With the Football Supporters Federation recently announcing their campaign for the return of standing at football matches, I thought I’d take a look at what, if introduced this would bring to our beautiful game.
The FSF’s aim is to “persuade the Government, football authorities and football clubs to accept the case for introducing, on a trial basis, limited sections of standing areas at selected grounds in the stadiums of Premier League and Championship football clubs.” Personally, for me as a 16-year-old West Ham supporter, the only experience I’ve had of standing at a football match would be Peterborough away last season and my local Blue Square South team, Hornchurch AFC.
London Road in March this year, I really did feel the buzz of standing, swaying and chanting amongst the wall of claret and blue and the state of euphoria the crowd were propelled into when the ball hit the back of the net. As a season ticket holder at a Premier League club, in the part of the stadium where my ‘seat’ is, it is commonplace to stand, quite frankly if I chose to sit down, it would be physically impossible to see the game, leaving me no option but to endure the pain of standing for the full 90 minutes.
Particularly at away games most supporters stand for the duration, this perhaps conveying a clear desire for the return of standing or even the possibility that come seat or no seat fans will stand at football games. The issue for clubs and English football itself is that could perhaps improving the overall atmosphere of the game potentially come at a dangerous price? We are all aware of the dangers and disasters that could and have occurred due to standing at games, obviously the infamous Hillsborough tragedy on the 15th April 1989, where 96 Liverpool fans died.
However, for me the most current issue affecting this change occurring is not the safety but the stupidity that is occurring on the terraces at this very moment, do the fans deserve it? With the issue of racism, homophobia and even yob like behaviour roaming large do the supporters actually warrant a reward? Personally I think it is only a minority of this country’s supporters, who hurl coins at players, chant anti-semitic songs towards opposition fans and mimic monkey actions towards black players.
The FA cannot deny this change due to the senselessness of a marginal group of people, surely not? I believe the proposed idea is a fantastic one, a proposition that could potentially bring the family feel back to football and a suggestion that should sincerely be considered; after all it’s easier to sing when you’re standing up!