Saturday, May 25, 2024

Wenger: West Ham trouble hurts safe standing return

Arsene Wenger says English football’s chances of introducing safe standing to Premier League terraces is suffering as a consequence of the regular crowd trouble at West Ham United’s home games.

The Hammers have struggled to keep rival fans separate since moving to their new home at the former Olympic Stadium with Chelsea fans complaining that coins and chairs had been thrown in their direction during Wednesday night’s EFL Cup game.

Asked about the situation at his pre-Sunderland press conference, Wenger stressed that he doesn’t feel hooliganism has returned but noted it doesn’t look great when arguing in favour of such an emotive issue as standing at games.

“I’m surprised [by the scenes], even more than I’m disappointed. West Ham has usually a very strong fan base, very motivated. As well we are not used in England to face this kind of problems anymore.

“Personally, I’m in favour of the resurgence of standing opportunities behind the goals and that [the trouble] is not a very good advert to come back to standing opportunities for people in the stands. I’m surprised and hopefully West Ham will get rid of the problem very quickly.

“Yes, of course [it’s a setback for safe standing]. It’s against completely and gives an argument to the people who are against it.

On whether he feels games could be played behind closed doors as a punishment for teams who fail to control their supporters, Wenger noted: “No, there is nothing more dull than that. I prefer not to play, than play games behind closed doors.”

Arsenal have repeatedly hinted that they would be in favour of introducing a standing area at the Emirates should the game’s authorities be persuaded that it can done safely. Across Europe – most recently at Celtic – club’s have created standing areas using versatile rail seating.

“I believe the closer you are to the position of the players, the more passionate you are,” added Wenger.

“As well, it would allow us to have lower prices. You could get more spectators inside the stadiums and a more passionate atmosphere.

“I don’t believe there is a problem with hooliganism in England. You cannot say that one minor incident, I’ve heard it’s about 200 people [involved], is a general problem in the country.”

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Was not even aware of that discussion until now but that would be awesome. On your toes, singing, as it was meant to be. 🙂


It’s been going around for a little while. There is a resistance from a few clubs – chiefly Liverpool (completely understandable) but studies have shown that it’s much safer than standing in seated areas, which does occur frequently. And of course the Hillsborough tragedy was shown to be down to criminal negligence from the police rather than terracing, and so the Taylor report is completely flawed. It definitely would be great to have its return.


I am not sure that the Taylor report is completely flawed as the old terraces were always a potential risk when filled to capacity, especially for children. There may have been error at Hillsborough by the police, but all seater stadiums are on balance much safer, and we should not be considering taking a step backwards.

Inspector norse

It may not be completely flawed but it is flawed as all fuck though. It seems to be a general tardiness in english football it seems to be coming in late in a lot of to me important issues for example the safe standing areas have been around for decades now. And off course the report was flawed corrupt and evil so keeping allseated stadiums based on that report is pretty…pretty…pretty stupid.
It should be done before english supporter culture is killed dead completely, and it lies in it’s bed looking very weak right now clearly dying.


Issue at hillsborough was combination of factors that you’d not find in modern standing areas. Old pens at capacity were, as you say, always dangerous. Modern standing areas are more tightly controlled in terms of numbers per area and designed to allow free entry/exit.
There is also a reasonable argument to be made that fans standing in seated areas is dangerous and often irritating for other fans.


There may have been error by the police at Hillsborough? Sweet mercy, read any book on it or talk to anyone who went to football in the 70 s and 80s. The police were utterly incompetent but since they were simply tools of the establishment charged with keeping down the ugly masses they were allowed to get away with it. Sorry to get political but your statement is just ignorant and facile.


I don’t think we will ever get rid of Hooliganism in football which is the sad honest truth. There are still far too many ‘fans’ that think its totally acceptable behaviour to get in brawls in and around football grounds just because its ‘pwopa nowwhty’ These ‘pwopa geezas’ all start off their Saturday mornings by snorting fat slugs of ‘nose bag’ before they’ve even had breakfast – then on goes the Stone Island ‘clobber’ and then they’re off to live out their sad lives pretending to be the characters that Elijah Wood and Danny Dyer portrayed in those truly awful… Read more »


Obviously an emotive and sensitive issue, but I would love to stand again. I remember my fist match, arriving on the terrace at Highbury at 1pm to stake a place, atmosphere building for an hour before kick-off as others did the same, every player having his name sung during the warm-up… no wonder the atmosphere was electric by the time the game kicked off. Just doesn’t happen anymore. I seem to remember Highbury being rejected as an FA Cup semi-final venue pre-Hillsborough due to its absence of perimeter fences, then promptly re-enlisted for the exact same reason post-Hillsborough.


Measured, intelligent response. A less classy manager might have used it as an opportunity to stick the boot into West Ham and Chelski


“I don’t believe there is a problem with hooliganism in England.”
Maybe because Arsene doesn’t have to walk up and down the High Road from Seven Sisters to the hole.


That’s not a problem with English hooliganism, that’s a direct consequence of having the misfortune and subsequent frustration of supporting a sh*t team that even in their very best seasons, still can’t finish above us.


Of course it’s a problem with English football. West Ham, Millwall, Chelsea, Stoke, Cardiff all still gave hooligan elements. Just because the people I described come from n17 doesn’t make them a special case.


Also the problem of West Ham is the offical Twitter of the club. Three times, at least, they have claimed out of the blue that Payet is better than Mesut (which is laughable, but well… btw, i’m French and also watch the games of the national team…). This is not the behaviour a club must have via its offical social networks. If officially the club behave like as*****, no wonder the fans do the same.


Yeah, truly one of the biggest challenges football faces these days is shit Tweets from football clubs official accounts


Useles to sound ironic, arseblog… I just report a fact that upsets me regarding the way officially a club treats our players. But if you don’t mind, it’s OK.


These problems are the same problems the world over, in all sports. Wankers are wankers, wherever you go. A few clubs here in Australia are renowned for it, but it’s the same few hundred out of tens of thousands.

Crash Fistfight

Yes, exactly. 200 out of 60,000 is 0.3% of the attendees. I wonder if idiotic hooligans realise how their actions set them apart from 99% of the other reasonable people.


Where does the number of 200 come from? If you think what happened was down ton200 people I’m afraid you’re gravely mistaken. Running battles inside and out don’t come about withb200 people.


Can you show me a single photo of running battles inside the stadium? The segregation line would have to be broken in order to have a battle of any kind….. and that simply didn’t happen.


I would have thought it had improved the chances of safe standing as wouldn’t be any chairs for these maniacs to throw surely?


News Hound, the article picture has a guy teasing Ozil about his eyes, out of jealousy about Ozil vision of the game I suppose.


As arseblog said (approcimately… 😉 ) :
“Yeah, truly one of the biggest challenges football faces these days is the way fans treat our players from the stands.”


Sad though it is, I don’t believe standing is coming back, safe or otherwise. First sniff of trouble and it would take the blame. Also, god knows how much they would charge. If I recall, before they put the seats in, and when the north bank was a mural, it was £8 to stand in the clock end. With inflation since the early nineties, you are probably looking at a standing ticket for £29,000.


For the millionth time……..


Don’t fall for the witch hunt that is going on against West Ham. No lines of segregation were broken, no fights took place, no-one got within ten feet of an opposing fan. Yes of course we have some idiots but every club does including Arsenal. One seat was broken at West Ham – how many were broken at the north London derbies last season? Google shows quite a few. Chelsea fans started pouring out of the stadium so we gave them the usual ‘cheerio’ song. The threw a load of coins and we returned them. Other than that, there was… Read more »

Doug Cole

I think you’d agree that things are not off to a great start at the new stadium though, no?

Parisian Weetabix

“no?” Santi is that you?


You are correct that the move could have gone much better. The few scraps that have happened at almost every game use to happen at Upton Park. The difference is that we are attracting media attention this year. I don’t use Twitter but this was a good summary from an Arsenal fan: Keenos ‏@KeenosAFC Oct 27
A few fans throwing coins at each other makes more news than 43 officers being injured, 450 arrested & 5 stabbed at Notting Hill Carnival


And so the revisionism begins….

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