The Guardian today reports on a survey carried out by the Liverpool Supporters Trust (The Spirit of Shankly) which shows a large majority of the club's supporters are in favour of the introduction of safe standing (rail seats) at Anfield
This news closely follow the announcement by Shrewsbury Town that they plan to become the first English club to introduce a standing section. Shrewsbury’s development is groundbreaking in that it will be the first time a club with an all-seat stadium actively chooses to alter some of those seats to introduce a standing section. The club are fundraising , aiming to raise £75,000, to put rail seats into two blocks at the back of the South Stand (so as not to disturb the views of those who want to sit in front of them). They are hoping to get the money and the necessary amendments to the safety certificate during the upcoming season, allowing them to get cracking, find a gap in the fixtures to get the builders in, and host approximately 500 standing fans as soon as possible.
Shrews supporter Roger Groves who has been driving the campaign says:
"It might not be for everyone but it gives a very safe option for those who do like to stand. It has been a background conversation for years but it is becoming mainstream. Campaigners deliberately wanted to be respectful while the Hillsborough inquests were on, but once they were concluded last May, the mood music has changed. The Premier League, which as a body had not discussed it previously, began collecting views from its members since November. Clubs like West Brom, and perhaps others privately, have come forward offering to be pilot sites. The successful introduction of rail seating at Celtic has also been important.”
Jon Darch of the Football Supporters Federation adds:
“The idea that what we have now is safer is illogical. We have thousands of fans every Saturday standing in areas that are not designed for purpose. You could argue that the governing body for safety at sports grounds ought to be insisting upon fitting rail seats as they are safer. Even safety officers say that if you stand with a rail in front of you and one behind you, you can’t fall over.
I’d be extremely surprised if within five years every club in the country has not got the opportunity to deliver a safe standing area. It might be quite a bit sooner. The Football League have a mandate from their clubs. The Premier League is in a consultation period. If it becomes consensus and the EPL, EFL and Football Association ask the government to have a look at it with a united front, if every major stakeholder is saying they want this, the government would surely want to look seriously at it.”
Charlton Athletic CEO Katrien Meire has said that the club have no in principle objection to the idea and CAS Trust is planning to bring the FSF Safe Standing road show to the Valley some time this season.