Arsenal will continue to explore their options when it comes to implementing ‘safe standing’ at Emirates Stadium but following the results of a recent supporter survey on the subject, the club have underlined that the process is complicated and likely to be expensive.
More than 16,000 match-going fans completed a questionnaire earlier in the summer and the headline numbers reveal that 70% are in favour of licensed standing being introduced.
The head-scratcher for the club is that only 40% actually want a seat in a safe standing area.
As a result one of the biggest issues is coming up with a process for re-locating season ticket holders in the lower tier who don’t want to be in a safe standing area.
It’s going to be a touchy subject.
Not only are small pockets of friendly supporters likely to be broken up, there’s also the issue of finding them a new place to sit in the stadium, presumably in the upper tier. You’ve also got to factor in what price people pay if they move from a lower bracket seat to a higher bracket seat because of a diktat from above. If you let them continue paying their existing rates, for how long? And is that fair on others in seats of a similar calibre?
Like we said, it’s complicated.
Arsenal have also explained that they don’t want / won’t be allowed any movement between seated and standing areas and that they are investigating the impact of physical barriers inside the stadium concourse and within view of the pitch.
At the moment, the club can, to a certain extent, plead ignorance when people enter the stadium in one section and immediately head to Block D where they congregate with others who choose to stand (illegally) throughout matches.
If things are licensed, they’re presumably going to get a ticking off if the flow of people isn’t marshalled properly. Standing will only be for those with safe standing tickets.
Arsenal have also reiterated that safe standing will not increase the capacity at Emirates Stadium and may well do the opposite. They also draw attention to the significant costs involved.
Today’s update came within minutes of the UK Government confirming that licensed standing will now be permitted after a successful trial at five early adopter grounds – Cardiff City, Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United and Sp*rs – between 1 January and 1 June 2022.
I’ll take a seat and observe what stands out throughout the process.
Surely they could just look at Celtic, that first introduced it in Britain, to find out what they did. I dont remember any acrimonious issues with its introduction there?
While I have sympathies with the issues, surely they are no different to those experienced by other clubs ? Perhaps we have a higher percentage of season ticket holders than others (but I doubt it). How have they resolved these issues?
The biggest problem for Arsenal is that the stadium was so explicitly designed to be an all-seater. If you look at the that lots toilet bowl, the designers were able to learn the lessons from the Emirates so, steeper rake and a big stand on one end that’s an obvious candidate to be converted to licenced standing. You can sort of go down the list of stadiums where it will work (Anfeild just convert the Kop they mostly stand anyway) and is going to be a big problem (The London stadium, designed for the Olympics so 100% an all seater… Read more »
The irony being that when a chance is looking especially likely to result in a goal everyone is up and out of their seat anyway. I used to love standing on the North Bank at Highbury, but as someone who nearly had his ribs crushed on a barrier in 1984 (thanks Charlie, lovely goal against someone in the Milk Cup) I empathised when the Taylor Report post-Hillsborough deemed that all-seater stadia was the way forward. As Andrew Allen has pointed out, there will be an awful lot of see-you-in-a-fortnight friendships that are going to be ruined – but I guess… Read more »
Where I sit in the north bank we literally stand the whole time anyway, especially the big games. Makes sense to bring back standing. At least I can do it legally then!
If ‘safe standing’ isn’t going to increase the capacity and allow more people into the stadium then I see absolutely no point in implementing it.
Everyone stands in the lower tiers as it is and the stewards are fine about.
And that is why i am a tv watcher. No stress about standing, sitting or being moved or losing friends… Those are 100% the reasons…
Not the fact that i don’t live in england….or don’t have friends to go out with .. ;-P
Hope they sort it out without any drama and that everyone can watch in peace
Haven’t sat down in block c for 15 years 👌🏽
I stand in the Tollington but that got flooded a few days ago
Can see it from both sides.
Why should a season ticket holder in a lower tier be forced to not only move seats (they may have reasons for wanting the lower tier, aside from financial) to the upper tier and incur additional cost to their existing season tickets.
Similarly, why should someone in a higher priced seat, have to pay more than someone next to them who has had their seat reallocated at a lower cost than they are potentially paying.
Less people in the ground doesn’t sound great either.
I think the biggest issue is that standing areas offer a reduction in capital and future income. That’s a tough sell, and a very expensive one at that.
The Grove wasn’t designed with future capacity expansions in mind.
Pitch invasions, racism, drug-taking at games, flares… We’ve sorted all that out so “Safe” standing is exactly what football needs now. Good thinking.
Having filled out the survey I will admit to being someone who declared themselves in favour (70%) but not said I want a seat (40%). The reason for this was that the survey did not explain with any degree of clarity why movement between different areas of the stadium won’t be allowed. As someone who regularly meets quickly pre game with people who sit separately in the stadium, I didn’t want to miss this. As stated here, the latest announcement still leaves us in the dark as to whether segregation is believed to be a legal requirement or something the… Read more »
I expect it’s because even standing areas have capacities for safety and insurance reasons and exceeding those could be dangerous and land the club in a lot of strife. The license stipulates how many can stand and if people move unimpeded to the standing area the limit will be exceeded and the club vulnerable.
Also vast empty seating spaces, where those allocated a seat have gone to stand, looks shite.
Minefield isn’t it?
Probably obvious but why would lower tier relocations go to the upper tier? Is the lower tier already full of season tickets, or is it that the club are trying to avoid that happening?
As others have said I wonder how the other clubs handled it. Also I wonder how many safe standing seats the current unofficial standing areas would give us – presumably the vast majority of season ticket holders there won’t require new seats.
As a season ticket holder who took the survey and voted in a “head-scratching” manner, here’s my rationale: I believe that standing sections would improve the atmosphere inside the ground, and besides, in some areas, like blocks 7-10, most people are standing anyway. However, I don’t want to stand all the time, and as someone who has been in the same block in the North Bank lower for 9 seasons, I like the people around me, and I don’t want to give up my seats for more expensive ones, especially if it would involve moving to the upper tier with… Read more »
I’ll be royally fucked off if I got shifted to the upper tier graveyard. If we are not increasing capacity then what’s the point of it?
When we moved to the new stadium the stewards were very quick to tell anyone standing to sit down. Over the years they have given up with most of the lower tier particularly behind the goals where most people stand anyway. So effectively we already have unofficial standing areas and they seem to be safe as they are.
There’s too much mothering around this issue. Let people stand FFS, it’s not all that dangerous. I also support Union Berlin, only 1/4 of our stadium’s sides/ends is seated. For previous UEFA matches we’ve had to go to Hertha’s soulless Olympiastadion, and it feels like cheating on the love of your life.
Standing makes the Atmosphere in the ground !! We have great staff and safe routes out of the stadium ! Remove all the seats in the lower N Bank and give the fans what we want ! Terraces