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Change The Rule

By Chris Butler :  06/01/2010 :  Comments (38) :
On Saturday, Carlisle supporters were only the 2nd set of supporters that have visited GP and sat down, the other being Wigan. Every other set of supporters have had fans standing for 90 minutes.

During the start of the decade supporters were becoming increasingly frustrated with the atmosphere on football stadiums right around the country. Who would have thought that fans would chant "Shall we sing a song for you?" at grounds that used to be famed for their atmosphere? In about 2007, supporters started to stand again, mostly at away matches, and found the atmosphere was terrific. It started with about 4 clubs and ended up with most clubs catching on.

To many this isn’t an issue they understand or care about. If you watch games on TV or go to different grounds you’ll find thousands of supporters standing up for 90 minutes. West Ham regularly has around 7,000 supporters standing for 90 minutes. Manchester City also has around 4,000 that stand throughout with the support of their club. Thousands of supporters and Spurs, Sunderland and Aston Villa also stand for 90 minutes with the support of their club.

Most away supporters bar Everton and a few others sit down at away fixtures. This is seen as Everton supporters being boring and useless which in fact it’s just most people thinking about a few who chose to sit. At Wembley I sat down as it was a once if a lifetime opportunity for many that might never happen again. The only safety argument was that if a supporter was sitting down in front of you.

Supporters have numerous opportunities to go to games where they can sit. The Football Supporters Federation have taken an interest in this issue. The law is currently unfair as it all depends what club you support; Manchester City fans are allowed to stand home and away yet Everton supporters are not. I know many Liverpool supporters who are allowed to stand at away games without fear of reprisals.

Many newcomers to the game just can’t understand why supporters stand. Now Manchester United fans have adopted a mentality that supporters who don’t sing and don’t stand are not welcome at away matches, which I disagree with. Manchester United in my opinion has the best away support in England, far better than ours, and is respected wherever they go.

More and more supporters around the country are standing nowadays which is enjoyable for their passionate support. Everton also have a core group that want to but unfortunately aren’t allowed to stand at most away games and nearly all home games. Every support has a core element of supporters that prefer to stand and sing throughout the match. Sometimes I do wonder what Everton players think of our support as all they can hear are the opposition supporters chanting.

One of the worst disasters in football happened in an all-seated stadium in South Africa which contradicts the view of the authorities. The Taylor Report was a farce as nobody asked the supporters what they felt about the issue. It was a rule made by people who hadn’t stood on a terrace in their lives.

Concerts can be unsafe when people push I think that happened at a recent Oasis concert. Yet the government allows that to happen but doesn’t let supporters stand safely at football matches. There is no need to force children or those unable to stand to stand, I just think that we should be able to. While sat down, it's impossible to enjoy an event such as a concert or a football match.

The arrogance of the Triads, The Premier League, The FA, and Sky Sports to dismiss the issue and never listen to it is ridiculous. Even the prime minister said there was no problem with supporters standing.

Reader Comments

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Derek Turnbull
1   Posted 06/01/2010 at 17:52:57

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Chris, have you seen this petition?

I forwarded your email address to the person involved, I don’t know if you received any info from him? Check your spam too, sometimes emails end up in error there too.
Steve Hogan
2   Posted 06/01/2010 at 17:59:01

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’’Man Utd have the best away support in England (Oh really Chris) and are respected wherever they go’’ Respected by who exactly??

They're the most arrogant bunch of tossers I have ever come across and the anti-scouse bile is evident at every game home or away. So if they choose to stand at every away game, let them.

So Everton supporters are seen as boring because the majority choose to sit at away games instead of stand? I’m not sure where you choose to source your information Chris, but the article lacks any real substance and seems to be based on your own desire to stand at football games rather than any qualititive research you may have done.
Nick Dommett
3   Posted 06/01/2010 at 19:26:53

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Totally agree - been to a few League Two games where the noisest support has come from those standing. Also, on a cold Saturday afternoon, its always nice to be able to move around a bit...

Also don’t those seats make nice little missiles when the fans get a bit tetchy?
Chris Butler
4   Posted 06/01/2010 at 19:29:39

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Yes, Derek, I did mate. I haven’t received any lately as I think their still in talks. By the way, sorry everyone about the typo at the end of the atricle with the prime minister.
Phil Bellis
5   Posted 06/01/2010 at 19:27:53

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Just a comment (or two):
The people I grew up with in Gwladys St (2nd barrier immediately behind the goal) are now dispersed throughout the stadium; how I wish we could’ve had the foresight (and cash) to buy the block of seats.

The Chelsea Carling Cup semi in Lower Gwladys, row Q - it was 65 mins in before I realised we’d all been standing all game; no-one got hurt, it was "natural"; apart from aching legs next morning, no problem.

Kevin Sparke
6   Posted 06/01/2010 at 19:48:26

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One of the less publicised reasons all-seated stadiums became a must after Hillsborough is that football clubs and their employees either could not be trusted to tell the truth when giving out accurate attendance levels or they were simply incapable of doing so.

I’ll give you a few examples: I’ve been stood in the Gwladys Street Everton v Man Utd and have been squashed off my feet with crowd surging forward. I’ve thought we must have a near enough capacity crowd — the attendance figure when it came up — 41,000. These were the days when we had a capacity of 52,000. Now, either the other three sides of the ground were half empty or someone was telling porkies...

Another example: I went to Villa Park when Everton played Norwich in the FA Cup Semi-Final — every other lad who got in the Holt End had a forged ticket... the result, one of the worst cases of overcrowding I can ever remember... apart from the derby match against Liverpool. Where a quick witted copper avoided a disaster by opening a gate on the Kop and leading 400 or so Everton supporters along the side of the pitch — again, forged tickets and a bent gateman.

I enjoy standing during a game; have a had the privilege to stand at most league grounds — but at least with sitting there is no way you can get overcrowding either through incompetence or illegality.
Derek Turnbull
7   Posted 06/01/2010 at 20:29:57

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The latest I know on that standing area petition is that it’s a ticketing issue, and therfore it is upto Andy Ward at Everon.

It is a case of having a designated area at the back of a stand out of the way for fans to stand in front of their seat.

I believe that a problem is that Everton do not wish to displace existing season ticket holders to create an area for them.

This means that, if there is going to be an area for this, then it will have to be small and in an obstructed view area.
Tommy Gibbons
8   Posted 06/01/2010 at 21:03:01

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Chris, I’m intrigued why you would consider anybody's away support better than ours, please enlighten us. I wouldn’t be so bold as to say ours IS the best but I wouldn’t be so crass (as you have been) to suggest someone else's away support is better than ours. Is there something you're not telling us?
David S Shaw
9   Posted 06/01/2010 at 22:08:05

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Tommy Gibbons,

I would suspect that he is talking about the distinction between watching a team as a spectator and supporting a team by getting behind them vocally in order to encourage them.

I hear many people at the match say the likes of ’sit down I’m watching the match’ and have a go at supporters for singing.

They are spectators like the way one may be a spectator at a cinema, you’re not going to support the film are you, but to watch it.
Chris Butler
10   Posted 06/01/2010 at 22:14:54

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Actually, it's my FSF activties that have lead me to meet many supporters from all over England and Europe. Also, if you go to away games, it's evident in coversations in pubs before hand. I’m just writing for fans who want to... I’m not the only supporter who likes to stand.

I went to a conference in Yorkshire and visited many supporters and Manchester United supporters were naturally well represented. I never had any problems with them; we sing songs about them. To many, this issue doesn’t matter... but to a sizable minority it does.

My visits to other clubs and speaking to other supporters have lead me to belive it is a major issue. Celtic''s vocal supporters that I spoke to have been thrown out and have even walked out in protest. Everyone's different; I respect your choice and can understand it.

Dick Fearon
11   Posted 06/01/2010 at 22:15:22

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A visit to Toffeeweb is becoming more and more like a trip down memory lane. Like so many topics, this sit/stand argument has previously been battered into submission. Every angle has been covered, all that can be said has been said, In the same fashion as abusing BK this also is a dead parrot.

Hows about we all make a new years resolution to not regurgitating such stuff ad infinitum?

Chris Butler
12   Posted 06/01/2010 at 22:21:39

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Tommy Gibbons, I try to be honest as I think it would be highly biased of me to say that our supporters are the best. I’ve realised you have to be honest about what's happening. It doesn’t mean I have a soft spot for United but I can’t help to be impressed by them. They sing throughout the match.

I’m honest about when Everton have played badly or when an opposition player has played terrificly. We used to be pretty good away from home. Like who can say that Standard Liege's supporters weren’t fantastic last season? They were terrific in both legs, they were friendly but passionate supporters.

Michael Kenrick
Editorial Team
13   Posted 07/01/2010 at 02:59:10

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Dick, yours was my initial response when I started reading yet another submission from Chris Butler on his favourite topic — standing... of which I am getting pretty sick, personally, and there I do agree with you. I was not going to publish it.

However, if you care to actually pay attention and read what he’s written, there is quite a lot of new content in this one compared to Chris’s earlier efforts (three of which were held back for lack of meaningful content, repetition, and making false statements, which Chris is sadly particularly good at... he always seems to get at least one in). This will probably be his last on standing that sees the light of day... unless he can generate a new angle to it. But at least he’s trying to raise issues that may have resonance with others...

New topics always welcome... but they should be at least moderately interesting!

James Boden
14   Posted 07/01/2010 at 08:52:22

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I think I speak for many when I say that I much prefer standing. However, I fully understand the reasons for all-seater stadiums. If any set of supporters should not be standing it is the RS. Given what happened, they more than anyone else should abide by the rules.

Chris, I’m sorry though I disagree with you when you say that Man United have the best away support, far better than ours etc.... It helps greatly that, due to their success, which has been running for two decades, plus gaining many supporters through the Munich tragedy, that they have so many fans. Their lot come from here, there and everywhere. I’m not saying they haven’t got good support but given the number of supporters they have from outta town, then it makes things far easier for the club.

We take good numbers despite that we have been suffering for years and in particular this season have played a fair number of games on Sunday. And to emphasize how much greater their support is than ours — tell me why it was that we outnumbered their support, not just in Wembley but outside as well where a United shirt couldn’t be seen untill just outside the ground?

Matthew Mackey
15   Posted 07/01/2010 at 09:06:17

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I used to love standing in the Gwladys Street end when I was young, free and single. The atmosphere was electric and if we ever returned to designated areas of football stadiums where you could stand (eg Gwladys Street end) then I would probably attend more matches.

These days, now that I have two young lads, we, like everyone else, get a seat and so we sit down. Not my preferred option to view a match but all the same, a combination of having kids and getting a bit older means I don’t fight the issue of having to sit down as passionately as I used to.

But what irritates the hell out of me is the constant stand up, sit down, stand up, sit down every time the ball goes into the corner or down the line. The kids after a while grow bored and fed up of constantly having to reposition themselves.

What’s more, when everyone stands up for those few seconds in anticipation of something happening, the only way the kids can see is by standing on the actual seat which is dangerous. On more than one occasion I have had to rescue them after they have gone through the back of the seat after loosing their balance and then I end up spending the next 5 to 10 minutes comforting them and wiping the tears if they have hurt themselves sufficiently.

The point I am making here is a simple one. For fuck's sake why can’t we have a choice? Why can’t we have standing areas for those who want to stand and seating areas for those who want to sit? It’s not rocket science to safely control crowds who want to stand.

Anyone who says that all seated stadiums are the safest option are talking out of their arse. Ask my kids and look at the bruises on their legs they get everytime they are swallowed up by a collapsing seat just so that they can see the action!

Eric Myles
16   Posted 07/01/2010 at 09:46:15

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I distincly remember watching Granada reports when fencing was first introduced in the grounds. They went to Maine Road with a Safety Expert who’s comment was, these fences are going to kill someone.

I don’t think it was the standing that killed people at Hillsborough, it was the fences.

Eugene Ruane
17   Posted 07/01/2010 at 10:21:56

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"Manchester United has the best away support in England, far better than ours, and is respected wherever they go."

Sniffs bait.... Nah, not bIting THAT. You can see the hook and everything. Swims on.
Derek Turnbull
18   Posted 07/01/2010 at 11:39:30

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Michael Kenrick — your comment that this article will be the last one on this subject surprises and disappoints me. I’ve always thought that Toffeeweb provided a forum to challenge the status quo to bring about a better Everton for the club and fans. This particular subject is one that will not go away until common sense is reached by the club and the authorities.

I know of fans who have been kicked out of Goodison for standing and singing at the back of a stand who have not returned. Fans are feeling alienated due to a lack of atmosphere. Factors like atmosphere are important to some people in deciding whether to attend or not. It is a real and live issue for many.

For me Toffeeweb was always more than chip paper to entertain Dick Fearon while he has morning cup of tea, or am I wrong?
Stephen Kenny
19   Posted 07/01/2010 at 11:59:57

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Do you go the match?

The middle of the Lower Gwladys always stands for the full game. I’d also say about half of our fans will stand when we're away unless the stewards are cunts, which is quite often these days!

You also criticise Man U fans and then say they are the best in the country? Also, we usually take our full allocation werever we play so I don't know why you rate them above us?

This is a load of shite.
Mike Gwyer
20   Posted 07/01/2010 at 12:58:30

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Chris; it was a good read, opinionated but fair. Then I read:

"Manchester United has the best away support in England, far better than ours, and is respected wherever they go".

How the fuck you can say the above is beyond me. When that scum come to GP they cause more trouble and continually look at provoking reaction from EFC fans or the local police, always. Hence you will notice the early kick off times whenever we play that shower of shit.

Standing at games is obviously debateable but please do not put ManU supporters on some sort of pedestal when most are out right thugs who delight in taking the piss when entering Liverpool.
Martin Mason
21   Posted 07/01/2010 at 14:22:14

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For me, the best thing that ever happened in the realm of footy spectating was all-seater stadiums with advance ticket sales. It enabled us fans travelling long distances to get to the ground 10 minutes before the kick-off and to watch the match in a civilised manner after what I can only call in comparison the dark ages.

Everton basically lost me as a spectator when they didn’t enforce seating behind the goals and I as a paying fan had the matches ruined by people standing every time the ball came into the last third of the pitch (plus the foul mouthed morons who make it impossible to bring younger kids to the game). What a bunch of fuckwits, if everybody sits then everybody sees and singing and/or atmosphere have nothing to do with whether the fans are sitting or standing.

I’d have nothing against seeing the Boys Pen back used for those who spoil the enjoyment of others by standing in seated stadiums. My own belief is that a dedicated standing area is fine... but, until then, standers get thrown out.

Chris Butler
22   Posted 07/01/2010 at 15:32:55

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Michael, as you're the editor I will respect the rules but every time I put an article up about 85% of more agree with the issue. I accept that the Manchester United statement may have annoyed our anti-Manc brigade. Along with Aston Villa and Sunderland who home and away make a terrifc atmosphere.

Martin Mason, how about sitting somwhere else like the Park End? It's not against the rules to stand for a corner. Again, this is why older supporters and children tend not to go in the Street End. Again, the standing rule pushed working class supporters and anybody who wanted to stand and passionately support their team out.

Martin, football's a passionate game. I’m sorry if anyone was offended but I was always made welcome at Manchester United by my friends and others who were Salford born and bred. I’m sorry to Mike as I accept every support has its fair share of morons. What about the idiots that Everton have that, once entering London, start spouting racial abuse to passers by?

I’m sorry if some of my articles may not be perfect English but English is my 3rd language behind Serbian and Bosnian.

Chris Butler
23   Posted 07/01/2010 at 15:50:14

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Well I have gone to Manchester United away games and it's non stop singing from start to finish. But forget it as they are always the loudest when coming to Goodison. Aston Villa are always pretty good and Stoke are usually pretty amazing.

Everton supporters were terrific at Old Trafford this year and were a real credit. Just as I believe Stoke are the best home supporters in the country. I’m honest when Everton have played badly and when opposition players have played brilliantly like the lad from Benfica, who was out of this world.

Michael Kenrick
Editorial Team
24   Posted 07/01/2010 at 17:00:39

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Derek, Chris was I believe the first one to raise the subject on here, and pretty recently. We’ve now had three or four threads, albeit with some repetition. Chris would have us talk about this with a new thread every other day if he could... all I’m saying is it had better be interesting, fresh, and good to pass the Old Blue Whistle Test!

Chris, your English is actually pretty good, and in fact puts to shame some of our regulars who can’t even spell the names of the players they watch every week, or don’t no (sic) the basic difference between words like your and you’re; their, there, they’re... and countless other examples. But hey, that’s what I’m here for, to clean up the mess!

Just one request when you write in: try not to repeat something you’ve already said, and try not to make statements for effect that you know or suspect may actually be wrong. I guess that’s two requests, init!
Andy Crooks
25   Posted 07/01/2010 at 18:47:15

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Chris, my God you’ve done this to death. Can you not see that football has moved on?

Is it essential to stand up to support your team? Who can’t sing while sitting down? You want to drag the game back to the seventies and, while I appreciate your zeal, I think that what you advocate will lead to disaster.

Read the article about the away fan in the Park End and for fuck's sake pack it in.

Craig Harrison
26   Posted 07/01/2010 at 19:59:30

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Warning: this comment has MLS content.... As I can’t get to many games at GP, I'm a season seat holder for Toronto FC in the MLS.

In the first season, they recognised the need for standing by allowing two sections either side of the corner flag in the southeast corner to stand. The second season they expanded this to the whole area behind the south goal. Next season they added the other three corners into the standing.

My point is 99% of the people who attend TFC games don’t support TFC as their first teams, everyone from Poles to Croats, Scots, English etc attend these games. Everyone standing gets wasted and there are often "issues" with crowd control. There are about 40 cops to police a crowd of 21,000-ish, usually no horses. So TFC can have around 40% of the crowd standing with most people only showing up to watch live soccer... er, I mean football, and actually supporting other teams; what’s the problem with standing at UK stadiums?

Chris Butler
27   Posted 07/01/2010 at 20:13:33

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Andy a freind requested I wrote an article as he had done a similar issue on another Everton website. This is the final article on this issue, you’ll be relieved to hear, as I’m sick of people complaining about this issue.

At the end of the day, I’ll just have to find something else to do on my Saturdays — or nowadays usually a Sunday.

Derek Turnbull
28   Posted 07/01/2010 at 21:46:54

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Michael Kenrick 1 whether the subject is repetitive is not entirely the point though. It is a persitent problem so to brush it under the table as it’s already been discussed is not tackling the issue.

I could argue repetition on a whole host of Everton subjects on here. Are we to have just three threads questioning the board for example?

The average man does not have a large forum for his views therefore the only option to get change is via chipping away until that wall is knocked down.

I posted a similar thread on here around 9 months ago. There have been arguments over this far longer than Chris Butler realises, around 13 years to be exact when Everton went to reserved seating.

The move to reserved seating signalled the end of the singing, and Everton since then have failed to do anything about it.

We are sick of their blase attitude to fans who want to vocally support their team. If Everton do not care about us, it says to me they do not care about any of us. If that isn’t a pertinent issue, then I don’t know what is.
Chris Butler
29   Posted 07/01/2010 at 22:30:57

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Stephen, that's untrue as it was tried against Hull last season and a few people were chucked out. I don’t think I’ve repeated it. Many issues on DK were repeated over and over again. Maybe I should stick to the forums.

Why I wrote this article was to get people's views on the issue. Matthew came back with a terrifc response on the issue which I’m fully grateful for as he was honest about it. James disagreed with some of my points but gave a fair response. David also made decent points. A few people have added comments that are fair and reasonable.

I think that Martin Mason made points that were frankly out of touch. I’m sick of getting up and out of my seat every two minutes, this is a dangerosu issue. I have said at the start it’s an issue that few are bothered about. Not once have I offended anyone or made comments such as, "you're not a real Evertonian".

I accept that we all have our preferences when visiting the match. Both Manchester City fans and Sunderland supporters will stand up without any reprisals. All I’m asking is that they punish all people for standing or change the rules as currently the rule changes depending on what stadium you visit. Certain grounds stewards turn a blind eye to it.

I was also going to get an interview with the head of stewarding for Premier League grounds but if supporters feel the issue has overan its course, I won’t print it on here.

Charlie Percival
30   Posted 07/01/2010 at 23:58:54

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At the end of the day, most away fans at Goodison stand. Most Everton fans stand at away games. I think it's more of a case of If EVERYONE (or 80%) of people are doing it, then the stewards can't throw out the whole away crowd. So it's more a case of the number of fans doing it than wether it's allowed or not.

A different example here: When Eduardo scored a goal v West Ham, he went into the crowd, about 6 other Arsenal players did the same — NOT ONE BOOKING... why? Well, the Ref couldn't book all six!
Stephen Kenny
31   Posted 08/01/2010 at 10:40:59

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I didn’t ask if you're an Evertonian, I asked do you go the match? The reason I asked this is because we have an area at Goodison where our fans regularly stand. This also happens at away games.

My own opinion is that we should have standing areas in the stands behind both goals and the club should advertise these so that those who like to stand can do so. I think there is a significant amount of fans who would appreciate this. The reason I like aways so much more is that I can usually stand without much bother.
Chris Butler
32   Posted 08/01/2010 at 12:11:41

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No, I never implied you did ask me whether I was an Evertonian. I have a season ticket just to the side of the goal. Fans do stand up there for most of the second half but it still ends up with people having to stand up, sit down constantly. We stood up for the Liverpool game and it was a cracking atmosphere.

In my opinion, it’s impossible to create an atmosphere while sat so naturally supporters only sing before the match or during a moment of excitment. The problem is, it means that when we attack the Park End there's no atmosphere as nobody in the Street End is standing up.

Charlie Percival
33   Posted 08/01/2010 at 14:38:34

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Dear Michael Kenrick

Any Chance of a poll on this with different scenarios i.e behind the goal, bullens corner only etc?

Michael Kenrick
Editorial Team
34   Posted 08/01/2010 at 16:12:48

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I’ll pass your suggestion on to the Quizmaster.
Derek Turnbull
35   Posted 08/01/2010 at 20:17:51

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Stephen Kenny, the only time the Gwadys St stand is during an attack just after a big moment etc, or for a big game like a derby? Do you not agree?
Stephen Kenny
36   Posted 09/01/2010 at 08:51:07

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There is a group to the middle left of the lower where they stand for the full match. Prob bout 2-300 seats in all.
Chris Butler
37   Posted 09/01/2010 at 14:08:06

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Thats not true as I sit there, they don’t stand up the whole match.
Dennis Stevens
38   Posted 11/01/2010 at 11:41:38

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I certainly enjoyed standing for the whole match on Saturday — the snow took me back a good few years to the last time I could recall doing this.

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