SWINDON Town manager Richie Wellens has warned football clubs may collapse if supporters are not allowed to return to grounds soon.

The Town boss’ prediction came just days before the London Palladium and Royal Albert Hall opened their respective indoor arenas to allow sizeable crowds in to watch shows.

And despite people being allowed to return to pubs, gyms and other indoor leisure activities over the past few weeks and months too, sport has seen very few fans allowed to return in significant numbers.

Test events have been run at several football matches with success, yet still grounds up and down the EFL lie empty aside from club officials and a handful of media outlets.

When asked what the Town boss thinks might happen if fans are prevented from returning to grounds for months, Wellens said: “How can this go on for months? We’re not going to have football clubs if this goes on for months and months.

“But the Royal Albert Hall is opening this week with 56 per cent capacity inside.

“Has the Prime Minister got shares in the Royal Albert Hall or something and he wants to get it going?

“The football club is the lifeblood of this community – if you look around the stadium, it’s a big stadium, there are local businesses advertising everywhere and they’re suffering.

“Let’s get some supporters back into the ground. We can manage it easily enough, but we need a bit of life back into the games.”

With the absence of fans a constant feature this season, home advantage – or the lack of – has been brought into sharp focus by many statisticians.

And with neither the support or wrath of a crowd around to help sway a result, Wellens said Saturday’s 1-0 defeat to AFC Wimbledon was evidence of how important Town fans are to the way his team operates.

Wellens said: “I think the players that are scared of crowds – and there’s a lot of them – are probably flourishing in this environment.

“And the players that run on adrenaline and run on intensity and the emotions of a game of football with supporters, they’re probably struggling a little bit at the moment.

“I’m a manager that runs on emotions, I run on intensity, and I’m asking my team to play in a certain way – this is the toughest environment to get the very best out of my team.

“So I’m finding it tough as well.”