Thursday, September 29, 2022

Arsenal reveal details of potential ‘Safe Standing’ implementation at Emirates Stadium

It remains to be seen whether Arsenal introduce ‘Safe Standing’ at Emirates Stadium but, as promised, following a feasibility study, they have now begun a fan consultation process.

This morning a seven-question survey was sent to ‘match-attending supporters’ (presumably season ticket holders and other regulars) to garner opinions on the practicalities of introducing areas specially designated for those who want to stand.

While the club is well aware of a groundswell of support for ‘Safe Standing’, which has been trialled at four other Premier League clubs since January, they clearly want to know what people will sacrifice to allow either themselves or others to do it.

For illustrative purposes (not an actual question), if you have a season ticket in the lower tier and don’t want to stand, but do support others doing it, would you be happy being relocated to another area of the stadium and, moreover, would you be open to paying extra because your new seat is in a more premium upper-tier area?

Prior to answering the questions, the club have outlined how they potentially see ‘Safe Standing’ working and go out of their way to clarify that it won’t increase the capacity nor will it see prices reduce. Quite the opposite.

Here’s what the introduction to the survey says:

  • Every fan standing would be allocated a designated space with a normal foldable seat behind and a safety rail installed in front, thus giving fans the option to stand and watch the game, or sit at intervals.
  • A Safe Standing place would occupy the same footprint as a traditional seat.
  • Owing to the steep gradient of the upper tier, any Safe Standing locations at Emirates Stadium would be located in the lower tier only.
  • As capacity will not be positively impacted by introducing Safe Standing, it is unlikely that Safe Standing areas will be priced any cheaper (or more expensively) than they are currently
  • If Safe Standing is introduced at Emirates Stadium, the Club is likely to be required to enforce sitting in all other areas of the stadium that are not designated as safe standing.
  • Persistent standing in areas where supporters expect to sit is problematic. It is felt that giving fans the option of designated standing areas will stop this issue from occurring, reducing tensions between supporters. It also means supporters sitting will be expected not to stand.
  • If Safe Standing is implemented for home supporters at Emirates Stadium, it will also be necessary to offer Safe Standing for away supporters too.
  • The wheelchair platforms at Emirates Stadium are positioned in such a way that they will be unaffected by any safe standing section in front of them. However, we appreciate that ambulant disability seating in front of the wheelchair platforms will be impacted and those affected would be re-located to suitable seating.
  • The introduction of Safe Standing would likely mean that we need to introduce segregation within the stadium bowl, separating designated safe standing areas and seated areas. This would result in a net loss of seats and a reduction in overall capacity.

Some have perceived the tone of the email to be purposefully negative about the introduction of ‘Safe Standing’. In our opinion, it’s an attempt to arm everyone with all the facts so that nobody is taken by surprise if and when practical measures are taken to make it a reality.

Last month, an interim report into safe standing said it had “a positive impact on spectator safety” and improved the matchday experience.

Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston called the findings “very encouraging for fans, clubs and safety groups” although he went on to add, that he will “reserve final judgement on a wider rollout until the process is completed”.

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Filip

Hello, I have completed the survey, but a bit unsure about the last questions with regards to the separation. Does that mean that the standing area will be completely cut off from the whole stadium that it won’t be possible to move throughout the stadium freely? I am asking because I live abroad and have a chance to attend 4-5 matches per season and always enjoy being there right after the opening and moving freely across the sectors to see our lads training or some old players doing interviews etc. I would like the idea of standing in the lower… Read more »

Diaby's Left Peg

That’s exactly how I read it too. Segregated home support so people presumably don’t pack out the standing section.

Five_a_Side_a_day

I recently went to the Emirates for the first time in a few years. I “sat” in the lower tier of Block D, where everyone that I could see, including me, stood. The atmosphere was great, even though we lost, but I am curious about what this plan might mean in practice. If the designated area isn’t Block D, I am not sure making its stalwarts sit down would, you know, go down well.

Diaby's Left Peg

I ‘sit’ a little further along and likewise, been standing pretty much every game for years. I wouldn’t want to move to Clock End to continue standing and don’t think those in the east or west stands should be tied to their seat during derbies.

Diaby's Left Peg

Used to be lots of heated arguments between stewards and fans trying to get people to sit, followed inevitably by “stand up if you hate Tottenham” and que whole North Bank’s back up again, then the Clock End joins in and it spreads round the ground, rather defeating the exercise… it sensibly seems to have been relaxed the last few years and caused fewer arguments, at least from where I am – which I know won’t be universal.

Filip

Hello, I have completed the survey, but a bit unsure about the last question with regards to the separation of the standing area. Does it mean that the it won’t be no longer possible to move throughout the stadium freely? I am asking because I live abroad and have a change to attend 4-5 games per season and always trying to enjoy the event by entering the stadium right as it opens and moving across the sectors to see our lads training or some old players doing interviews etc. I would like the idea of standing in the lower tier… Read more »

Pete Plum

I read it the other way so hope you’re right and I’m wrong

Johnny 4 Hats

I’m personally so happy to stand and feel it would only add to the match going atmosphere to be physically jostling with my fellow gooner. But I’d really like to see the slightly less salubrious match day experience prompting significantly lower prices. I only get to a few games a season these days, partly because it’s so, so expensive. It really has become untenable for me and my son to go to games as it’s basically a 250 quid day out. So yeah, if a standing ticket was about 30-40 quid, I would be absolutely all over this. But something… Read more »

C.B.

Agree, it won’t. Better experience at a match but at a lower price? Most businesses would charge you more if they give you something you desire. And football is a business, the more cash they get in from qualifying from Europe, making supporters happy, shirt sales etc etc the more likely they are to be successful on the pitch via better paid players.

Diaby's Left Peg

With the increase TV money, every top flight could give tickets away for free and still be making more than a decade ago…

goonerink

i think the something might be the multiple times its suggested that there wont be a financial reduction to prices as A) there is still a seat there and B) its lowering our max capacity.

The Beast

Agree completely but the survey made it pretty clear that it wont effect prices as a standing spot takes up as much space as a seated spot.

All for standing but would be even more up for a selection of more affordable tickets. My son’s gotten properly into arsenal in the last couple of years & we can only realistically do a few matches a season.

JSco

Forcing those who for whatever reason want to sit up to the upper tier and charging them an extra 400 for the privilege seems out of order to me.

Old Bloke.

I think its a great idea to have safe standing areas in the lower tier behind the goals for those that want to stand ( and most in those areas already do). The problem will be making those in the rest of the lower tier stay sitting down. Nowadays i go in the upper tier as i am getting past constantly getting up and down in my seat.

Alan Levermore

I have sat watching Arsenal since I got my season ticket in 1968. I don’t want to stand I want to sit so I can see ALL of what goes on, on the pitch! I have an added problem in that I am profoundly acrophobic. Moving to an upper tier is simply not an option for me. My overriding worry is that the entire lower tier will become standing. In which case I would have to accept the horror, fo me, of standing or stop going after some 68 years! I have completed the survey and tried to reflect this.… Read more »

Vonnie

There’s no way the whole lower tier will become standing, it’s going to be areas behind the goals.

Alan Levermore

Thank you. I hope you’re right I obviously have no problem with standing for those who wish to

Diaby's Left Peg

I hope you’re doing well and can continue watching us in person for many more years, and hopefully a few more trophies too. I’d be stunned if they made the whole lower tier standing- it’ll be either the North Bank or Clock End. I think its already pretty clear those who don’t mind standing go there and those who want to sit can go upper or East/West Stands. Is your matchday regularly interrupted by constant standing? I want to stand at a game but don’t want to stop others also seeing/enjoying too. Personally I think the idea of having one… Read more »

Holdings New Merkin

As someone who is 5ft 6 and stood at Highbury as a teenager, I can say that now in my late 40s I don’t want to stand. I have fond memories of standing, the singing, the atmosphere but alot of that was because I was young and went to football not just to see the game. All up for it to happen again but I’m not sure if the “safe” way will be the way we remembered it? Also as we get older we have a way of reducing the negatives in memories. For someone who is small, ilthere where… Read more »

Stephen

Surely the lower capacity will kill it?

Diaby's Left Peg

I’d love the idea of a standing section like at Dortmund, Celtic Park or most of the lower leagues. I’m not convinced they’ve designed the stadium for it though. But the key point of it is you can increase capacity and reduce prices, allow more and younger fans to come – what’s the point if you decrease capacity and ultimately end up charging more for the “choice” either way. (I know they said they won’t but I don’t trust corporations to keep their word anymore than I expect them to voluntarily pay taxes and wages.) Seats at the Emirates are… Read more »

Qwaliteee

Charlie Nicholas scored twice against Bristol Rovers in the Milk Cup (League Cup) at Highbury in the fall of 1984. Charlie goals were quite the rarity at the time and Arsenal were facing elimination from the competition after Rovers had scored but then Charlie saved the day and his second goal came five minutes after his first. The second was a beautiful chip from the edge of the box that curled delightfully into the net, sparking absolute mayhem on the North Bank. I was bent across a crash barrier and felt at least four rows put their weight on my… Read more »

allezkev

Clubs’ like us in seats, they like us as season ticket holders, they like getting all the fans’ dough in early during the summer, they’re not really keen on safe standing especially not if it affects the bottom line, so it won’t.

If safe-standing doesn’t increase capacity and reduce the cost then I don’t see any point to it. We all stand anyway so leave it be as I can only foresee issues between the fans and club.

Damo

Utting all this aside do they have any plans to increase number of seats at any stage? If not then surely prices will only go one way if we go down this route? But ultimately I am up for some standing areas. I often end up standing ( and feel guilty for doing so) and I tend to be much more active in my support when standing.

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