It was probably the full-time whistle against Arsenal when the contrast hit home hardest.

Sitting in the back row of the West Upper, one imagined the scenes and sounds which would have been going on around the Amex as the 2-1 success was secured.

Well, a combination of imagining and remembering, because Albion had been there two years previously, winning 2-1 at home to the Gunners.

Though not, of course, via the sort of last-gasp goal which tends to bring the house down.

Sussex By The Sea would have been played and most people would not have wanted to leave for a while as the players took the cheers and applause.

Not this time. There were a few handshakes, then everyone down in the red zone went to the changing rooms and we logged on to a Zoom stream for a press conference conducted remotely and above the roar of the lawnmowers.

This is the reality of football behind closed doors after the 15-week halt due to coronavirus.

The new normal? That is what they are calling it and, yes, it is all new.

But it doesn’t feel normal and hopefully never will.

Fans have been missed all along. But that finale versus the Gunners was the moment when their absence was most vividly brought home.

This past week or so of covering Albion has been an education for those of us fortunate enough to be present.

And, no doubt, for those who are usually there but have been following via the media from a distance.

It is not just the empty stadia. There is so much which is different after the 105-day break and subsequent return in mid-summer.

Rising temperatures have affected the football on view.

The games have come thick and fast and it is a bit like following a summer tournament.

The first batch of matches finish on TV at about 8pm.

On a warm summer’s evening, it feels like the main fixture starting a few minutes later should be something like Colombia v Nigeria rather than Chelsea v Manchester City.

Let’s be honest, the fact pretty much everything has gone Albion’s way has put a spring in the step which was not there during tough winter months.

That can quickly change but the behind closed doors scenario is here for at least the next few weeks.

So what has it been like working in the amber zone?

Amber being the designated area of the stadium in which the media can operate.

Well that is a place where temperatures cannot soar. Not if you want to get into the stadium.

Your temperature is checked before accessing the venue and a health questionnaire undertaken and signed.

In terms of health and safety, it feels like a throwback.

Back to the days of maybe two months ago when everyone respected coronavirus and social distancing was carefully observed.

When everyone was mindful of everyone else’s space and the theoretical two metres actually meant more like five metres in practice if someone came into your vicinity.

The Argus:

Attending two matches so far, it has been interesting to see how the set-ups have differed at stadia which have a lot in common.

Both the Amex and the King Power are modern arenas set away from city centres and with enough space to have sizeable on-site car parks.

The health and safety checks have been set up very differently but have achieved the same and been carried out in relaxed and friendly manner.

As a reporter, the normal practice of arriving more than two hours before kick-off and staying behind for about the same period afterwards to work in the media room has changed.

The advice is to arrive late and leave early rather than the opposite.

The usual facilities, other than the press box itself, are closed.

Press boxes are filled to something like 20% of capacity with three or more empty seats left between reporters.

The Argus:

Albion set up improvised work stations in what are normally spectator areas around the West Upper. They looked like something you might see in an exam hall.

The matches themselves? The concentration on the game and being immersed in the action and your workload means the lack of fans fades into the background at times.

I wonder whether that is how managers and players feel.

Maybe not so the players, who can have that motivational push from the crowd when they are tiring.

It did not harm Albion at all that Leicester did not have their noisy support on their side, especially in the last 20 minutes or so.

But if you are there working - and it is hectic with only one employee per organisation permitted - the absence of fans goes to the back of your mind for long periods.

The difference is more noticeable watching on TV. Games have lacked the cut and thrust you normally expect.

Biased, maybe, but I would suggest Albion v Arsenal was probably the closest that TV audiences have had so far to the real thing.

The crowd sound effects? Full marks for trying but personally I am not a fan.

If possible, I watch or listen without the canned cheering.

TalkSPORT had polite applause at full-time when Aston Villa lost at home to local rivals Wolves to slip further into relegation danger. Really?

A lot of people are working very hard to make the matches we are seeing possible while keeping everyone safe and their efforts are appreciated.

The level of planning by the Premier League and the clubs is impressive and it takes a lot of organisation and effort to put it all into practice.

I enjoyed the challenge of maintaining some level of coverage while there was no football.

But I have enjoyed the last couple of weeks more. There have been reasons for that.

The fact we have been football starved for 15 weeks. The favourable results so far for Albion.

The warm weather and, at the Amex, the chance to view from a new perspective in the back row have been pluses.

It’s great to have matches to write about and, of course, it is helping keep people in jobs. But it does not feel quite like the real thing.

No one around here wants Albion to be relegated anyway.

But it would feel worse, maybe even unjust, if it were to happen in these strange circumstances.

For many reasons, the fans are being missed.

And that Neal Maupay moment against the Gunners brought it home.