MAYBE it’s the feeling of hope walking through the turnstiles. Maybe it’s the pre-match curry. Or maybe it’s catching up with old friends seen only on a Saturday.

Football can be a huge part of a person’s life, but on a Saturday there’s so much more to it than just the 90 minutes on the pitch. It’s about the experience, the camaraderie, the escapism.

It’s about so much more than football.

Today marks one year since Alloa Athletic were last watched by a crowd.

That day, March 7, 2020, the Wasps defeated Inverness Caley Thistle, yesterday’s opponents, 2-0 at the Indodrill.

However, just under a week later on Friday, March 13, the Scottish Football Association announced all Scottish football would be suspended as the Covid-19 pandemic escalated.

Now, 365 days after that 2-0 victory, the fans who were at that game and so many others share what they miss and what they can’t wait for.

Brian Roach has been a fan since his dad took him in 1984 when he was six-years-old.

Alongside Kieren Mooney, he’s been attending home matches throughout the season as part of the club’s commentary team. However, it can’t replicate that match-day feeling.

He said: “The game’s a bit of it, but it’s about catching up with your mates, the banter beforehand and after. It’s just an excuse to rid yourself of the working week.”

Brian has a pre and post-match ritual of chatting with a friend about the game but admits it’s not the same these days.

His eyes light up when he thinks about that first match where fans are allowed in.

“It’ll be brilliant, and the away trips travelling across the country. It’ll be quite overwhelming.”

For his co-commentator Kieren, football’s a ritual for his family. He’s been attending games with his grandad and uncle, and he admits it’s not quite as good without his family beside him.

On commentating the games on his own, it’s clear he misses his family being there with him.

He said: “It’s a weird experience, you’re missing [their] normal remarks and you can imagine exactly what’ll be said at every moment.”

A Saturday normally includes a curry before the game and an early entry to catch up with the usual faces.

He continues: “It’s not a nice feeling because that’s what football’s all about, it’s been me and my grandad’s ritual and without him it just feels a little different and not quite as good.

“I do enjoy it, [but] not as much.

“Alloa score, you get excited and turn around to celebrate with your friends or family and no-one’s there.”

When fans return, whenever and wherever that’ll be, Kieren says: “It’s gonna be immense.”

Kieren’s grandad Ted Combs is 76-years-old and has been an Alloa fan for the past 65 years.

Used to attending every match with his grandson, he now spends his Saturdays watching from home listening to his voice.

Ted said: “I find it very difficult not to be spending my Saturdays with my grandson. Saturdays are…not pointless but they’re very quiet now.

“We used to go to every game, home and away. I’ve been taking him since he was at primary school. It’s quite frustrating, but it’s nice to hear his voice.”

Asked when he last missed a game, Ted pauses to think: “It must be decades ago.

“It’s almost like a family, all the people you know and chat to.

“You don’t go with anticipation of winning, you go for the day out with your grandson and to watch your team.”

Colin McKay has been an Alloa supporter since he was 10-years-old. He was in the crowd for the ICT game and now finds himself watching his boyhood team from his attic.

The STV political editor said: “You miss the social interaction that you get. When I go to games I still see people that I went to school with, and I only see them at Alloa games.

“It’s just nice to see people and see how they’re getting on. You miss catching up with people in the way you do casually at a football match.”

Football for many is a chance to switch off from the world, and it’s no different for Colin.

“You miss that feeling of hope and there’s an element of escapism about it,” he continues. “If you’ve had a really hard week at work, you know you can just switch off for an hour and a half, enjoy the football and get swept away in the emotion of it.

“That sense of relief going to the football gives you is something I really miss. I can put on a scarf and watch the game on my computer but it’s not the same as putting on a scarf and going through the turnstiles.”

John Spence, 56, started watching Alloa with his friends from school when he was 12-years-old.

He’s a season ticket holder and has done some voluntary painting around the stadium. He doesn’t mince his words when asked how it’s been without football.

“It’s been horrible,” he says. “Absolutely horrible.

“I’m getting to see the games, so I’m not missing the games but the actual bonding, being able to talk to people and have a laugh, it’s not the same as sitting in your house.”

He continued: “Just going through the turnstiles and meeting people. It’s the things like that you miss.”

With Alloa’s Championship fate uncertain, the future holds one guarantee. As soon as they’re possibly allowed, the fans will be there. Wherever and whenever that may be.