football

‘It’s improved the atmosphere’: how fans feel about safe standing


It has been a change that some fans have been waiting a generation to see. For others, the experience of standing in a crowd to watch a football match is entirely new. After the first matches in a trial of safe standing at five grounds in England and Wales, two supporters share their perspective on the pros, cons and possibilities

Ben Murdoch, J Stand, Old Trafford

I remember standing before all-seater stadiums were introduced. I earned my stripes on the Stretford End and safe standing feels different. It’s not the same mass of heaving humanity as it was. Before it was just a free-for-all and now, essentially, you’ve got a seat. I don’t think you will get the same kind of roar as you did in the olden days. You probably can’t recreate the same atmosphere but in some ways that is a good thing as it could be dangerous sometimes.

I prefer being able to stand at football as you feel like you can get more involved in the match. Barrier seats have been in for a while and there were signs warning us not to stand. People were standing anyway but at least now you don’t have to be apologetic about it. Previously if there was someone near you who wasn’t standing you might feel you were in their way.

Safe standing will help improve the atmosphere at games and the connection between fans and the team. If you’ve got an area that’s creating a noise throughout a match it does trickle out across the ground so I would think there’s a chance it could be extended. Everyone in the J Stand applied for a season ticket knowing that was the area where safe standing was going to be and I’m pretty sure those in the Red Army section near the tunnel would welcome it.

Since the club started engaging with supporters on this there has been a definite improvement in the atmosphere, especially when you take in the quality of the football.

Biren Shah, South Stand, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium

When there’s a goal and you’re standing it’s brilliant because everyone joins in. It’s like a family thing. Everyone’s full of life and loving it.

I started going to Spurs in 2007 as a seven-year-old so I don’t remember terraces.

I’ve read a lot about how football used to be though. People could stand where they like so it seems a lot safer now, a lot more controlled.

I think the demand for safe standing will grow because people will realise that fan support during games directly affects the performance of the team on the pitch. Once they see how much it improves the atmosphere in stadiums and the impact that has on the players I think eventually all ends of the ground could have safe standing.



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