I prefer to sit down at football matches. I stand up for the exciting bits but I don’t want to stand for the whole game. However I think that fans who want to stand up should be allowed to do so and I’d rather they stood in a designated standing area than in front of me. (At away games I always seem to end up standing behind very tall men, waving their arms around.)
The Football Supporters Federation (FSF) reported today that Leeds United are the 23rd club to formerly back their Safe Standing Campaign (click here for the link.) This means that the campaign is supported by a quarter of the 92 clubs making up the Premier League and Football League.
It was the Taylor Report that recommended that teams in the top two tiers should have all-seater grounds. It was proposed as a means to control football hooliganism rather than as a safety issue; it was thought that seats combined with CCTV would make it easier to identify trouble makers. The Hillsborough disaster was not caused by standing; it was due to an unsafe ground, inadequate planning and police incompetence. If you want to know the details, read chapter 4 in The Beautiful Game? by David Conn. Many fans were against the abolition of standing areas because they feared that ticket prices would rise. Their fears have proved to be well founded.
Fans who support the Safe Standing Campaign do so because they feel standing helps to create a better atmosphere and could provide a cheaper option for those who can’t afford today’s inflated ticket prices. And I believe that fans should have a choice so that the young and vigorous can stand and wave their arms around while the old folks like me sit down in another part of the ground.