The quest to bring fans back has been described as two steps forward, one step back at times this summer.

Albion will review the situation today in the wake of one of those paces in the wrong direction.

Chief executive and deputy chairman Paul Barber is on the record that he would like to think some fans will be in the stands before Christmas.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has spoken of spectators returning to sporting events in October, which would be early in the new season.

But the situation seemed to take a backwards step on Friday when pilot schemes to bring back the public were cancelled.

That affected Goodwood, where plans to welcome 5,000 racegoers for their Saturday card were scrapped at short notice.

County cricket started at Hove on Saturday behind closed doors – a policy which was strictly adhered to.

One hopeful Sussex follower turned up at the 1st Central County Ground shortly before 11am on Saturday, asking whether he could buy a scorecard.

The rucksack on his back and his attire suggested he was hoping to be allowed entry after some amiable small talk with staff on the gate.

But the behind closed doors policy was enforced at Hove as it was at the Amex in recent weeks – in a relaxed and friendly but very strict manner. He did not get in.

All sporting teams need to bring back fans, from multi-million pound Premier League operations to lower-scale football and rugby clubs who charge admission and also budget for those paying to get in to then spend some cash in the bar.

But much focus will be on the Premier League.

There is regular communication between the league and the Government, through the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

But different Government departments have other agendas Chancellor Rishi Sunak is desperate to get the economy moving as soon as possible and football is a big part of that.

Equally, health departments and Public Health England are extremely cautious because they do not want to create another spike which can put the NHS back under pressure.

Headlines on the return of fans will range from positive and optimistic through to negative and pessimistic, depending on who was the last person to speak on the matter.

But no one is under-playing the importance within local communities of football from the economic perspective.

A return of fans will help smaller businesses - those who supply the suppliers.

Harvey’s are perhaps the best known of those locally as Sussex brewers who are closely associated with the classic Albion matchday.

But there are also meat suppliers, greengrocers and the rest whose operations are helped by the fact they play a role in feeding the thousands when Albion play at home.

Transport will be a key issue of the fans’ return.

The message to those of us who attended restart matches was to drive alone rather than car share or use public transport.

The Amex, while a modern stadium with so much in place to welcome back fans in a safe manner, depends largely on public transport.

That is great in many ways, not least environmentally. But use of trains, for example, could be an issue if staff are not all back at work or engineering works suspended during lockdown have not been done.

There has been an initial guideline of clubs filling stadia to 25% of capacity.

But locations and configurations of the 20 stadia vary so widely that finding a percentage which fits all is close to impossible, other than going for the lowest common denominator.

That, in turn, might mean a figure which is makes it economically unviable for some clubs to open their gates.

So then it will be back to the drawing board.

The ideal scenario would appear to be that each stadium is judged on its individual merits.

That bespoke temporary capacities are set rather than a flat rate imposed across the league.

Working models are being looked at in the hope of taking more than those two steps forward.

Fans WILL return, very probably starting at some stage in 2020.

But Johnson’s message on Friday morning seemed to move the finishing line a little further away.