Alan Shearer has come out in support of bringing back standing areas in the top tiers of English football.
The Bundesliga has shown that safe standing areas are exactly that and they have massive terraces full of standing fans producing brilliant atmospheres, generally far better than what you find in the Premier League these days.
Celtic initiated a safe standing trial with 2,900 spaces back in summer 2016 and that proved a big success with the area hugely oversubscribed when it came to supporters trying to buy tickets.
Alan Shearer harks back to his own days as a fan standing in the Gallowgate and predicts that eventually we will see the return of standing areas in the Premier League.
It is never mentioned (in a negative sense – which tells you everything) but there is a club within the top two divisions who have operated with a stadium that has three sides of the ground that are all standing on terraces.
Burton may only have a small stadium but for these past two years they have had fans standing safely watching Championship football, having been giving permission to keep the standing areas for a limited time after promotion.
Any re-introduction of standing would no doubt see PL clubs copying the kind of rail seating or similar that they have in Germany and that Celtic have trialled, to reassure any issues on the safety aspect.
Alan Shearer refers back to last Sunday and Newcastle United beating Man Utd (ED: Never in a million years did Alan Shearer say or write ‘Newcastle went after United’ as Coral have published (see below), no doubt their journalist’s interpretation of his words!), saying: ‘For 90 minutes it was a brilliant atmosphere, probably one of the best they have had there for a long time’.
Shearer is 100% right but the bottom line is that there is very little in between these days and it is all or nothing, without terraced areas to give an atmosphere regardless and sing the whole match no matter what is or isn’t happening on the pitch.
If things aren’t happening on the pitch then St James Park, like pretty much every other major stadium, is now deathly silent for most of the game, which is crazy considering the size of the crowds now compared to say back in the 80s, when attendances tended to be far lower but atmospheres so much better.
Alan Shearer speaking to Coral:
“Last Sunday at St James’ Park, Newcastle went after United in the early stages of the game and that really got the crowd going.
“For 90 minutes it was a brilliant atmosphere, probably one of the best they have had there for a long time.
“I understand there has been a group who have been campaigning to introduce safe standing at Old Trafford.
“As a kid I was brought up going to the Gallowgate end at Newcastle and I loved it.
“I do think safe standing will eventually return to Premier League grounds.
“We have to be very conscious of what has happened in the past but as long as it is safe, I would be all for that.
“However it is likely to take a while before we start seeing clubs ripping out seats from their stadiums.
“One of the grounds I always used to enjoy playing at was Anfield.
“There was always a fantastic atmosphere there, especially at the Kop end. They were very understanding of good football.
“If you played well they respected that. At Old Trafford it was completely different because I got so much stick and abuse!”