West Ham will consider safe standing areas in their Olympic Stadium plans
22:33 GMT, 7 December 2012
Should there be safe standing at the Olympic Stadium
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West Ham co-owner David Gold has told fans he is ready to explore the possibility of incorporating a 'safe standing' area at the Olympic Stadium.
The Hammers were this week chosen as the preferred bidder for the site in Stratford which hosted the Games in such spectacular style through the summer.
To a question posed by Twitter user @Jamie_Seagrave, asking if safe standing could be used, Gold responded: 'I do hope so.'
Hammer time: West Ham will look into ideas to have safe standing should they take over the Olympic Stadium, like German clubs have incorporated in the Bundesliga (below)
German clubs, like Bourissa Dortmund (pictured), have safe standing areas
SECTION 11 OF THE FOOTBALL SPECTATORS ACT 1989
Secretary of State may, by order, direct the licensing authority to include in
any licence to admit spectators to any specified premises a condition imposing
requirements as respects the seating of spectators at designated football
matches at the premises; and it shall be the duty of the authority to comply
with the direction.'
A 19-strong London Legacy Development
Corporation board led by London mayor Boris Johnson unanimously agreed
to make West Ham their first-rank bidder – hopefully signalling at least
the beginning of the end of a still interminable legacy process.
there is still plenty of hard talking to go on before West Ham move in,
which is still not likely be until the 2016-17 season, if indeed it
League and successive governments have until now also opposed any
changes regarding standing areas to the Football Spectators Act 1989,
brought in after the Hillsborough disaster which cost the lives of 96
Liverpool supporters in the Leppings Lane end of Sheffield Wednesday’s
How it used to be: Aston Villa were keen to explore plans for a return to safe standing
Big Sam: West Ham must not create 'white elephant'
Sam Allardyce has
warned it would be a ‘disaster’ if West Ham move to the Olympic Stadium but do
not have the team to fill it with supporters.
The 58-year-old said: ‘You cannot
build a white elephant. The white elephant would be a great stadium and
no team. Disaster. We have to manage our finances carefully because of
the overriding debt of the football club. What David Sullivan and David
Gold do is top it up with their own wealth. But somewhere down the line
they want to create a situation where that does not have to happen.
‘The long term future of the football
club is not only a new stadium but a new training facility. Years of
good financial management is needed as well as success on the field.’
Allardyce is well aware of the impact
a brand new stadium can have on a football club. He used the Reebok
Stadium, finished in 1997, to build a solid Premier League club at
Bolton when he took over in 1999 and spent eight years there.
And Allardyce is keen to build a new
history for the club at the stadium. He added: ‘There’s always a lot of
disruption when a club decides to move from what is a huge history. West
Ham’s huge history is always going to be upsetting for some of the very
loyal supporters we have. [It’s a chance] for me to try to build a new
‘You never forget what’s happened before. It’s instilled in the football
club. But you want to build a new history for the young fans who come
to support West Ham, they want to have something to remember when they
get older. They can’t really remember when it happened way back in the
Bobby Moore days when the club was at its heights.
‘We’ve got to try to create a new history, well if you can do that in a
new stadium you’ll never forget the history but you take that with you
and try to build a better one.’
Once safety is secured in the Premier League this season, Allardyce will
sit down to discuss a new contract so he can be a part of building that
In October this
year Aston Villa became the first Premier League club to publicly back a
new campaign for trials of standing areas for fans in top-flight and
campaign has been launched by the Football Supporters' Federation (FSF)
and with Birmingham MP Roger Godsiff, Aston Villa and Peterborough have
both given their support to calls for the Government to allow
'small-scale trials of safe standing areas'.
Daykin, Safe Standing Coordinator at the FSF, said: 'For two decades
since the Taylor Report, the overwhelming majority of football
supporters have favoured a choice of standing and sitting at football,
and fans continue to stand throughout all levels of the game today, even
in the Premier League and Championship where it is against ground
regulations and facilities are designed for sitting.
was outlawed on grounds of safety, and yet successive governments have
agreed that standing is safe – it's hard not to when it is done
perfectly safely every week at rugby grounds, lower league football
grounds and in top football leagues all around the world.'
Last year the Hillsborough Family Support Group opposed any move to bring back standing areas.
spokesman Margaret Aspinall said then: 'The Hillsborough Family Support
Group are totally against any form of standing whatsoever. We are
absolutely against it and always will be. Our football clubs should
remain all-seater stadiums.
always say they have standing areas in Germany, but we don't play any
part over what happens in that country – we just believe there's no such
thing as safe standing in this country. We will not be encouraging the
government to change the law.'
Responding directly to the FSF campaign, a Premier League spokesman dismissed the idea.
said: 'Since the introduction of all-seater stadia the supporter
experience has improved significantly and we have seen more diverse
crowds attending Premier League matches including more women and
safety officers and licensing authorities remain clear on this issue and
have consistently informed us that crowd management has improved as a
result of all-seater stadia being in place in the top two divisions in
Tragedy: The Hillsborough Family Support Group are opposed to plans for safe standing – the 1989 stadium disaster saw all-seater stadia introduced to top-flight teams in England
Open to ideas: Hammers co-owner David Gold (L) responded to a fan's question on social networking site Twitter
'We will not be encouraging the Government to change the law.'
In 2011, prior to their relegation to
the fourth tier in Scotland, Rangers revealed they are 'willing to
explore the possibility' of a safe-standing section at Ibrox. Celtic and
Motherwell followed suit.
Scotland is not bound by the law which banned standing areas in top-flight football in England.
Artists impression of what the Olympic Stadium would look like should West Ham be handed the keys
ADAM SHERGOLD: MY VISIT TO HAMBURG HAS CONVINCED ME THAT SAFE STANDING SHOULD BE INTRODUCED TO ENGLISH GROUNDS…
I've been a big advocate of Safe Standing for many years and
a recent trip to Germany confirmed my belief that it's the way forward here
I went to watch the Bundesliga match between Hamburg and
Stuttgart at the Imtech Arena with three mates and there was no doubt in our
minds that in order to experience it properly, we would have to be standing.
In contrast to the top divisions in England, Safe Standing
areas are the norm in every Bundesliga stadium and have been for a number of
Because UEFA regulations are different, all of them can be
quickly converted into all-seated sections with bolt-in seats for Champions
League and Europa League games.
Plenty of colour: Hamburg fans at the Imtech Arena get the atmosphere going prior to their Bundesliga match with Stuttgart with a display of flags, scarves and banners
Unlike the vast, dangerous terraces of yesteryear, the Safe
Standing areas are ticketed to control numbers and fans can stand behind
retractable barriers. At Hamburg, there were also tall fences separating
'blocks' to prevent everyone rushing to the middle.
Standing also means a cheaper ticket – I was pleasantly surprised
to pay 15 euros (12) for my ticket, a price which included Metro travel to and
from the ground.
It's a point frequently made but a budget airline ticket and
a match ticket to a place like Hamburg, booked enough in advance, work out only
fractionally more expensive than admission to a big game at Old Trafford or the
As for the matchday experience, I must say it was excellent
– let down only by Hamburg losing 1-0.
Great view: The safe standing section at Hamburg offered great views of the action and the entire ground
The section was full but didn't feel cramped and the view of
the pitch was excellent. Stewarding was friendly and low key, you could happily
move to another spot if you wanted and easily escape to the snack bar for
another delicious hot dog.
It's so relaxed out there that fans drank Holsten in plastic
glasses in sight of the pitch – something long forbidden here – and there were
even Stuttgart fans stood behind us watching with Hamburg-supporting friends
and family without a hint of antagonism.
Before kick-off, there was a wonderful choreographed display
of flags and banners as streamers and tickertape fluttered down from the upper
Low down to our right, one of the Ultras clung to the
netting to conduct hundreds in boisterous singing and bouncing to the
relentless beat of the drum.
Noisy: The Hamburg Ultras with the flags in the centre of the stand generated an excellent atmosphere throughout the game
The noise quickly spread throughout the rest of the stand
with everyone clapping along, twirling their blue and white scarves and belting
out their backing with heart and passion.
It was a superior atmosphere to anything I've experienced in
the Premier League and there's no question that was because fans who want to
sing were allowed to stand.
Its introduction in the Premier League should also be used
as an opportunity to reduce ticket prices (though I'm not holding my breath)
and win back some of those, particularly young, fans who fall out of love with
the game because they can't afford to watch it live.
My experience at Hamburg only strengthened a long-held
belief that Safe Standing should be pursued with vigour by the Premier League,
its clubs and politicians and I can’t wait to get out to a German game again