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 Post subject: BUGLE NO 12
PostPosted: Sat Apr 28, 2018 10:23 am 
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Joined: Mon Nov 22, 2010 1:23 pm
Posts: 74
SAFE STANDING

When I was a kid in the early 80s, I used to love going shopping to Thornaby Woolco on a Saturday afternoon. My mother thought I went to help her carry the shopping bags back to my grandads, but for me, it meant one thing, and one thing only! Football shirts!!! They had loads; my favourite will always be the Man City shirt with the Umbro logo down the arms and the outlandishly sized white collar. I liked the shirt so it meant I liked the team. Strange logic but true although after seeing Luton Town manager David Pleat running on the field on Grandstand which sent City down meant I didn’t rekindle the love affair with the Citizens until 1994. Other shirts that were bought or passed down from my middle brother included Celtic, Watford, Southampton, Spurs le coq sportif, Newcastle’s lovely Umbro silver away shirt and, Liverpool’s Umbro with the white trim lines then the Adidas kit that followed. Never grew out of kits and never will!!! My sudden nostalgia came about because of the issue on safe standing in the news this week. Watching the European cup final between Liverpool and Juventus is still vivid in the memory. The Heysel disaster was the precursor for what was to come at Hillsborough. I remember the final being a non event - Liverpool’s players just wanted the game out of the way and get back home. The Hillsborough disaster, still haunts to this day. The unfolding events could be seen on Grandstand but in Ireland, where the game between Liverpool and Notts Forrest was beamed live on RTE, Ireland’s version of the BBC, inadvertently broadcasted one camera angle that showed the horror of the situation. On You Tube, you can find highlights of Sheffield Wednesday’s midweek game versus West Ham that immediately followed the disaster and seeing the devastation that was left behind. So, the issue of safe standing is a highly sensitive one in the UK. In Germany, the famous Dortmund stand behind the home goal, switches from seating to standing depending on tournament requirements. For a Bundesliga game, it can hold up to a staggering 25,000 standing supporters with beer in hand. Celtic trialed safe standing and generally, the switch was a success. The only positive thing that came out of the disaster was the Taylor Report forcing the top two division clubs to change their grounds to all-seater stadiums and quite frankly, the majority of the grounds were not safe in my opinion. Going to watch Boro or Sunderland meant metal railings and plastic style barbed wiring - supporters hurled up like cattle. My view on safe standing is this: it’s called safe standing for a reason! The stadiums will be ticketed as normal and clubs should have the opportunity to change at least 20% of the ground into standing. Closely monitored, it will work. For many, particularly for those families who have lost relatives in any football related disaster, the concept of reintroducing standing opens up old wounds. This is wholly understandable but we now live in a modern age and bringing back standing isn’t looking backwards, it’s looking forwards. The 80’s was a dark time for supporters - violence, racism, safety, the only positives I can think of was the kits on show and Match of the day (Kenny Dalglish goal where the ball sticks inside the goal junction). We have an opportunity to bring back the atmosphere into grounds, the one asset that was lost. Heysel, Hillsborough and Valley Parade will never be forgotten but other countries have shown how safe standing does have a place at the home of football once again.

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