The return of Premier League football last week could be seen as something of an important milestone in this country's battle with coronavirus.

While the death figures remain at a level I admit I'm not entirely comforted by, the marked decline is sufficient for those attempting to navigate us through this crisis to suggest that it is safe, or at least safe enough, for football to be happening once again. Whether or not I find that reassuring is for a different article entirely.

The carefully planned step-by-step approach to footballers returning first to individual, socially-distant training, then to full-contact and finally competition has been well documented, but they were not the only ones resuming work last week.

I, along with a handful of others, was privileged enough to have been granted access to Vicarage Road to cover Watford's first game back and since then I've had more or less the same conversation with everyone I've spoken to.

"What was it like?" they ask. Which is understandable considering things aren't ordinary at the moment, nor shall they be for a long time, so I suppose I ought to try and explain.

Firstly, there are the big differences that have shifted the match-day experience from one filled with chaotic, nervous energy to an altogether more placid affair.

The new collection of match-day noises feels uncomfortable, while at the same time comforting in its own way. For instance, it's much easier to concentrate on filing copy without getting caught up the corybantic expressions of the Rookery End that would have surely followed Craig Dawson's instinctive contorted equaliser. However, the way the sound from each individual kick of the ball echoes around the barren stands is a far from welcome replacement.

Hornets full-back Adam Masina has said it was the "warmth" of the supporters he felt was lacking during the game, but for me it was the meaning that has been taken from the seats.

The united reaction of the crowd to each individual moment of the match is an audible illustration of how together they are in their desire for their team to succeed. Without the fans' despairing groans or gleeful approbations, the point of the game feels notably nebulous.

Obviously those supporters are still responding to the match individually and there is still a purpose, but while everyone is stuck within the confines of their living rooms and unable to come together with their extended football families, it does feel as if sport is, for the moment, existing merely as a fillip rather than the fans' primary weekend focus.

That's not to say it wasn't good to be back, however. The evening before the game I struggled to sleep with excitement and I set off earlier than I ordinarily would have to make sure I could get into the ground in good time to make the most of being one of a fortunate few, permitted to watch football as it should be watched.

My match-day routine has of course changed, as well as everything else. I now have to fill in a questionnaire to confirm that I am not displaying Covid-19 symptoms, while my temperature is also checked on arrival to back up my statement and face masks are compulsory for the entirety of our time within the stadium, just in case.

There is no longer access to pre-match meals, nor the chance to mingle with colleagues and friends from other publications to discuss one another's predictions prior to kick-off. Instead, there is a strict straight-to-seats policy in place and reporters are sat far enough apart that the experience does feel isolating, despite the fact we're all going through the same thing.

What I missed the most from the game was the mixed zone - the area in which we reporters are able to firstly discuss the game's incidents with one another in depth having filed our reports, before the players come through and offer us their opinions on what has transpired on the pitch.

This area bridges the gap between supporters and players and allows us an albeit brief chance to communicate with the team, as human beings, about football, as one might with friends. However, social distancing rules mean we are not permitted to come into contact with the players or coaching staff, so these chances for now are non-existent.

Post-match press conferences are instead conducted via video link from our seats in the ground, while player interviews are done through a Whatsapp group set up by the club's media team - and it's to their credit that they are offering even that, since they are in no way obliged to.

While it all felt a little odd on Saturday, I'm sure come this weekend when I'm back doing it all again, it will feel almost routine and, by the time we're able to return to normal, that will then take some mental adjustment to acclimatise to.

However, my overriding emotion last weekend was happiness. After all, for 90 minutes on a Saturday afternoon, I was sat in a football stadium, watching a game and writing about what was happening - my dream job since I was about 12.

While a number of other things in the world feel like they are very difficult to comprehend or discuss at the moment, it was an opportunity for me to forget about those complexities for a brief instant, and just enjoy the narrative of the game being played out before my eyes.

Subconsciously, I was of course aware that it was different and strange and I don't think I will ever truly like the experience of being sat as far from others as possible in an empty Vicarage Road, listening to the chorus of shouts from the pitch bouncing off each of the unoccupied seats.

But for now, it's the best I can hope for and for me to be offered the chance to do even that makes me feel like a profoundly lucky individual. I just wish you could all have been there to share the experience with me.