Who’ll sanction safe standing?
This is like asking repeated Home Secretaries if they were going to be the one to release a Moors Murderer or Peter Sutcliffe because their tariff had been served? Suddenly the room goes quiet.
Organisers of a meeting for Liverpool fans to debate the merits of safe standing admit it is “a pretty big step” for the discussion to even take place.
Ninety-six supporters died after a crush on the terraces at Hillsborough in 1989 and many of the victims’ families remain opposed to the return of standing – in the form of rail seating.
However, there is a growing momentum for a comeback, with such footballing luminaries as Shrewsbury and Northampton expressing their desire to trial it in the English Football League.
It is a highly emotive issue on Merseyside and Liverpool fans group Spirit of Shankly are to hold two meetings – one in private with Hillsborough families and survivors – to gauge the prevailing mood.
Whilst my Scouser grief fatigue is no secret, it’s a natural and indeed vital element in discussions to invite opinion from the one group of fans that were most grotesquely hurt by ‘loose’ fans.
That said, there is an obsessional slant from the proponents of the whole ‘safe standing’ debate. Is standing up at football matches required or even relevant in 2017?
What isn’t relevant is referencing tales of the dark days of football hooliganism and for that matter, blow by blow accounts of how the 96 Liverpool fans met their deaths.
Those cultural climates simply cannot be replicated by the introduction of a match day model that has been relentlessly proved to be very very safe in other other leagues.
Of course, the tossers in the THST are passionate about safe standing – which is beyond ironic – as they are the very pinnacle of being analogue in a digital age.
Standing at games just isn’t needed.
The audience has changed, changed to the point of being unrecognisable from the last time we all stood up.
Like it or not, the game is no longer the pastime of the ordinary working man. Oh look, I’ve had some great times dancing about with the nutters in the pub, beer everywhere and the hangover that kicks in half an hour after kick off.
But how many Client Reference numbers actually do that? The answer is very few. A complete minority group. You’d appeal to a bigger sector of fans these days by offering a Wheat/Gluten Free cafes on the concourses. A vegan craft beer in one hand and the latest smartphone in the other is – like it or not – where we are.
It’s time for fans to put their hands up and admit the war is over. The good old football pub if yesteryear barely exists. So why are you trying in inflict an echo of the past?
Campaigning to stand simply is going through the motions. Lads, face facts. Your hearts aren’t really in it. Football clubs are barely able to marshal sitting fans and the type of fan who’ll jump on the standing bus is frankly going to be a pain in the posteria to be near.
Let the street-tuff Clearasil Kids from the 1882 mob embarrass themselves somewhere without cameras.
The New Destination™ we are told is ‘safe standing ready’. Good grief. This reminds me of all those duff TVs that were stickered up as HD Ready. My drive is Ferrari Ready. Safe Standing is a close to happening in the Premier League as a players’ wage cap is.
Atmosphere at grounds will not be conditioned by how the fans opt to position themselves once their inside the ground.
You want to charge football fans the same price of admission as it is to go the ballet or the opera, offer Michelin star food and cheese boards, and then expect a section of performing monkeys to make some crowd noise for you?
Yeah, that’ll work. That’s a seamless plan. Bravo.
Football is a little bit broken and right now, the pieces can’t be easily put back together by hiring extras from the 1980s.
Football has bigger fish to fry, if it is ever to take a path that leads to recovery. Jesus wept, we’ve just discovered that Spurs have outsourced one of our friendly games.
Next you’ll be suggesting piped crowd noises. Or flicking the volume switch to drown out dissenting fans. Oh, hang on…