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Big Eck, Brighton staff join bumper crowd to see Sutton draw with Hartlepool

Local fans flocked to National League Sutton United to see their 1-1 draw with Hartlepool United.

The Premier League, EFL and FA announced yesterday that professional football in England was to be put on hold until early April at the very earliest.

The decision went with current government guidance with mass gatherings, for now at least, still allowed to continue

A bumper crowd of 2,126, more than 500 above Sutton United's average gate, turned out for their 1-1 draw with Hartlepool United at Gander Green Lane.

The London Evening Standard reports for what could be the last time in months, fans forgot about the outside world and enjoyed the football, only the odd elbow bump between friends suggesting there was something different about this afternoon's game - and not a face mask in sight (save for the mascot, Jenny the Giraffe).

Milwall season ticket holder John Barnes said: "I like to come to football on a Saturday. I thought 'OK, I'll go to Sutton. I've got no reservations about that [being in a crowd], I don't even understand all the procedures and what the government are doing about it.

"I go to work three days a week, right up in town, so I'm on the Tube with people. Why should I feel anything about sitting in a football crowd?"

It was not just misplaced fans looking for one last spot of sport; former Scotland manager Alex McLeish watched on from the director's box, and members of Brighton's media team were also in attendance.

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