The Sale Sharks have returned but the fans are not in sight.
After reflecting on a four-week lockdown, the team successfully beat Northampton last Friday 32-11.
CEO at Sale Sharks, Sid Sutton, said on the night: “We’re in rugby really. It’s is an elite sport and an entertaining sport. It should be full of fans and full of crowds and we should be enjoying it.”
“But we are in the middle of a pandemic. We’re lucky we can still play rugby in a way.”
“There’s lots of people who are in a far worse situation than we are. We have to get the fans back so they can enjoy it with us.”
Sutton believes the injection of cash from the government will be important for the upcoming months.
He said: “It’s critical, absolutely critical. We’re getting no revenue in. We’ve got no bums on the seats. We’re extremely grateful. It’s a must.”
“Fans can support us from the couch and give us our well wishes at home. We are trying our hardest to get them back here.”
“We want this place rocking again. We want it full and we’ll keep lobbying in a polite way that we can to make sure that we get the fans back as quickly as possible.”
“We need to grow Sale Sharks, we need to get at home for sale sharks no 1. We need to enhance the fan’s experience.
“We want to make sure It’s a family, Sharks family. Everybody comes down here and has a really good day.”
Captain of Sale Sharks, Jono Ross, reflected on the long break from Rugby Union. He said: “Its been strange being so short.
“But I think, with the times we’re in, it’s been the best thing really because theres nothing else to do.”
“We had four-weeks off so we had some down-time. Obviously, we couldn’t get a way. The boys used that time to relax.
“We had to try and stay fit as well but get away from the game for a bit.”
“The quicker the fans get in the stadium the better. We played with fans during summer It’ll be a little bit different now the winter’s coming in.
“Mentally when the fans are there it makes it easier to get up for a cold night. But we’re there to do a job and hopefully, we can put in a good performance and play top potential on Friday.
“We know there’s areas we’ve tried to improve. We put in a good performance and see improvement across the squad. We need to be tough to beat.”
“We saw that post lockdown, we were in good form going into the initial lockdown, then post lockdown, them first two games we became unstuck
“You can never expect roll on six weeks later. I think it was a massive disappointment we couldn’t get that top four.”
“There was a feeling around the club we should have secured that top four top a lot earlier.”
“What that tells me is we know we weren’t good enough at times. We know there were certain games where we came unstuck when we shouldn’t have. Which was disappointing but hopefully will put us in a good state knowing we will need to be more constant.
“We played not consistently enough. I don’t think we will use what happened last season as any motivation. We don’t need to do that.
“But I think we need to play more consistently throughout the season. If we want to get to where we’re going.
Sale Sharks player, Ben Curry, said: “It’s been more extensive than usual. We’ve had a good two-weeks actually to look at them properly and get ready for this first game.
“I think the lads have kept well. They’ve come in after four-weeks and kept fit. We kind of knew what was coming for this season.
“They’ve got a lot of good young players who like to throw it about. So for us It’s about being physical like we did last time. Like when we went down there, performing at that same standard.
“The last couple of years we probably haven’t started as well as we wanted to. So for us it’s about focusing on our selves.
“We know North-Hampton-they have a lot of threats. But for us we know-when we went down there, when we got our attack right, when we were on top of teams, we can perform really well and get some really good results.”
“That normal rest in summer gives you a chance to reflect. We haven’t got that this time.”
“I think trying to rely on momentum is quite dangerous. The first thing we said in the meeting is that season’s gone it’s behind us.
“No-one cares we came fifth, no one cares about that anymore. Its about looking at what we can do now.
“If we don’t get it right on Friday night, Northampton can create a big danger.”