Safe standing: Back to the future for football stadia?

In the past few days, League One side Bristol City have announced that they want to install ‘safe standing’, seats which can be folded back to create terracing. Already in use in grounds all over Germany such as the Signal Iduna Park in Dortmund, it could be in use for rugby games at Ashton Gate in the next few months.

However, safe standing is still outlawed in football games in England, but could it become a fixture in grounds up and down the country in the future?

Fans groups worried about sterile atmospheres in stadia throughout the leagues have called for its introduction, citing how Bundesliga clubs have benefited from using it in place or ordinary seating.


Safety first?

The implementation of safe standing might be popular with fans, but what about the clubs? With anxiety about the perceived lack of safety involved with ordinary terracing, it seems that the all-seater stadia that we see in grounds all over the country today are here to stay for a long time to come, although modern venues owe a lot to the terraces of old.

Many older fans will fondly remember packed uncovered terraces during the 1970’s, 60’s and even further back, while as recently as the early 1990’s, some grounds such as Anfield had at least some terracing.

While some all-seater grounds such as, say, the Britannia Stadium, still produce plenty of noise, others seem almost like libraries, Old Trafford being a prime example.


Looking back

A new quiz asked fans of all Premier League clubs how well do you know your team. Asking about just about every aspect of the club’s history, it may make fans wonder how their ground used to look before being covered in identikit plastic seats.

The quiz from Ladbrokes asks 10 questions, all of which are pretty difficult for the casual fan to answer correctly. Part of the clamour for safe standing could be attributed to a sense of nostalgia for the old days when standing during games was the norm.

Given how it could increase attendances and help fans enjoy the games more, it could give the game a new lease of life, attracting older fans who gave up on going to games due to the lack of standing room.


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