Last week the British government rejected an application from West Brom to have ‘safe standing’ installed at The Hawthorns.
They sought to have ‘rail seating’ installed for next season and made the application to the Sports Grounds Safety Authority. It, however, was turned down, with a statement saying “West Bromwich Albion is subject to the government’s all-seater policy and DCMS (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport) have said they have no current plans to change their position and introduce standing accommodation at grounds in the top two divisions covered by the all-seater policy.”
It’s a decision that has been described as ‘short sighted’ as fans and clubs alike look to change the restrictions that have been in place following the Taylor Report and the Hillsborough Disaster.
It’s an issue that has the backing of Arsene Wenger, and he believes it’s something that should be brought in to help with the atmosphere inside Premier League grounds.
All jokes about the current Arsenal team aside, it’s something fans should be behind, and to have the Frenchman on board will hopefully go some way to changing the minds of those in officialdom.
Speaking at his press conference on Thursday morning, Wenger was asked if he’d be in favour of safe-standing.
“I’m in favour, personally,” he said. “I think atmosphere is much better when people stand.
The closer you are to the position of a player, the more supportive you are. Imagine if people were lying in a bed watching a game, they could fall asleep sometimes, so it’s better that they stand up.
“I think as well it’s a tradition of English football to have that. Overall, I have to say it’s much better.
“There are safety reasons why they don’t do it, and I can understand that, but if the safety is right it has my 100% backing.”
There is a petition to bring this issue to greater prominence, and it needs signatures, so if you haven’t already done so, add your name to it here.
For more on rail seating, check this out.
Get it back. We must have learnt the lessons of the past.
Sack Wenger and atmosphere improves
Signed that the other day – I live in Shrewsbury these days who are going to be installing safe standing over the next couple of months. The feeling is that more will inevitably follow but it needs the drive of fans behind it, and demonstrations of it successfully working (in Rngland, Germany have already shown it lives up to its name) before out-of-touch politicians will actually give it their backing. Standing (when you’re young and able enough to do it) is the best way to watch football and engage in most people’s eyes and making people stand in seating areas… Read more »
Well, that settles it. Wenger in. Oh, wait……
Yes, yes, yes. 100% yes. Even 5 minutes of research into Hillsborough would show you that the standing section was not to blame for the disaster. It was completely scapegoated. Dortmund has a world-renowned atmosphere due to safe-standing and Celtic have surely proved it’s feasibility and success over the last few years.. I used to go to Exeter City’s St. James’s park most weekends. It is the last ground in the English leagues with a standing section. I can honestly say the 4000 crowd in the ‘big bank’ made a better atmosphere than any ground in the country. The players,… Read more »
Anne Noyd – I agree with your comments and I love your name.
I agree but don’t think the current option of rail seating achieves a great deal. Whilst it does make standing safer by having a rail in front, it isn’t a great deal different to just standing at your seat, which is often the case in lower tier anyway. For me the standing area needs opening up much more, but with adequate barriers dividing into sections to prevent overcrowding, along with sensible capacity limits. Can’t see that happening however.
Dunno why you got thumbs down.
Sounds like decent thoughts.
Is that Charlie George in the picture?
If Celtic have installed it, are they not subject to the same policy? (Is it not Scottish law?)