Steve Bruce backs Premier League return to lift “mental state” of fans

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Steve Bruce is convinced the Premier League restart will help ease the “mental state” of football fans.

The Newcastle United boss is convinced the health of supporters will be boosted by having the distraction of their favourite team to support again.

The Geordies kick off against Sheffield United on Sunday.

Research has found that football fans miss the distraction that sport provides, and the social interaction and camaraderie that going to a game provides.

Bruce reckons it is the job of the football industry to get going against and restore some normality with the “second best thing” – games on TV.

Bruce, who was at an empty and eerie St James’ Park on Saturday for a friendly against Hull, said: “We all need it (to start again). It is strange times for everyone.

“It is something to look forward to for the supporters and for everyone with their mental state.

“Let’s hope the world comes back to a good place and we can get fans back at sporting events because it has proved to me how much we have missed it all.”

Prince William announced last week that the FA Cup has been renamed the Heads Up, FA Cup saying: “I think there’s going to be, sadly, a lot of repercussions from this in society, not just in football, in terms of people’s mental health. Hopefully the FA Cup can be a bit of a pivot that people can rally around.”

Bruce has predicted a slow start to the league, but a quick return to full speed in a couple of weeks.

“The Bundesliga was a bit slow to start with and a few weeks on it has started to pick up a bit.

“It is a crying shame that fans can’t be here, but it is the second best thing being able to cheer them on on the TV or laptop.

“When you see an empty St James’ it is hardly recognisable from game day but it is the same for everyone.

“The supporters make Newcastle United. There are people who want to work hard all week to buy their ticket and sit in the stand and shout on their team. There is no greater place than Newcastle for that.”

Newcastle are missing the Longstaff brothers – seeking new contracts – who have both picked up injuries but could return to training next week.

And skipper Jamaal Lascelles has become a father again to a baby boy and was given the weekend off by Bruce.

Bruce says he might ditch the dug-out for long periods of games and take his pick of the empty seats in St James’ Park.

“There is no doubt you get a better picture when you are higher up. I will think about it. Of course with no fans in the stadium you can sit up a height and keep quiet. When this place is full I wouldn’t be sitting where I did for the practice games.”

Star man Allan Saint Maximin said yesterday: “It is difficult to play with no one in the stadium. We have to ensure we are ready to play well against Sheffield.

“I feel good and have tried to improve and I want to help my team.

“I scored against Sheffield United earlier in the season. We know they are in a good position, 7th, and we have to do everything to score.

“Everyone is ready to return. We are happy to play again.”

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