In the last few weeks we have seen that our footballing family in Liverpool have finally been provided with the facts about Hillsborough. Firstly I want to applaud the various groups who have never given up in their fight for the truth.
We now know that crowd management failed, and that the ground was an accident waiting to happen yet the FA and Police saw no reason to move the game to a safer venue.
Something else occurred to me, the Taylor Report as a result of the tragedy recommended that standing areas be removed from all football grounds and seats installed in their place. We as football fans were subject to being tarred with a now known to be invisible brush.
Strangely the Taylor Report seemed to be critical of the Policing of the event, and disregarded many of the conspiracies of late tickets and alcohol consumption. Taylor also refers to the safety of the ground, the fact that this was the 9th such report in recent history on safety of fans in football grounds.
However the Government and Police Authorities of the time seemed to have performed a masterstroke by employing the Sun to publish a number of lies regarding the tragedy. This seemed to stick with the public in general and the loss of terracing was inevitable along with a general cleaning up of the game as recommended by the Taylor Report. It was not all bad it refers to the the squalor that some of us had to bear, the lack of toilets etc and suggested that there was apathy amongst owners to improve the lot of the fans.
So my question today is do the recent revelations mean that the Taylor report was flawed? Should they have banned terracing or just demanded improved safety measures?
Afterall the terracing itself did not cause this disaster, the fences, the pens, the poor signage the failure to operate the Leppings Lane End properly (fill up each pen at a time) led to the disaster, they are all mentioned in Taylor’s Report.
I sat down in protest on the North Bank after my last chance to stand on it, along with many others. I was only 16, I had graduated from standing at the front of the Junior Gunners section to standing at the back of the North Bank from about the age of 14. I always enjoyed when we went f***ing mental for no other reason than we all wanted to change position.
Did I ever feel unsafe? Not once.
In our Health and Safety culture I know we will not return to those terraces, but we only have to look to Germany and teams like Dortmund to see how good it can be. The safe standing areas can house 3 people where every seat is. They are still to my knowledge allocated a space, so tickets can still be sold in their current way. Currently we pay £35 for a seat behind the goal, the club could probably charge £15 each for standing,treble the capacity at both ends of the ground and increase revenue whilst making it cheaper for fans.
Before you vote I ask you to look at the Hoffenheim Stadium and see how the Safe Standing Terraces are implemented, the website linked is also very interesting read.
Unfortunately I don’t see this being implemented at the Emirates, the design probably does not allow it, and we will have issues attempting to raise the capacity of the ground.
So my question to you all, should a return to standing be allowed?
Written by Gooner in Exile