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Petition for Standing Area at Goodison

By Derek Turnbull :  26/08/2009 :  Comments (31) :

A petition has been set up to allow for a few hundred Everton fans to be able to stand up in front of their seat all match, out of the way of those who do not wish to stand constantly. Fans standing up in front of their seat is an issue that won't go away, so it therefore must be dealt with to improve choice, safety, customer service and atmosphere.

http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/standupifyoulovetheblues/index.html

The proposal is for an area at the rear of the Lower Gwladys Street for 200-300 fans to be able to stand up permanently in front of their allocated seat. Some fans just prefer to stand, while some prefer it because it improves their atmosphere and allows for more singing and new songs. As Jimmy Gabriel once pointed out 'when the crowd goes quiet, the team goes quiet', and if it helps the team then why not?

Ideally, the standing area will take the form of this safe standing area in Germany:

If you look carefully at this diagram you will see that the standing will be at the back of the lower Gwladys Street, and especially if combined with cheap acoustics attached to the underside of the Upper Gwladys, then their noise and songs can spread easily to the rest of the stand for them to join in

Current Problems: a) Fans on the last row of the Lower Gwladys St can't see past the halfway line when stood. These tickets should not be sold in the designated standing area (in the region of 20-30 tickets to be unsold).

b) Fans over a certain height on the 2nd to last row cannot see the Park End goal when stood. Therefore warnings should be printed on these tickets and this should be highlighted by staff at the point of purchase.

c) During big matches and big moments. Then fans will often stand constantly stand up anyway. Fans on those last couple of rows currently move to the gangways in order to see, so the above solutions will also improve safety. In addition it is to be noted that fans stand up before a match, at half time and full time when there is far greater movement, so for 200-300 to stand up when not much is happening while the ball is in motion is insignificant.

d) The rear of the Gwladys Street has always been the traditional home of Everton's vocal element. This has become diluted in recent times as fans whether they like to stand and sing or not are being issued tickets wherever. If this is highlighted at the point of purchase that it is an area where fans like to stand and sing then if they still choose to go there then they cannot complain. So it improves customer service.

e) Those who wish to have more sustained singing and standing are currently spread out over the ground making it very hard to get new songs, or any songs, going during your average match.

f) These fans who wish to back their team vocally are currently being ejected by stewards leading to an alienation of an important section of our fanbase.

http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/standupifyoulovetheblues/index.html

FAQ's

Why do you need to stand to get the singing going? Starting off songs and joining in with them before they are loud is not easy, but this is essential for songs to take off. Fans feel more self-conscious when everyone is sat so are far less likely to start off songs and join in with them before they are loud. With everyone around you standing it significantly eases this pressure allowing for songs to get going.

What are the Safety issues? The Football Licensing Authority (FLA) do not recommend standing in upper tiers or in stands over 25 degrees, (which is a safety concern for Kirkby if you want atmosphere there). The FLA recognise that there is no difference in safety whether fans constantly stand in front of their allocated seat or if they sit. Their concerns are with the customer service aspect which is answered above. Safety certificates from the council can ask for 10% of this area to be unsold which ties in with the request for no tickets to be sold on the last row.

Incidentally, Everton recognise that there are no safety concerns with fans standing up because as recently as January they sold us tickets for a terraced area against Macclesfield. For games there is regularly 7000 standing for large periods and nothing was said by them. NB: this is a petition for a tolerated area for standing in front of your seat, rather than on terraces past.

Is it legal? Standing up in front of your seat is perfectly legal, the legal requirement is only for stadia to be all-seater. Whether a fan stands up or sits has no bearing on the law. Standing and sitting are normal human actions. Current ground regulations at Goodison only allow for standing during moments of excitement. So the club only needs to change their regulations to tolerate a small amount of fans standing in this during non-exciting moments too.

What if I don't want to stand? That is fine. Don't buy tickets in this area. The standing area would be behind the those who wish to sit.

What about idiotic behaviour? It was once commented to me that to prevent idiotic behaviour the standing area should be in the Gwladys Street rather than in the Directors Box as no-ones behaviour could be worse in those who occupy that area! The point, although in jest! is that an individual will be an idiot whether stood or sat. However, it should be noted that this area is not by the away fans, or near the pitch. Fans in this area will already have their names on tickets so the accountability is there. Correctly trained (plain clothed perhaps? ie the one fan in the full replica kit, hat and scarf!) stewards can maintain this small area. If 7,000 are stood in a big match like the derby then 300 v Stoke will be fine

Everton don't sing, if you want to sing why don't you go on X-Factor? This is a very ignorant view of Everton's history of singing. We have always had fans who wish to sing at the match. The singing on the Gwladys Street can be dated back to at least the 1920s. If you don't wish to sing, don't. Some of us do though, but we are being stifled by the aforementioned problems.

Is it manufactured support? No, just the obstacles that have prevented our vocal support have been removed. In the terracing years, we had several hundred if not more who would congregate at the rear of the Lower Gwladys St. This would allow them to congregate again and stand up without worrying whether those behind wish to sit or not. If we go there and decide not to sing, then fine, but at least it would be our choice.

http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/standupifyoulovetheblues/index.html

Further Reading:

http://www.fsf.org.uk/campaigns/safestanding.php

http://www.susd.vitalfootball.co.uk/

Reader Comments

Note: the following content is not moderated or vetted by the site owners at the time of submission. Comments are the responsibility of the poster. Disclaimer


Michael Kenrick
Editorial Team
1   Posted 26/08/2009 at 17:04:07

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ps: Derek, who is Peter B? Spell his name out and I’ll give him author credit too.
Peter Roberts
2   Posted 26/08/2009 at 17:49:30

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Erm, isn’t it a Premier League requirement for all stadia to be all-seater, as a result of the Taylor Report from the Hillsborough disaster? Surely that makes the issue redundant?
Michael Jennings
3   Posted 26/08/2009 at 19:25:09

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This has got my support!

I sit in the paddock now and like my seat but i used to sit the back of the glady in me teens and standing and singing is the name of the game - the best way to support your team.
Brian Lawlor
4   Posted 26/08/2009 at 19:26:36

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Apart from the obvious requirement to have all seater stadiums, this proposal will reduce the maximum number of seats we can have and thus reduce our much needed revenue. As they not only get their seat but a standing area with it!!

I am pretty confident that this will never happen.
Ciarán McGlone
5   Posted 26/08/2009 at 20:55:03

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I opened this already deciding that it was a daft idea considering the reasoning behind all seater stadiums...but i’ve now changed my mind...There’s always gonna be people standing and if all these people agree to be in the one area of the stadium- then it avoids confrontation with those who may be put out by people standing in front of them..

It’s a sensible idea - but it’ll never happen. Although it’s not a request to remove the seats - it would still not find favour with the club of the FA.

The club would have to orchestrate it and therefore would seen to be complicit in encouraging standing - which is contrary to the rules....

Good idea, but simply not workable.
Derek Turnbull
6   Posted 26/08/2009 at 21:02:33

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Peter Roberts - you could have at least read the first line of the article before posting, or even looked at the huge picture before posting. Was that too much to ask?

The stadium would still be all-seater.

Brian Lawlor this was also mentioned in the article. The reduction of seats will be 30 maximum. So how often do we sell out now, twice? Will the introduction of atmosphere increase attendances by an additional 60 tickets a season? Probably.
Derek Turnbull
7   Posted 26/08/2009 at 21:09:39

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Ciaran McGlone - thank you for your comments. As you say it also benefits those who are sick of being disturbed by those standing in front of them.

I would hope that Everton choose to acknowledge, as opposed to encourage, that standing happens and that it will continue to do so. I would therefore see it as their responsibility to ensure that it is safe and practical to do so.
Roy Jones
8   Posted 26/08/2009 at 21:49:35

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Why don't you go and suggest this ridiculous idea to the 96 families that sadly lost loved ones at Hillsborough and they will tell you why this is a STUPID idea. Derek, what an idiotic idea, footballs moved on from those days... it's about time you accepted it.
Karl Masters
9   Posted 26/08/2009 at 21:58:13

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I’m not against this idea, if it is done properly.

One thing, though Derek, is that your diagram of the Gwladys Street looks wrong to me. Don’t the seats on the lower level go right back vitually to the back wall? I may be wrong, but it just looks odd to me.

I’d rather see the whole of the Park End like this (leg room is already big enough to replicate your German picture with only the rails being needed to be fitted) with a second tier over it to add 3/4,000 to the capacity and generate a more partisan atmoshere near the away fans. If the Kirkby thing goes tits up, which I sincerely hope it does for loads of reasons, this is the sort of thing that Everton should be looking at.
Derek Turnbull
10   Posted 26/08/2009 at 22:45:27

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Hi Karl, the diagram is of a standard two tiered overlapping stand. The diagram show how the singers are situated under acoustics at the back, so the songs can be heard by the rest of the stand (nb improved cheap acoustics would help too).

When action happens on the pitch the rest of the stand is on their feet that’s the point when the Gwladys St will be at its peak.

I think it is a good idea to also have one in the Park End as well, it would be easier to do.

It’s been a while since I’ve been in there so I wouldn’t know if the demand is there. If you haven’t signed it already, feel free to sign it and mention in the comments about having one in the Park End.
Nick Entwistle
11   Posted 26/08/2009 at 23:14:49

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The idea of every fan sitting is outdated and one for the do-gooders.

Germany have immense kops such as Dortmund, and have advance knowledge and technology to improve on safety vastly from the days of terraces in this country. So much so that it is no more dangerous than sitting.

Thousands stand at league grounds around the country so there is no reason for Prem clubs losing out. And they are losing out as terraces being removed from the sport left a significant hole in the game.

Continuing arguments over Hillsborough do not to me make this a taboo subject and the quicker they come back the better the game. Bring on the standing!!!!!!

Peter Roberts
12   Posted 27/08/2009 at 09:21:46

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Derek,

I read your post from top to bottom and did find the bit where you said the seats would still be in thus fulfilling the PL criteria, so I retract my previous point. But you’ve also failed to address another point which is that when you stand up at the back of the St End (where I’ve sat on more than one occasion), you can barely see the other end of the pitch, particularly if you’re standing on the back three or four rows. So how can you watch the full match when your view, like so many others in Goodison is being obstructed by a) the Upper Gwladys and b) the other fans standing in front of you. I don’t know about you but if I go to a football match I go with the intention of watching a football match. If I wanted to stand up and sing for 90 minutes I’d go to St. Luke’s next door.
Derek Turnbull
13   Posted 27/08/2009 at 09:56:06

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Peter Roberts, the points you mentioned are also covered, and are a big reason why this petition was brought out. In the article under current problems a and b, it addresses these points.

The last row row of the Gwladys St, you can’t see past the half way line, these tickets shouild not be sold (about 20-30. The second to last row you cannot see the Park End goal if you are over a certain height. There should be a warning printed on the tickets for this. Even if a standing area was not introduced I would still like these action points brought in. Currently fans will stand in big games and big moments so the fans are currently experiencing bad views this will address that problem.

The standing area would contain fans who wish to stand for 90 mins, it would be at the back so out of the way of those who wish to sit.
Brian Lawlor
14   Posted 27/08/2009 at 10:11:42

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I’m afraid that area of the ground is pretty much always a sell out.

It’s the obstructed views which are the seats that are left when we don’t sell out in the league. Certainly not central Gwladys Street

30 seats = £15k per year plus the cost of conversion.

I know alot of fans would like to go back to the good old days of terracing but having a designated area for a couple of hundred (with seats as well) is pretty pointless.

This can be petioned, discussed etc. but lets be realistic this is without doubt not going to happen.
Derek Turnbull
15   Posted 27/08/2009 at 10:25:23

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Brian Lawlor,
The reason that area is popular is because of the atmosphere when fans stand up, however fans are frustrated because the atmosphere is getting lost for vast periods of the match because they can’t stand up due to (understandably) being told to sit by those on the last row. So the whole point of them going there is lost due to the last row.

In addition when something of note happens everyone will stand up anyway leaving those at the rear unable to see half the pitch. So their experience is spoilt anyway. Some matches fans there ended moving to the gangways to be able see which is a safety risk. It is in effect an awfully obstructed view on the last row, far worse than a post, but I don’t think it is classified as such. Everton have gotten away with selling tickets there for years when they shouldn’t have. There are many alternatives with better obstructed views than those on the last row.

Many fans do enjoy the atmosphere of standing up in front of their seat. There have been many cracking atmospheres in the Gwladys St from standing in front of them, even for normal matches. Out of a choice there are many who would pick standing in front of their seat over sitting down. I wouldn’t be surprised if many would prefer standing in front of their seat over terraces.So it is far from pointless.

You may be right that it may never happen, but if you don’t ask you don’t get. It also brings to the table an important issue, that will not go away. Take Kirkby for example. We know that many people will want to stand and there has always been fans who will try and stand, yet Kirkby has been designed so that if fans stand in the lower tier it will block the view of the corporates behind. The boxes behind the goal are future fit out, so there is a possibility that they will never be sold, however if fans do stand there, where are their acoustics? Do they go in the upper tier? They can’t it’s a safety risk. So even if all the proposal is not done, then there should certainly be some points addressed, so at least some improvements are made.

Brian Lawlor
16   Posted 27/08/2009 at 10:59:48

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Derek - you make some valid points which are noted and accepted.

Well done on taking the time out to put such a comprehensive case forward

Good luck with it.

Derek Turnbull
17   Posted 27/08/2009 at 11:21:37

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Cheers Brian!
paul martin
18   Posted 27/08/2009 at 12:40:08

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Derek your idea has no chance of being supported by the Football Licensing Authority. And the government will not support it because they believe there simply is not the will from clubs and fans. There has been over 300 deaths and thousands of injuries at football stadiums in Britain in the last century most of these occurred in standing areas. There may be a few die hards like yourself out there who would love a return to standing but its not going to happen. The Football supporters Association produced a glossy brochure not so long ago about this subject but it has found no favour with the decision makers.
Derek Turnbull
19   Posted 27/08/2009 at 13:14:28

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Hi Paul, the Football Licensing Authority say that standing in front of your seat is at the same safety level as sitting down. Their safety concern is for standing in upper tiers and in gradients over 25 degrees (ie Kirkby End Stand upper tiers). Standing up occurs in moments of excitement, at half time, full time and before a match all of which are more significant moments than during your average moments in a football match. Standing up also occurs for the vast majority of us everyday. In work now there are 4 people standing, standing up is a normal human action, standing up is a safe action.

It is the management of crowds, crowd control and facilities that determine safety. The deaths you talk about what are the numbers that occurred due to standing? Would they have made a difference if fans sat? You push too many fans into a pen it makes no odds whether those fans in that confined area are sat or stood. It is about numbers in a confined area. The largest stadium disaster was in fact at an all-seater stadium in South Africa in circumstances very similar to Hillsbrough.

You are right to ask about safety. I considered writing the article from the angle that crowd stand anyway so why have clubs failed to take responsibility for their safety when they do this action? This proposal improves safety. It could be argued that it is a disgrace that a petition has to be set up to improve spectator safety.
Paul Martin
20   Posted 27/08/2009 at 13:33:24

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To be honest, I think the reason behind the disasters was the failure of government to impliment the findings of 8 public inquiries into incidents at British stadiums pre-Hillsborough, but that's a different debate for a different time.

Yes, you are right in saying that they were not killed or injured because they were standing, but the whole nature of standing areas means they can easilly become overcrowded much more so than seating areas. I am not saying that this is going to happen at the Gwladys Street end if it went ahead, I am commenting on the reasons why I think it won't — not trying to be negative just realistic. Good luck in your efforts, Derek.

Daniel Marfany
21   Posted 27/08/2009 at 14:50:48

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How about some of you read the article first! Not skim read - proper bloody read - before you start chucking in your objections.

It didn’t take long for someone to suggest asking the families of the dead at Hillsborough what they think either did it? It is a totally different question: these fans would all have an allocated seat on their ticket just as they do now - so unlike the old terracing there is no danger of overcrowding. We are just talking about putting all the people who like to stand throughout the game together in the same place. Then that bloody tannoy and the poor guy whose kids are staring at a load of different arses will stop telling us all to sit down!

Derek - its a great idea! Stand up if you love the blues...
Derek Turnbull
22   Posted 27/08/2009 at 15:00:15

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Roy Jones, I missed your point earlier, how about you going to the Justice for the 96 campaign and telling them that they died because they stood up? That is an absolute insult and ignorant of all the hard work that they have put in in trying to bring to light the truth about what happened there.

You will also notice that this scheme improves safety, why would they be against improving safety?

A side note, it may have escaped your notice but at the 20th Anniversary at Anfield for large sections of it the fans stood up in front of their seat.
David Cain
23   Posted 27/08/2009 at 16:51:49

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er.. (1) is it really worth the cost and (2) bl**dy hell, if we need to rely on singing to win we really are in trouble
Andy Crooks
24   Posted 27/08/2009 at 19:38:19

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Honestly, I just don't get this. Standing at matches is a throwback to the dark ages of the seventies.
Mike Hayes
25   Posted 27/08/2009 at 22:18:51

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Didn’t this bring about lazy baskets pissing where they stood? Keep the seating or go back 30 years
Derek Turnbull
26   Posted 27/08/2009 at 22:22:03

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Mike and Andy, take the Semis at Wembley this year for example, at many points in the match thousands upon thousands were standing up in front of their seat. So that was a return to the 70s was it? (bar the failure to lift a trophy!)

Everton even used the pictures from that match of fans standing up in front of their seat to promote themselves. I’m pretty sure I even received something as such off them in the post.
Derek Turnbull
27   Posted 27/08/2009 at 22:45:54

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David Cain, cost is 100 pound per seat, so 5 pound a match for 1 season. They can be transfered to a new stadium too. Your second point made me smile, they certainly need all the help they can get!
Martin Mason
28   Posted 28/08/2009 at 14:59:29

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For me the issue with standing isn’t about an area at the top where people can stand , it’s the total plonkers in the lower ranks who stand when the ball gets near to the goal or down near the corners. We can all see if we stay seated.
Tom Hughes
29   Posted 28/08/2009 at 19:02:24

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Fairplay to Derek for trying to broach a tender subject. I quite like the German model, but it should be remembered that they use this system for their domestic games to increase capacity, and lower prices for these sections. They become fully fledged terraces. Personally I don’t have a problem with properly managed terraces. Lets face it they are still abundent in the lower leagues, and even at some brand-new Rugby League grounds too, and nobody complains. Also, as stated above many existing seated sections at several stadia are acting as unofficial terraces already, but without the barriers. Just re-instating the lower gwladys at say 3/4 its former terraced capacity would add 3-4,000 to our capacity at little cost, it would also get rid of several hundred restricted views, since people simply wouldn’t stand in the worst areas, as was the case when they were standing before. Of course, the likelihood of reversing this policy which ironically only really applies to football is remote given the emotion rightly attached to the issues....... but that shouldn’t detract from discussing the potential benefits..... ie low-cost increased capacity, cheaper tickets, better atmosphere etc. That said, I’m not totally convinced that the system highlighted readily lends itself to a small section at the rear of an existing seated area. I think it would have to be positively segregated (with all the problems that can ensue) to stop people who paid for cheaper tickets entering any vacant seats, or conversely to stop youngster in the seats wanting to come over and "join the party" at the back, causing localised over-crowding. There are issues, but they do work very well in Germany and help create atmospheres long lost in the UK:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sMojbswC9mo&feature=related
Derek Turnbull
30   Posted 29/08/2009 at 13:38:01

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Hi Tom, there’s are two forms that a safe standing area could take. The first is as on the petition above that Peter originally set up. This would be to allow tolerance of fans to stand up in front of their allocted seat in a given area.

The second would be the small controlled terraced pens. It is this second type of terraced pens that would allow for the increase in capacity. At the moment the law allows the first type.

An interesting consideration for new stadia is that a terraced area in British lower leagues is to conform is to the Green Guide treads between 350mm and maximum 400mm, so if new stadia has seated treads of 700mm to 800mm that allows for safe overcrowding that could occur by twice as many fans in a seated standing area.

So to take your point about overcrowding, now all safety concerns should be addressed for this, and not dismissed, with the treads in the Gwladys St at 660mm it won’t allow for twice as many fan but there is a considerable safety margin in there.

However we don’t want any fans to enter the standing area that have not bought tickets there. So the size of this scheme is imporatant, with popularity measured. Overcrowding, in the sense is another word for popular. Demand exceeding supply. So to initially reject an idea at the first stage in case it’s popular is not the answer. So the size of this scheme is an initial consideration.

Ticket availability is another consideration to prevent overcrowding. If tickets are accessible to fans who wish to try it out for a match then rather being frustrated by not being to go in there, they’ll know that for a match they can either buy or swap tickets to go in there.

It is worth noting that fans who may surround this area will also feel the benefits of the atmosphere generated by those right next to them so they will not need to enter the ’party area’

Your recommondation of a form of segregation is another form of prevention of fans gaining false entry. The club do have experience with this, take the executive club at the back the Park End as an example. (Thinking about it that would be a perfect spot for a standing area!)

There would of course be the stewards to monitor the area for fans trying to gain access.

You mention the emotion issue. Despite the great efforts of the Justice for the 96 campaign to highlight what went wrong that day, some people seem to make the lazy connection of Hillsbrough occurred because people stood up, which is quite frankly an insult. Yet the authorities are quite happy to let this myth continue!! Liverpool fans stand up regualarly in front of their seat in their thousands, There were large periods in the 20th Anniversary were fans were standing up in front of their seat. It is an insult to combine the two together.




Taken from the Redandwhitekop website

"It’s been easy for far too long for those who run the clubs, the FA, the Premier League, the Football Licensing Authority etc to hide behind the Hillsborough Disaster as an excuse for not permitting standing in the top two divisions of English football.

But who are the experts on the disaster? None of those cunts that’s for sure. We’re the ones who know what happened, we’re the ones who know it was a failure of stewarding, a failure of policing, a failure of basic safety standards at the ground, a failure of the FA to ticket the fixture properly. It was a disaster caused by these factors and magnified by the presence of fences and pens.

We know it had nothing to do with terracing. And we have the legitimacy to tell them they’re talking out of their arses and insulting the 96, and the hundreds injured and scarred for life, when they rush to use the Hillsborough Disaster as a defence shield whenever this topic arises."
Chris Butler
31   Posted 03/10/2009 at 17:53:04

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In fairness, some may call me naive but reading Derek Turnbull's great article about Gwladys Street, I would like to make a point that nothing's happened. When AEK fans came to Goodison, they split themselves into a seated group for youngsters and the elderly who cannot stand.

Why not either mid-way through the current season can all people who want to stand and sing can do so? By no means do I want the "Who are ya?" chants as they are reserved for the Park End.

I unfotunately could not get a season ticket in the absolute centre of the Lower Gwaldys under the roof but there are about 5,000 others that would like to do the same but cannot out of consideration for those who want to sit. In the Derby, Man Utd, in 2005 Fiorentina we dragged the ball into the net through our vocal support. Not only does it intimidate opposition teams but rallies ours. The lovable reds have proven when 13,000 fans stand you can beat anyone.

It would also bring a younger fan to home games again so why not help me if you could possibly help me in any way give me an email.

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