SOUTHEND United supporters are adjusting to the ‘new normal’ having to watch their side’s matches online.

Fans are still not allowed back in stadiums due to the coronavirus pandemic.

But hundreds watched Saturday’s League Two opener against Harrogate Town from the comfort of their own homes, including Matt Aruldoss Hines who was tuning in from Rayleigh.

“We know that it’s tough times to say the least at the moment but being able to support the team in a small way for a small fee is a great feeling,” said Aruldoss-Hines.

“The link up with BBC Essex commentary is great!

“As a plus, I also didn’t have to queue up for half-time refreshments and there was an abundance of onions.

“I can’t wait to get back into the ground, but in the interim, it’s wonderful to be able to watch the Blues from the comfort of home.”

The Shrimpers started the League Two campaign with a dismal 4-0 defeat against Harrogate.

And keen Blues fan Karl Mooney found it weird not being at the ground.

“It was a very strange experience,” said Mooney.

“It’s hard to accept that it was a League game and it was like watching a training session really.

“The BBC Essex commentators did their best to build some kind of atmosphere, but it was a struggle.

“It’s not the same sitting in your lounge watching the match on telly, you miss the whole match day experience, the buzz of people walking into the ground, the smell of the cut grass from the pitch, the banter among the fans and it’s just not the same.

“But with the world being in the state it is right now, I’ll take anyway I can to watch my beloved team!”

And those sentiments were echoed by season card holder Robert Askew who was using the new set-up for the first time.

“It is odd not being there in person to cheer on the team and I am new to iFollow so I was not sure what to expect,” said Askew.

“After setting it up and a few buffering issues, and the odd sound issues, I was grateful that I could at least see the game live.

“It was unusual not seeing the people I normally do on match day, and chatting with the season ticket holder that sits next to me about our expectations for the game and the season.

“ I do miss being in the ground, and I know I will miss going to the away games. IFollow is certainly a good option to have but I can’t wait till I am back in my normal seat at Roots Hall.”

The Shrimpers will be back in action at Carlisle United this weekend but Reece Dorrell cannot wait until he is back watching the games lives.

“It was great to get our dose of watching but watching from home is something I pray does not continue for the long term as the arm chair fan lifestyle is not a southend United thing as it is with the rest of Essex, you know who you are!,” said the keen Blues fan.

“Watching from home is just nowhere near the same, you lose the match day experience of going to the ground, meeting your mates, soaking up the atmosphere, and having an awful Roots Hall burger!

“After an embarrassing defeat when you leave the ground you can have a chat and get over it a bit quicker but when you’re at home the game just ends and that’s it.

“But for now that’s all we have.”