Many football fans will find it very disappointing that the Government have now blocked a trial of safe standing by a Premier League club.

The Bundesliga of course has massive crowds using safe standing every league match, whilst Celtic introduced a trial last season which proved a great success.

Atmospheres are generally poor at the higher levels in England, especially the Premier League – when compared to how many supporters attend games.

Many fans seeing safe standing as the logical way of helping to significantly improving those atmospheres, as well as once again giving fans the choice of sitting or standing.

Premier League outfit West Brom (soon to be Championship…) had offered to be the one to run a trial in England – but on Monday it has been revealed that the government as blocked the idea.

Crazy really, especially when so many fans, especially away supporters, stand every week in areas that are far less safe for standing than the safe standing areas used in Germany and the trial at Celtic.

West Brom Official Statement:

ALBION’s hopes of introducing a safe standing section at The Hawthorns have been rejected by the Government.

The Baggies had offered to run a pilot scheme in the Smethwick End for both home and away fans and made a formal application in October 2017 to install the section this summer in readiness for the 2018/19 campaign.

But Tracey Crouch MP, the Minister for Sport, has ruled out the idea confirming there are no plans to change the all-seater policy at football stadia.

The decision has been described as both “surprising” and “disappointing” by the man who has led Albion’s initiative, Director of Operations Mark Miles, who has written back to the Sports Grounds Safety Authority urging a review.

After lengthy research into the safe-standing option, Mark had proposed to install “rail-seating” across the Smethwick in the belief that it would be safer for fans in a section of the stadium where persistent standing is a problem.

He took in visits to Celtic Park and the Bundesliga club TSG 1899 Hoffenheim, where the same system is used successfully, and received encouragement from across the football industry to pursue the proposal.

“I find the decision from the Minister of Sport both surprising and disappointing,” he said.

“It will certainly be disappointing for many, many supporters I have spoken to who were in favour of what we were proposing.

“It has also been a regular topic of discussion at our Albion Assembly meetings where the members support has been clear.”

He said the Albion’s proposal did not seek to introduce additional standing at The Hawthorns but to manage that which was already taking place.

Mark added: “I think the Minister has taken a short-sighted view and is preventing the club from creating a safer environment for supporters. The all-seater policy was developed over 25 years ago and football is a very different place now.

“The system we proposed is well-tested across Europe and has also worked successfully at Celtic, who are governed by different legislation than in England and Wales. We were prepared to run a pilot which would enable the Club to gather data and feedback to further inform us in the issue of crowd safety.

“But I have become convinced that rail-seating would enhance safety. The Club is extremely disappointed with this decision and we have written back requesting a review.”

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  • TheNutJob

    iv`e never stood at a football match & i diven`t want to either

    • Peaky

      😂🤣😂

  • Paul Patterson

    Providing that the safe standing areas are ‘all ticket’ then there’s no reason why it can’t be done.

  • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

    It’s not really shocking, why would a politician stick their neck out. They run a trial and although it’s unlikely, there is an accident, the MP’s are going to get the blame.

    From the outside, income has gone up, the premier league is the biggest football brand in the world, hooliganism has all but disappeared and nobody has been seriously injured in an all-seater since 1989.

    • MichaelMaximusMoose

      Spoken like a true Snide Blobbi,
      i can vision Leazes & Jezza standing behind you both having a lag
      Priceless
      🤣🤣🤣

      • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

        I’m being realistic Micky love. I much preferred the terraces but you can imagine the likes of Andy Burnham suggesting terraces, he’d lose all his votes in that side of the North West.

      • Jezza

        I wouldn’t ever be stood behind that troll at a match because I never go in the Stretford End.

        • MichaelMaximusMoose

          😁😁😁

        • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

          Ha ha, you really believe anything!!! Thick as Swine poo.

    • pedrodelgardo

      Standing or sitting won’t bring back hooliganism, backing horses into crowds of people might. The brand will grow with better atmospheres making it even easier to milk. MPs could stay at home and not cross the road if they don;t want to take a risk.

      • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

        I’m in favour of safe standing but if I were a politician, I think if this was yes minister, it would be considered a brave policy.

      • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

        The advantage of seating is it’s very easy to identify the trouble maker. Even with safe standing, I’m not sure if that is possible but CCTV is far better now.

  • Philippines

    Since my first attendance at a game in 1957, until 1975 when I left UK, I never sat at a game. At 71, I would now, but support those who would enjoy the atmosphere of the standing crowd.

    • Jezza

      Same here, I never used to sit at matches. The first time I ever did was when I used to get given a free ticket for the seats for selling The Mag before matches in the late 80’s!

      • Rich Lawson

        Best way to watch the match was always stood in The Leazes,used to get me dad’s season ticket on the odd occasion he couldn’t go and it was nice to sit down but the atmosphere/experience wasn’t the same.

  • Andy Mac

    I think this is just another example of how Tories are out of touch with the people they pretend to represent

    • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

      Because in 13 years, Labour tried to push safe-standing through? They didn’t, OK they were very busy getting Grodon Brown to destroy the economy, make up stories of WMD’s and helping scientists go for walks in the woods but there is no appetite for it amongst politicians.

      Can you imagine Andy Burnham returning to HOC in a leadership race trying to get the Liverpool vote by backing safe standing?

      There is nothing positive in it for MP’s of any colour.

      • Rich Lawson

        Reguarding Liverpool and safe standing,quite apart from their unfortunate experiences home and abroad they do none of us any favours with their disgraceful behaviour OUTSIDE their ground against another club’s team.

        • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

          Oh, don’t get me wrong, I’m no Liverpool apologist what happened last week was a disgrace, especially as they bought the greatest shame on this country when playing a European cup tie in 1985.

          I’m just seeing it from the MP’s point of view, allowing standing is a lose – lose situation so why would they back it.

          • pedrodelgardo

            Because common sense tells you it’s a good idea.

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            I think it’s a good idea, I just don’t see why politicians would risk it.

            I also wonder what do the clubs get out of it? West Brom clearly think they can benefit but for us, most of the ground is a new development for seating. The club said at the fans forum that they were keen and had had visited Parkhead twice. I suspect that the club is less excited by the idea now the ground sells out. The safe standing area would perhaps be the corners and upper Gallowgate but do we know how many more positions would be available?

          • Rich Lawson

            Honestly,I agree,Knife crime on the up,easier to hide in a crowd,1st incident,”we told you so”. It’s not coming back any time soon .As you say few MP’s make a truly principled stand these days and certainly not for this..

        • Peaky

          Not THEIR fault THEIR fans attacked that bus of course….

          • Rich Lawson

            Probably from Everton ?

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            Who did they blame for Heysel, they could blame them again.

      • pedrodelgardo

        Gordon Brown caused the world wide banking crash – that was clever!

        • paul mclaughlan

          bobbi f**kman is the biggest liar on this forum.

        • Geordiegiants

          He still made a mess of things regardless

          • paul mclaughlan

            Do some research on what he did after. Even bobbi f**kface agrees on that.

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            It was a good job Brown was so rubbish at being PM, people forget how poor he was as chancellor

          • pedrodelgardo

            Thatcher as a hero, don’t make me ill!

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            Thatcher is not a hero but she resolved a lot of problems.

          • Geordiegiants

            She did that, a bit like Rafa, they weren’t easy decision but never the less she made them even though she upset a lot of people at the time.

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            Like a lot of difficult decisions, it’s better to make them early. Government meddling, Nationalisation and protectionism meant the hit was worse when it predictably came.

          • pedrodelgardo

            Safeish pair of hands I thought trouble was he had a charisma by pass in the tv age. I don’t know why i’m defending him mind!

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            Brown was a poor chancellor but he was also a nasty bully. His penchant for blaming junior staff for his own inadequacy was shown in the Rochdale incident…..TV gold that it was.

          • Rich Lawson

            Was that where he left the mic’ live,brilliant,no recovery from that one ?

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            Yep, 3minutes of gold. He let everyone know what he really thought of the Labour core vote, how staged managed the thing was and how he blamed anyone but himself when it went wrong.

          • Geordiegiants

            Ha ha ha lol made laugh, I know why you mean, they are all as bad as each other.

        • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

          His misunderstanding of basic economics left the state impotent to deal with the problem. Sadly he believed he’d beaten the booom and bust cycle, reality is that he created the biggest boom and bust economy.

        • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

          He didn’t cause the crash but had driven the country to a position where the state was powerless to respond

      • paul mclaughlan

        You are such a liar. Labour didn’t destroy the economy. The world crash seen to that.

        • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

          Brown didn’t help us though, he thought he’d solved the cycle of boom and bust by completely misunderstanding Keynesian economics. Luckily for China bailed us out.

          • paul mclaughlan

            So didn’t destroy our economy.

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            The staff if Northern Rock did that, his policies during the boom time left the country with no reserves to deal with the fallout.

          • paul mclaughlan

            So Northern Rock created the world crash? What a liar.

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            Northern Rock got the ball running in the UK and part of the problem.

        • Geordiegiants

          Gordon Brown/Labour did ruin our economy though.

          • paul mclaughlan

            Think you’ll find it was the world crash that ruined our economy. Our reliance on the banking sector to create the countries wealth meant we had no fall back. It’s the tori’s we have to thank for that. The liars hero Thatcher in particular.

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            Who was the chancellor that created that unbalanced economy? He thought he’d created alchemy, he was wrong.

            He managed to keep up Labour’s record of leaving more unemployed than they inherited in every time they were in government.

          • paul mclaughlan

            So it’s a non factual answer from you.

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            No, it’s exactly the case, Brown oversaw the economy whilst the problems fester ed and spent the income the banking sector created but left the economy in a position where it couldn’t respond.

          • paul mclaughlan

            So you agree that Thatcher destroyed our heavy industry (the nations wealth) allowing the banking sector to run havoc with our finances.

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            Heavy industry was already on it’s way out, it did not adapt because of protectionism and nationalisation.

            Most growing economies move toward services which is what happened from the 80’s onwards but if there was an imbalance (repeatedly identified by young Gideon in fairness), why didn’t Brown make this a priority rather than giving tax breaks for film and the arts?

          • paul mclaughlan

            The service industry is hardly going to support our economy. Plus all our major industries are pretty much owned by foreign ownership. So we have to rely on the banking sector to create our country’s wealth. And we’ve seen the damage that’s done.

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            As economies get richer, production gets more expensive as labour costs rise. As lower labour costs become available elsewhere, production moves elsewhere but the innovation (services) remains in the UK and the services are exported until Labour costs fall line with global supply.

            The service industry has been the driver in supporting the economy with financial services being the biggest part.

            It’s fairly simple, we failed to innovate withing the manufacturing sector in the 60’s & 70’s choosing to protect and nationalise industry but still falling behind competitors. I’m not taking sides, I’m more of a liberal than a Tory so both sides were to blame, Edward Heath crumbled to trade union demand just as much as Tony Benn tried to nationalise. By the time Thatcher came in, it was almost too late.

          • paul mclaughlan

            We both know it was a snowballing effect that started in America.

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            Northern Rock had the greatest exposure in Europe, the problem really was imperfect market conditions which was the problem in the USA and NR caught a cold. Strictly speaking NR should have been allowed to go cleanly along with the others but i can see why this wasn’t palatable in the short term.

    • Steve Smith

      Boring.

    • Geordiegiants

      The last I knew the Tories did represent hard working, money making people.

    • Andy Mac

      “More than half of Premier League clubs are open to trialing safe standing according to FA”

  • Peaky

    They were all on their feet anyway at WBA….then walking out when The Clampets were in charge…

  • Mrkgw

    Right decision in my view.

  • Wezza147

    I don’t think there should be any standing at all. Have we all forgotten the reason why seats were introduced in the first place? The 29th anniversary of Hillsborough is this Sunday (15th April). We cannot allow anything like that to happen again even if it is safe standing.
    I respect everyone’s wishes for safe standing but in my opinion this decision is correct.

    • Andy Mac

      Nobody has forgotten Wezza but time moves on and “Liverpool fans overwhelmingly support safe standing with 88% of fans voting in favour of rail seating introduction”

      You wont be able to pile in at the last minute and shove people forward as the seats are replaced by railings and you’ll still have to find your place in the stand.

      • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

        When was this vote? How big was the sample?

        I can see it being a good thing but I can see problems and the govt / opposition will not want to risk the flack if it goes wrong.

        • Damon Horner

          all the papers covered it last summer. Google “88% liverpool safe standing” and they all show up.

          18,000 supporters polled by “Spirit of Shankly”.

          I think the keyword is “safe”.

      • Wezza147

        Yes so I read. I know times have moved on but this is just my opinion.

        • Andy Mac

          To which, of course, you are entitled.

    • Davey drape

      Last weekend Liverpool fans group (SOS I think) plus others including ppl connected to Hillsborough were inited to attend the Celtic home game in which they stood in the safe standing area. So far feedback appears to be very positive but SOS feeding things back and will no doubt make their findings public.

  • Danimal

    Tens of thousands of people are allowed to stand in a football ground if they’re watching musicians rather than footballers. Also, standing/walking seems to be permitted at the turnstiles and in the packed concourse/bar/toilets etc. There was a number of factors involved in the tragic Hillsborough disaster (and others) but I don’t think it was caused by seats or lack of seats.

    • Leazes.

      You can take a pint of ale to your seat at SJP…. if its for the Rugby!….. some discrimination then against the riff-raff, I mean Football fraternity.

  • Mike

    dont go backwards i recall getting crushed in the old popular end and the Gallowgate…….not a good experience. id hate to think of kids caught up in that again.we dont need it

    • mactoon

      Safe standing seating incorporates barriers in front of the seats to prevent the fans moving forward. Providing the barrier is over waist height there is no danger of getting crushed by someone behind you moving forwards or falling over the barrier, they just can’t move forward.

  • mactoon

    The problem here is one of being the politician who makes the decision to allow it. If Tracey Crouch does and god forbid something goes wrong it would be political suicide and I think that’s the problem, she probably hasn’t even researched it or been to a game which incorporates safe standing seating. Safe standing seating incorporates barriers in front of the seats to prevent the fans moving forward. Providing the barrier is over waist height there is no danger.

    The current position is most crowds stand up when an exciting passage of play is happening. The seats at SJP are so low that anyone standing up can easily fall over and land on the person in front, there is nothing to stop it and no way to enforce the ‘no standing’ rules given the amount of people who do it. I’ve seen it happen. Railed seating would be much safer.