All seater stadiums have been around Scotland and the UK since the 90s. Recently the topic of whether safe standing should be introduced has been discussed, and clubs across the UK have looked into it.
In England, Shrewsbury Town have took the mantle of being the pioneers of safe standing down south. Town’s standing section was tested during their FA Cup game with Wolves. More closer to home though, Celtic added safe standing in 2016, a UK first. It has been a major success, fuelling the debate other clubs should look to invest in these sections.
Two Scottish clubs that have discussed this are Falkirk and Hearts. The Bairns’ representatives travelled to Tynecastle this week to discuss the possibility of safe standing at both grounds.
Both clubs should look to add these sections, but so should the rest of the teams in Scotland. Just a decade ago, the idea of standing at the football would be laughed at. You would quickly be referred to pictures from the 70s and 80s. where hooliganism was rife, and stadiums were quite literally crumbling.
It’s a different generation now. For those wanting a return to the terraces, safe standing, or rail seating could be the compromise that benefits everyone.
Times have changed
Safe standing benefits those who wants a return to what football used to be like, where standing is part of footballing culture. It’s also a way for the modern game, which has been swamped with money and TV coverage, to reconnect with what the game used to be like for the fans that turn up every weekend.
Now instead of being met with ‘football will be drawn back into the days of hooliganism’, you’ll instead be met with reasonable arguments for the cause. It’ll increase capacity at grounds, cheaper gate prices and greater experiences for fans. The work of various campaigners like the Safe Standing Roadshow, who promote the use of rail seats and standing sections across the UK, has allowed the discussion to progress.
At this early stage, it would be too early to predict the pros and cons for Scottish sides like Falkirk and Hearts to bring in safe standing. One con could be the price, with Falkirk’s proposed safe standing plan set to cost the Bairns £30,000. For a team in the Scottish Championship, this is a great expense.
Safe standing brings needed atmosphere
Despite this, imagine if teams across Scotland had sections of fans bouncing and singing for a whole game. Fans would be willing to pay good money to get into these sections, due to the added atmosphere and excitement they would bring.
Safe standing and rail seating would give fans the choice again, the choice to sit or stand at the football. There will have been countless occasions where fans have stood up to get behind their team, only for another fan ask for them to remain seated.
Falkirk and Hearts are leading the way in terms of discussions, but they have to implement their plans correctly. They should not make it an exclusive section with exuberant prices. It has to aid the working class fan, so they can afford to access this part of the ground. They need to arrange it in the right way, for it’s the fans who will be left with the consequences if it all goes wrong.
Atmosphere at home games in Scotland, for the most part, isn’t great anymore. Safe standing would bring life back to many stadiums across Scotland.