Evertonians support safe standing

Friday 3 February 2017  28 Comments  [Jump to last]

In late 2016 Everton Supporters Trust took the decision to survey their members and the wider Evertonian fan-base on the subject of Safe Standing. Safe Standing is an incredibly divisive and contentious issue in modern football especially on Merseyside, however 2016 has seen some major shifts in opinion with the successful introduction of a Safe Standing section north of the border at Celtic Park and a number of Premier League Clubs discussing the possibility of introducing sections to their own stadia.

Over 1400 Evertonians took the survey that was conducted both online and on a one to one basis from EST's stall in St Luke's Church before the home matches against Swansea and Manchester United. Of those that took the survey an incredible 90% believe that a Safe Standing section should be introduced at Goodison Park or a potential new build stadium, and 92% agreed that supporters should be given the choice of whether to sit or stand when attending a match.

EST Chair, Simon Magner said: "EST conducted this survey in an attempt to get as many thoughts and feelings of Evertonians on a subject that is an incredibly emotive subject for football fans on Merseyside. The response to the survey was incredible, the fan-base has spoken and the results speak for themselves."

"There is clearly a growing appetite nationally with similar results from similar surveys conducted by fan groups and Supporters Trusts up and down the country."

"Everton Supporters Trust are encouraged by the attitudes of Club officials with regards to Safe Standing. At the Clubs recent General Meeting one of our members was able to ask a question to the Chairman Bill Kenwright on Safe Standing and his response was that supporters would be consulted fully. We have already started that process by asking our members and the wider fan-base their opinions on the issue and over 90% agree that a Safe Standing section should be introduced at Goodison Park or a potential new stadium, and that fans should be afforded the choice between sitting and standing when attending the match"

Based on recommendations made in the Taylor Report in the aftermath of the Hillsborough disaster, regulations were introduced in the 1989 Football Spectators Act which required all football grounds to become all seated. However, since the Hillsborough Inquest results in early 2016 perceptions of standing at top flight football matches has notably changed. 

Everton Supporters Trust now intend to provide Everton Football Club with the results of the survey and hopefully continue the process of meaningful and constructive consultation over the introduction of Safe Standing with the Club, City Council and MP's, whose support would be needed to pass any legislation that would be required to allow standing sections back in stadiums in the top two tiers of English football. 

The results of the survey and the full report can be found here: https://www.scribd.com/document/338253357/EST-Safe-Standing-Report-2017


Reader Comments (28)

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Habib Erkan Jr
1 Posted 03/02/2017 at 13:53:35
I have the good fortune to have watched football matches in stadiums all over the world and even at 60 years old I can emphatically state: It is better when you stand!!!
Erik Dols
2 Posted 03/02/2017 at 14:22:02
I can agree with Habib. As voiced before I watch a lot of football inside grounds, all over the western part of the continent. In nearly all leagues standing is allowed and safe standing areas are available. In most stadiums they enhance the atmosphere greatly.

I dare to go even further: the big 60k+ all-seater stadiums I visited seem to lack a bit of atmosphere. Old Trafford for example could be an intimidating ground, even when converted to all seats in the mid-nineties. But after the expansions to the current state, it never rocks as a whole. Same goes, for example, for FC Barcelona. I can advise everybody to visit them once, but do not expect to get blown away by 90,000 fans singing.

Now those are both clubs that rely heavily on tourists and foreign fans, I admit that. But one could say the exact same for Bayern Munich. Capacity is comparable to Old Trafford, but the atmosphere can be downright brilliant. I think the large standing area, where locals buy a season ticket on the cheap, is the main factor.

Or see Borussia Dortmunds stadium. 85k and a lot of visitors on a day trip every single game, but boy, can it rock.

I can assure anyone who has doubts about it that the standing areas in countries like the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium are really safe. I cannot recall any incident since the early nineties that can be related to unsafe standing. It's just no issue over here, really.

For France, I think all-seaters are forced by law, I cannot remember standing areas on the highest level.

In short: standing, yes please!

Colin Glassar
3 Posted 03/02/2017 at 18:03:36
Standing any day. If you want to sit go into the stand if not, bring back the terraces. It's a question of choice and both preferences should be respected.
Mike Gaynes
4 Posted 03/02/2017 at 18:05:45
Personally I like watching games in the prone position, but that's just me.
Dermot Byrne
5 Posted 03/02/2017 at 18:20:37
In the end, you feel a bit daft singing when you're sat down. And I have never thought it that safe when a load of fans all stand up in seated areas.

The current law was based on a very understandable reaction to Hillsborough but I think the reaction was flawed. I think most of us could see the sense of it.

Thankfully there have been loads of crowd control lessons learned now so see no reason safe standing should not come back. In fact it is just a matter of time.

My only concern is what happens when close contact gets in the way of selfies or posting on TW!

Peter Carpenter
6 Posted 03/02/2017 at 20:15:46
In the early eighties, there were times when you could lie down in the Gwladys Street and still see the game.
Jay Tee
7 Posted 03/02/2017 at 20:34:51
Is this "Evertonians" everyone with a season ticket or just some or maybe friends in the Pub?

If standing is allowed, where do those under 6 foot and children with their taller fathers go to see the game? Also, for those who say they should go to the seated areas, why should they give up a seat/view they may have held for many years?

Sorry, I do not back standing up in the current ground but accept the current arrangements where people now stand when excited.

Lastly, more singing because you are standing does not wash. Lack of singing at Goodison is due to having very few decent chants after years of virtual silence. Home teams should be allowed to play songs through the tannoys to get the singing started.

Sorry, keep things as they are until new stadium is built and then fans can have a proper choice of seats or standing.

Andy Crooks
8 Posted 03/02/2017 at 20:38:28
I will accept that I am an old fogie here. I accept that I am the wrong one here, but...

I think that standing at football games is a throwback to an awful time and is dangerous. People who stand on their seats, or in fact just stand when they have a seat, really annoy me. In fact, many years ago at a ub40 concert at Sterling castle I was removed by stewards for fighting with people who stood up and blocked my view by dancing.

I have cheered, roared and clapped, really hard, at Everton games but I have never sang a song, to do so would make my ears go red with embarrassment. Nor could I ever, at my age, wear a shirt with a players name on it.

I am in a, I suspect, very small minority. I would like to be different but, while I love being at a game with a magnificent atmosphere, I like others to create it.

Seriously, I do have concerns about standing at games. I honestly think that all seating was a major achievement for football.

Dermot Byrne
9 Posted 03/02/2017 at 20:39:19
Agree for new stadium rather than Goodison. Goodison would fall down if we tried anything major!
Colin Glassar
10 Posted 03/02/2017 at 21:22:56
Why always use the short-arse argument against standing? Or, how will the kiddies see? Don't you think the Germans have solved this problem?

It's completely safe and everyone gets a decent spec. Bloody hell if you want to sit down like a ventriloquist's dummy go and watch cricket or tennis.

Mike Gaynes
11 Posted 03/02/2017 at 22:14:39
Andy, I'm a fogey (fogie?) too, and there's a cure for that... embrace it, strut it, cast off the inhibitions.

I wore a jersey with a player's name on it to lunch yesterday. A hockey jersey with a massive Indian head on it, no less. The waitress, one-third my age, thought it looked hot. Even tried on my hat and took a lap around the room.

Revel in your fogeyhood.

John Raftery
12 Posted 03/02/2017 at 22:43:54
I think we should forget the label 'safe standing'. Instead we should use the term 'rail seating' which more accurately describes the model used in countries such as Germany.

Designed with safety and comfort in mind as well as being conducive to a better atmosphere, rail seats are considerably safer than the current arrangements especially in the away sections, where the laws concerning persistent standing are honoured more in the breach than the observance.

Mike Green
13 Posted 03/02/2017 at 22:44:04
I've stood on terraces and sat in stands, and understand the pros and cons of both. I haven't stood in, or even seen safe standing areas but have a hunch I'd find them a bit of a let -down to be honest.

Terraces weren't built to create atmosphere, they were built to get as many in as possible and the atmosphere was a by-product. I don't think you could create the same thing again – thank God, for many reasons – but, in my experience, comfort, safety and atmosphere don't necessarily go hand-in-hand at football matches.

Robin Cannon
14 Posted 03/02/2017 at 22:54:58
I assume that any implementation would include the ability to easily convert standing areas to seating for European matches (as the likes of Borussia Dortmund do).

I don't hugely care on a personal level. I think memories of standing are often glorified. Sometimes it was great, sometimes it was shit. The same goes for sitting at games.

Standing will not, in itself, bring back atmosphere. Standing needs to be affordable and accessible. The big German clubs don't have an amazing atmosphere just because they have standing areas. They have an amazing atmosphere because the vast majority of their tickets are priced to be affordable to the common fan.

So if we do move towards safe standing, let's make sure it's with the clear drive to make it affordable.

Colin Glassar
15 Posted 04/02/2017 at 08:20:57
Good point about the correlation between ticket prices and atmosphere Robin. Like you said, the common man has been squeezed out of going to football matches by high prices.

Crowds are now made up of hard-core fans, out-of-towners, package-tour groups and the prawn-sandwich brigade who are there to be seen but not heard.

I doubt the atmosphere of the old days will ever come back but standing could allow a new generation of poor Blues to get a chance to see their team on a regular basis. The regulars at Goodison need a kick up the arse anyway as sometimes it resembles a Presbyterian church service.

Dennis Stevens
16 Posted 04/02/2017 at 09:05:28
I'm also an old fogey & have been successfully standing from an early age. I prefer to stand at matches & gigs, & very much resent being obliged to sit through laws that have nothing to do with football.

It's not the seats that are safer but the controlled access to seating areas in predetermined numbers. The same number of people standing in the same area is just as safe, particularly so with the use of the rail seating system.

The introduction of all-seater stadiums was, to my mind, no more than a tacit acceptance of the police propaganda that held the supporters responsible when, in fact, they were culpable on many fronts for the tragedy of Hillsborough.

James Byrne
17 Posted 04/02/2017 at 09:16:53
I've been sitting in the Park End for the best part of 10 years and all I do is spend the whole 90 minutes standing up and down letting kids go past to get drinks, food, toilet etc. Even some adults just can't keep fucking still for 15 minutes at a time! I really wonder why some people bother going the game.

I'm all for kids going the game but the intro of the 䀋-a-year season ticket for kids has exacerbated this problem and hasn't been properly thought through by EFC in my opinion.

I'm all for standing and this should definitely be included in any new stadium plans in the future.

Mike Berry
18 Posted 04/02/2017 at 12:08:07
Sit down and have your own space, with tickets prices you deserve as much.

Standing is from the past and not a move forward, and for the pie queue!

Kevin Jones
19 Posted 04/02/2017 at 12:28:00
Well this Evertonian certainly doesn't. Being 5'-4" although perfectly formed, isn't conducive to standing up. Get in early, stand there for half-an-hour then some lanky streak of piss... well, anyone over 5'-6" really, comes and stands smack bang in front, fuckers. Very frustrating especially when you can't fight either.
Terry Underwood
20 Posted 04/02/2017 at 12:29:54
Standing in a season ticket area would be able to restrict numbers; if proper barriers were installed, safety should not be an issue.

I will confess to having had a few hairy moments on steep terraces, but would still prefer to stand at matches provided safety was improved.

Oh yeah, almost forgot, I would also need to grow another leg.

Peter Howard
21 Posted 05/02/2017 at 01:30:59
If the best opposition to standing is from someone who admits you to attending a UB40 concert then it's terraces all the way for me.

Anyway, back to my red red wine...

Daniel Joseph
22 Posted 05/02/2017 at 09:19:59
Had great times as a Streetender in the middle swaying and singing back in the day, with my Blue & White scarf wrapped around my wrist. Wherever I started out, I never ended up. I often found myself in a heap on the floor with a few other Blues piling on top.

I realise that the new safe standing wouldn't be anything like that – GOOD! For me, it's a seat now and will remain so.

Peter Morris
23 Posted 05/02/2017 at 21:43:56
We are where we are and have been for nearly 30 years, having lived with the good and bad of all-seater stadiums, so any proposed changes will need to be very sensitively thought about, particularly in this city.

I'd love some sort of 'safe standing wall' to find a legitimate place behind one of the goals at our new home. We could turn it into the best stadium for atmosphere in the country – but only if there are no major objections from the Hillsborough families in particular.

Alan McGuffog
24 Posted 05/02/2017 at 21:50:07
Daniel, Spot on. That sort of behaviour was of its time. Its time was a long time ago. It's highly unlikely we shall ever go back!
Andy Crooks
25 Posted 05/02/2017 at 22:03:36
Peter H, honest, my girlfriend made me go.
Len Gowing
26 Posted 05/02/2017 at 22:30:52
James (#17),

If it wasn't for the 䀋 for kids season ticket, myself and I'm sure a 1,000 others wouldn't have rediscovered our love for the game. I became so indifferent to how we did in the 90's and early 00's that the results so didn't matter. However, to indoctrinate my newborn with the path of righteousness, I started to revisit my own childhood of Latchford, McKenzie & George Wood and now I wouldn't have it any other way.

We've been season ticket holders in the family enclosure now for 4 years. My son's favourite sound in the world is the noise made when we are attacking the street end and the cacophony of seats being released from their behinds as people stand to stretch and see what is about to unfold as Coleman/Baines make their way to the corners.

All very romantic, but I cannot see how "legal" standing is going to improve the atmosphere in any respect. I can recall the nostalgia of being carried along in the sway of the crowd, but I can also remember lots of other things that aren't quite as romantic, bruising to my ribs along with other issues that I don't care to recall.

Let the kids see the game, remember why seating was introduced, and don't use standing as a way to improve the atmosphere. If it were to happen, 80% of the ground would still be seated. Let the action on the pitch drive the fans – not vice verse.

Eddie Dunn
27 Posted 05/02/2017 at 22:36:19
I think it would be okay to use a section of the St End for a safe standing area. Back in the '70s and '80s, I enjoyed the madness on the Gwladys Street and the Park End Terraces – even the Enclosure could be bouncing, when the Park End was off-limits.

If a couple of thousand folk fancy getting behind the team by singing and jumping about, then fine.... Personally, I get pissed-off with people wherever I go. Watching bands, when standing with shorter wife and sister-in-law, some nob-heads always turn up late and stand in their way.

Some years back, I took the teenage kids and missus to see a Paolo Nutini gig in an all-seater stadium in Cardiff, and 3 middle-aged women with the biggest arses I'd seen in years were the only ones in the whole place to stand up in front of their seats and dance.

Even when sitting at the match, there are the latecomers, the toilet addicts, and the refreshment brigade. Then you have the bloke who sits next to you and opens his legs like his bollocks are the size of a Spacehopper, leaving you with no room.

If they ever build the new place, maybe they will put in bigger seats, with more gaps to get in and out, and employ stewards to enforce sitting, not standing up every time there is a bloody corner.

Ray Roche
28 Posted 05/02/2017 at 22:43:31
Kevin Jones (#19),

I'm surprised you have time to go to the match in December, January, February what, with it being pantomime season...

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