Club chairman Peter Tom has praised the “incredible support” for Leicester Tigers after playing a first home game in front of a crowd for more than 15 months.
Tigers were able to host a reduced-capacity crowd of 6,400 for the final home game of the season, against Bristol Bears, at Mattioli Woods Welford Road on Saturday.
Due to the Covid lockdown, it was the first time the turnstiles had turned since a win over Worcester Warriors in February 2020 and supporters were rewarded with an enthralling game played on a sunny summer afternoon at the home of the Tigers.
“It was great to see people back in the stadium after so long,” said the Tigers chairman.
“Everyone knows the strength of support for the Tigers and we have missed having that backdrop to our games and also the excitement created by having supporters around the stadium on matchdays.
“As Steve Borthwick said after the game, the supporters will have gone home proud of their team and we hope this is the first step along the way to welcoming a full house in support of the players and experiencing that fantastic matchday atmosphere again.”
Writing in his programme notes for Saturday’s game, Tom said: “This is the day when we finally welcome our supporters to the stadium again after 15 months of playing behind closed doors here.
“Even to get to this point of hosting a reduced capacity crowd has taken a huge effort from everyone at the club. And none of it would have been possible either without the incredible backing of our club partners, sponsors, season ticket holders and all of our supporters in these unique times.
“It is wonderful to be able to welcome you inside Mattioli Woods Welford Road again while also looking forward to the day when everyone who is still following the team from further afield can join us too.”
There is more rugby to come at Mattioli Woods Welford Road, too, with two big dates this summer.
First, Tigers stages a fixture between England A and Scotland A on Sunday, June 27 and then have the honour of hosting the Varsity Matches between the universities of Cambridge and Oxford on Sunday, July 4. Tickets are on general sale now and hospitality packages are also available.