With the Premier League returning in a behind-closed-doors format, there are a number of striking abnormalities football fans (and players) are attempting to acclimatise to.

While some of these are, of course, meaningful, others are most certainly less so.

The inextricable link between football and culture is more profound than ever before, with players’ names on the back of their shirts removed, replaced with ‘Black Lives Matter’, while a dedication to the NHS is also present.

And while fans are temporarily prohibited from attending the matches, the stadiums present an eerie quiet – that is, of course, unless you have the automated crowd noise coming through the television.


A number of players have also abandoned their usual fresh match trim for a more natural look, with social distancing measures ensuring they cannot attend their barbers.

Oh, and Mike Dean has a beard.

Liverpool travelled to Merseyside rivals Everton on Sunday evening as they restarted their Premier League campaign, knowing they are just two wins from a first league title in 30 years.

And yet, as the cameras panned across the abundance of stars preparing for the derby, it was Dean who caught the eye.

The referee has a reputation for stealing the limelight, and it’s fair to say he’s done it again.

Never change, Mike.


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