FOOTBALL supporters have been left frustrated after fake fans were allowed into Roots Hall to film a movie while real life matches continue to take place behind closed doors.
Southend United supporters have been unable to head to Roots Hall since the initial coronavirus outbreak in March.
However, a video showing fake fans celebrating a goal at Blues’ home stadium for Rise of the Footsoldier: Origins – a film starring former footballer Vinnie Jones – has caused outrage on social media.
The footage, captured by Shrimpers fan Dave Shields, shows actors celebrating a goal in a fictional match between West Ham and Southend United and seemingly ignoring social distancing guidelines in place to combat the spread of coronavirus.
Mr Shields was cycling past Roots Hall when the filming was taking place over the weekend. He was shocked to see fake fans bundled close together despite being in the midst of a global pandemic and real football supporters being unable to return to their spiritual homes.
Mr Shields said: “I was cycling past the stadium and saw the floodlights were on. I then saw the car park was full, so I was intrigued.
“The gate was open for the North Bank so, being curious, I went in. I didn’t realise what was happening until someone told me they were filming.
“There were roughly 50 people wearing masks while getting into position and then the director told them to take their masks off for filming.”
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The filming for Rise of the Footsoldier: Origins comes while football fans are unable to return to stadiums of elite clubs – those in the top six tiers of English football – due to government restrictions.
Mr Shields believes supporters should be allowed to return to matches in the top six tiers of English football.
He added: “I have been an advocate of letting fans back into grounds.
“It’s important for fans and clubs alike. I was surprised to see filming allowed when supporters still can’t go in to watch a real game of football.”
The production firm behind the film was contacted for comment on whether any additional measures were put in place to make the filming safe.