The upcoming all-English Champions League final between Chelsea and Manchester City will see the welcome return of fans, albeit just 12,000 of them.
Both clubs were allocated 6,000 fan tickets ahead of the match at Porto’s Estadio do Dragao, which has a seating capacity of 50,033, in Portugal this Saturday 29 May.
Last season’s final between Bayern Munich and PSG was played behind closed doors due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
Nick, 21, a Chelsea fan going to the final said: “It feels very special to be able to attend games again. It’s moments like a Champions League final that us fans live for, especially with how rare they can be.
“For a strong number of us to be able to attend in Portugal in these times is something that, win, lose or draw, I’ll never forget.
“I still remember 2012 and watching the final as a 12-year-old at the time and dreaming of one day attending the final. On Saturday I’ll live the dream.”
The final was due to be played in Istanbul before being relocated to Porto, after Turkey was placed on the Government’s red list of countries it advised not to travel to due to rising cases of Covid-19 in the country.
Portugal is on the Government’s green list of countries it considers safest to travel to.
On the gathering of large crowds again, Nick said: “To be honest I don’t have any concerns about being in a crowd.
“Everyone now, or at least the vast majority, genuinely treats life differently and actually are used to being slightly separated as it’s almost the norm.
“I think there has to come a point where we do just need to get on with our lives but of course respect the guidelines we now have to live with.”
Chelsea already have one Champions League trophy in their cabinet, but this is Manchester City’s first Champions League final.
However, it is the newly crowned Premier League champions who are favourites to win the Saturday’s match.
There will be added pressure on Thomas Tuchel’s team, as Chelsea have lost eight of their last ten cup finals, including this season’s FA Cup final to Leicester City.
Nick said: “I honestly can’t predict how the final will pan out. Of course I want a Chelsea win, but our performances in recent finals just hasn’t been good enough.
“The big key for us will be keeping Kevin De Bruyne out of the game because of how much goes through him and just keeping our heads up in case we do concede first.
“If we do both of those then I predict 2-1 Chelsea.”
Last month, both clubs felt the ire of fans after they joined, and then pulled out of, the proposed European Super League.
Michael, 25, a Chelsea fan said: “The Super League was a disgrace. I’m not normally one for a protest but I had to go up to the Chelsea one.
“It was an attack on 150 years of football heritage in this country and it shows how the clubs really value the fans.”
Aiden, 21, a Manchester City fan who rarely misses a game added: “I’m glad the Super League has been abandoned, as it would have been the end of me following City.”
Chelsea vs Manchester City is live on BT Sport 1 on Saturday 29 May, kick-off 8pm.