Last weekend wasn’t just a return to work for Premier League footballers after Covid-19 forced a break in the season – it was also the first day back for other workers at clubs too, including match steward and Big Issue vendor Julie Cherry.
The Winton seller has been working as a steward at Premier League matches since 2018. Thanks to the Big Issue’s partnership with Saints Foundation, Southampton FC’s official charity, Julie was able to complete an employment programme that led to her taking up a job in the club’s stewarding department.
That led to more work in home matches at the Saints’ south coast rivals Bournemouth AFC and Julie, 51, returned to the Vitality Stadium on Saturday for the Cherries’ evening clash with Crystal Palace.
It was the first time that Julie had been to the ground since Bournemouth drew 2-2 with Chelsea on February 29. At that match she was tasked with giving fans information, showing them to their seats and keeping an eye on any safety risks as well as preventing disorder among supporters.
But on Saturday’s behind-closed-doors event there was none of that. And a Premier League match with no fans was not just an unusual experience for players and managers, it took some adapting for Julie too.
At least she got to see more of the football as visitors Palace ran out 2-0 winners. Here’s what Julie had to say about her Premier League return: