Arsenal fans overwhelmingly support safe standing

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Earlier this year, the Arsenal Supporter’s Trust carried out a survey of Arsenal fans (not just its members), on the issue of safe standing in football stadia.

In conjunction with AISA, REDaction and the Black Scarf Movement, over 7,000 responses were collated, and the results show an overwhelming support for the idea of standing in football grounds.

Key findings include:

  • More than 96% of fans are in favour of safe standing at the football grounds.
  • Over three quarters (76%) of Arsenal fans surveyed said that they would want to utilise safe standing if it was available.
  • 85% of fans who said they would not use safe standing themselves were still in favour of
    there being safe standing areas in the ground.
  • Just over 2.5% of fans objected to any form of safe safe standing.

In terms of the club’s role in helping make safe standing a reality, 92% of respondents wanted Arsenal to champion the cause, and 94% suggested some form of safe standing trial should take place at the Emirates.

Some of the questions asked and the graphical representations of the responses follow.

Which most closely describes your opinion about standing at football

Which most closely describes your opinion about standing at football
Which most closely describes your opinion about standing at football

View on safe standing by age

View on safe standing by age
View on safe standing by age

How likely would you be to attend games if there were a safe standing area?

How likely would you be to attend games if there were a safe standing area?
How likely would you be to attend games if there were a safe standing area?

The full report as well as comments and responses can be downloaded from the website of the AST.

For extra reading on safe standing, its implementation, how it’s being used elsewhere, check out this column by Tim Stillman, while the BBC’s video on ‘rail seating’ at Celtic is worth a watch.

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22 Comments on "Arsenal fans overwhelmingly support safe standing"

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Matt @ BrewCityGunners
Matt @ BrewCityGunners

I was lucky enough to sit in the safe standing section at the Orlando City Stadium this past month. GREAT atmosphere throughout the whole match. Sitting at a football match, for me at least, just isn’t natural.

Danny

I would love this, please Arsenal make it happen!

ChrisM

Would it effectively increase the number of people who could go to a match or are there other limits that would prevent this (e.g. safety regulations)?

David Hillier\'s luggage
David Hillier\'s luggage

I was under the impression that TfL and the Met police set the figure at 60000, they’d have to cross that hurdle first if they want to use safe standing to increase capacity.

Paul

When I’m there lots stand anyway. Always safe. So long as no chance of another Hillsborough we will be happy.

Paul

* I am

Bould\'s Eyeliner

Funny how the numbers for fans’ opinions aren’t even half as well-developed when it comes to things like our opinion on the manager.

All for safe-standing and it would be really cool, especially since international fans like myself will have an easier time getting into a match should we visit the Emirates. Last time, I was but a measly student so I couldn’t afford it, but would love to go spend some time with fellow gooners, romping around a bit, clinking a few pints instead of sitting around.

BidOnLard

I never could understand just sitting and watching a game.

Goonerrific

My understanding is that the chairs will be exchanged or locked to make it standing, so the numbers and space will remain the same.

Some sort of bar is installed to lean on, as European games will still be all seater…

Or something like that.

Mein Bergkampf

But where will I rest my prawn sandwich while I have a nip of sherry?

COYG

Didn’t RedAction and AST try to orchestrate fan boycotts? Maybe just RedAction and DimTim.

Gooner223

BSM was another group that wholly promoted boycotts.

baz00r

I think it would be much needed for the Emirates atmosphere. Only problem is you would really want to group all the like minded fans in the same area to make this really work, would that mean shifting peoples season ticket seats around? How would that work? Some people might get crappier seats?

Matt @ BrewCityGunners
Matt @ BrewCityGunners

Link to some of the pictures I took of Orlando City’s ground & safe standing section.

https://twitter.com/BrewCityGunners/status/853622915518144513

baz00r

Nice pics. That looks like a really cool ground to watch a football match. Standing area looks like it would be lots of fun to be part of.

Mein Bergkampf

And the results are in. We asked Arsenal supporters if they wanted to see pictures of a random football stadium half way round the world. And… no one cares.

Original Paul

Elton John has said he is still standing apparently.

robstar

Everyone has their own preference, I like to sit in the upper tier, its the inner manager in me where I want to see all the pitch and players at all times. My wife would hate standing which leads me to suspect a certain demographic of fan pushing for something which has long gone. We have a 65k stadium, Arsenal are passed “a gang of lads going to the footie”. I am generalising here but it could lead to men of a certain age standing in one place, women in another, families in another and first timers sprinkled wherever, it could make the atmosphere worse and segregate an already strained “Arsenal community”. 7000 is a very small sample size for Arsenal, we could get that number of people to watch Bellerin braid his hair. But in the end it comes down to this, if it meant Arsenal were to go the season unbeaten I would go and sit on the floor cross legged.

baz00r

It makes sense to put all the fans of a similar nature together, this is the problem with the Emirates right now, there are no big blocks of fans that are willing to standup the whole match, chant together, waves flags around and generally improve the atmosphere. Somehow I don’t think a mother and her children are going to care in the slightest if they are not sitting near some loudmouth male supporters. Grouping that type of fan together can have a good impact, for example Dortmunds Yellow Wall and the Kop at Anfield.

JJs Bender

I really hope that we can introduce this just after Shite Hart Lane 2 is completed, so after their petty attempt to have the biggest stadium in London (they have 500 more) is finished we swoop in and smash another 750 in there.
Fuck you Levy

David Hillier\'s luggage
David Hillier\'s luggage

I would like to see safe standing, however there’s probably little benefit from the club’s perspective as we’re limited to a maximum of 60,000 for policing and transport reasons. One of the major benefit of the system is increased capacity (and therefore revenue), if we’re stuck at 60k with probably reduced prices for the standing section and the costs of implementation, there’s no financial benefit for the club. Given we officially sell out every game, they’ll actually be loosing money.

Yes, the atmosphere will be better but do the club really care about that? If TFL and the Met could work out a deal to increase our match day numbers to 65-70,000 they’d be lobbying the FA and Premier League in a flash as it would mean at least an extra £5-8m a season in gate money (let alone the good PR).

GraeB

We have great seats at Emirates and no need to stand but I can’t remember when we last sat in them! I remember in the early days that the stewards would make an attempt and get everyone seated and then someone would start with “Stand up if you hate Totnum“ and it was all undone. Fans would stand as soon as an attack came toward the North Bank end or if it went the corner, despite there being no need as sight lines had been carefully planned.

The problem with standing at Highbury resulted from the large distances people could travel forward when pushed and from the non-ticketing which allowed opposing fans into home areas. (Remember, Gooners was actually the name given to the fighting fans of the club who went looking for trouble. The name has since become a title for all AFC fans)

Emirates seats are very tall (noticed particularly at Wembley when I realised that I couldn’t just lean back on it during the game) and make standing safe as you can’t easily fall/be pushed over the seat in front as could happen with cheaper seating (like Wembley’s).

I think though that seats need to be clearly identified as being in standing areas to avoid the situation we had at Wembley where the 4 kids behind us couldn’t see properly (we had to stand because of all those in front). Also at Emirates, some more elderly/infirm fans don’t get a chance. Standing areas also need to be off centre to avoid the spoilt view for seated areas.

So, we already have standing areas at Emirates, both home and away, but not officially recognised as this would cause licensing issues. It does need some more attention as to how to get these sanctioned for the comfort of all.

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