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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1 Posted 03/02/2017 at 13:53:35
2 Posted 03/02/2017 at 14:22:02
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!
3 Posted 03/02/2017 at 18:03:36
4 Posted 03/02/2017 at 18:05:45
5 Posted 03/02/2017 at 18:20:37
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!
6 Posted 03/02/2017 at 20:15:46
7 Posted 03/02/2017 at 20:34:51
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.
8 Posted 03/02/2017 at 20:38:28
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.
9 Posted 03/02/2017 at 20:39:19
10 Posted 03/02/2017 at 21:22:56
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.
11 Posted 03/02/2017 at 22:14:39
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.
12 Posted 03/02/2017 at 22:43:54
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.
13 Posted 03/02/2017 at 22:44:04
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.
14 Posted 03/02/2017 at 22:54:58
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.
15 Posted 04/02/2017 at 08:20:57
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.
16 Posted 04/02/2017 at 09:05:28
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.
17 Posted 04/02/2017 at 09:16:53
I'm all for kids going the game but the intro of the £95-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.
18 Posted 04/02/2017 at 12:08:07
Standing is from the past and not a move forward, and for the pie queue!
19 Posted 04/02/2017 at 12:28:00
20 Posted 04/02/2017 at 12:29:54
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.
21 Posted 05/02/2017 at 01:30:59
Anyway, back to my red red wine...
22 Posted 05/02/2017 at 09:19:59
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.
23 Posted 05/02/2017 at 21:43:56
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.
24 Posted 05/02/2017 at 21:50:07
25 Posted 05/02/2017 at 22:03:36
26 Posted 05/02/2017 at 22:30:52
If it wasn't for the £95 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.
27 Posted 05/02/2017 at 22:36:19
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.
28 Posted 05/02/2017 at 22:43:31
I'm surprised you have time to go to the match in December, January, February what, with it being pantomime season...