long time for a winning response from the team. 

But thankfully that didn’t happen to us and our most recent memory was a winning one before the Coronavirus outbreak really hit this country hard.