Consistency. It's what most football teams strive for and few achieve. Well, in respect of his views on safe standing West Ham co-chairman David Gold is nothing if not consistent. Consistent in his support. As evidenced by a series of statements over the last 2 years.Many supportive words from chairman Gold
December 2011 - Twitter"I am in favour of small areas of controlled safe standing. DG"
January 2012 - Twitter"I am in favour of safe standing the key is in the title 'safe'. DG"
November 2012 - TV (SportsTonightLive - see video here
Gold: "I've recently seen a German model of safe standing. It actually is a seat that you leave up and you can stand there and then for other functions they can actually drop the seat down very quickly with a mechanism. So it can be done and I think that we should at least take a look at it
, not close our eyes to the fact ..."
TV host: "Would you have that at West Ham?"
Gold: "If I got the Olympic Stadium, I'd certainly consider it then
December 2012 - Twitter
“@Jamie_Seagrave: @DavidGoldWHU David, Is there anyway to have 'safe standing' at the olympic stadium? I hope so. DG
January 2013 - Twitter"We already have unsafe standing which also stops fans that want to sit from doing so. I'm in favor of safe standing. DG"
March 2013 - Twitter"I support safe standing I have done so for many years."
March 2013 - Twitter
"@DavidGoldWHU have you looked at safe standing? Yes, I support it. DG
March 2013 - Twitter"I would hope in the future to increase the capacity with safe standing."
April 2013 - Twitter"I believe that safe standing is a viable alternative to the current unsafe and anti-social standing."
So great support from the co-chairman. Hopefully formal support from the club will soon follow.
March 2013. Leeds United have become the 23rd club in English league football to formally back the Football Supporters’ Federation's Safe Standing Campaign, announcing that they would be happy to back changes to regulations to allow safes standing rail seats.Marching on together - Leeds Utd join campaign
Club Chief Executive Shaun Harvey said: “Leeds United would be happy to support the changes required to Football League regulations to allow safe standing rail seats, in the event that Peterborough United are successful in their lobbying of Government to achieve a change in current legislation.
With Leeds United becoming the 23rd club to offer their support it means that a quarter of the clubs in the Premier League and Football League have now formally backed the Safe Standing Campaign. The Scottish Premier League also supports the campaign.
Furthermore, more than half of the Football League now either formally support the campaign or already have standing at their ground.
Leeds United Supporters’ Trust (LUST) welcomed the move and said that they hoped the club would consider the possibility of rail seating in the Kop, should legislation allow it.
Chair Gary Cooper said: “This is something that LUST has long campaigned for, we hope the football authorities and the Government look again at safe standing. We fully support the rail seating system currently being demonstrated across the country.
“It’s clear from the feedback we’ve had from our 9,000+ membership that supporters want to be able to stand and sing while supporting their clubs, no more so than at Elland Road. We urge the club to look again at the possibility of rail seating in the Kop.
Thanks to Gary and Shaun for agreeing this statement of support.
March 2013. Following a visit by the roadshow to Oakwell last month and discussions between the Supporters' Trust and the club, Barnsley have become the 22nd club in England and Wales to back the safe standing campaign.Barnsley support safe standing
In a statement given to the Supporters' Trust the Tykes said: “Barnsley Football Club work tirelessly to make Oakwell Stadium a ‘supporter friendly stadium’. We recognise that some of our supporters would like to stand at our games in a safe and controlled environment.
“Having such areas would alleviate the main problem faced by our stewards on matchdays, where large numbers of supporters stand up to the detriment of those wanting to remain seating.
“We therefore happily lend our support to the Football Supporters’ Federation in calling for trials of all types’ of safe standing areas and look forward to both the Government and the football authorities recognising and implementing such trials.
Thanks to Alan Bloore at the Trust and all at the club for giving the campaign this support.
February 2013. Support for safe standing has been official Liberal Democrat policy since 2008. Previously championed in particular by Don Foster, the baton has now been picked up by John Leech, a Manchester City season ticket holder of some 29 years.
LibDem's John Leech reiterates support for safe standing
I met John in Westminster in February and found that he fully 'gets it'
and is right behind the campaign. This was also borne out by an article
that he wrote that same month for the Manchester Evening News, reproduced on his website
, as shown below.
In the article he said: "I genuinely believe that safe standing would be better than the current arrangement when people stand up in seated area for most of the game. Surely, safe standing is an idea whose time has come
Hopefully more and more politicians will come to think this way!
February 2013. Shrewsbury Town have become the 21st club to give their official support to the Safe Standing Campaign. The club’s decision came after discussions with the Safe Standing Roadshow and lobbying from supporters.Shrewsbury Town back safe standing trials
The Shrews said: “As a club that prides itself on keeping fully abreast of the latest developments in the game, Shrewsbury Town FC have been closely monitoring the ongoing debate on safe standing.
“While we moved into a new stadium in 2007 that provides comfortable, all-seater accommodation to supporters in four individual stands, we appreciate that some of our fans do prefer to watch football standing up
The League One side have ambitions of playing in the Championship in the “not too distant future” and, if permitted, would consider developing some of the four corners of the New Meadow into safe standing areas.
“Should trials of safe standing areas using rail seats be permitted and prove successful, that may allow us to consider building such areas in one or two corners at some point in the future,” said the club's statement.
“In order that we might have this freedom to consider that option one day, we therefore support the Football Supporters' Federation in its call on Government to allow a limited number of small-scale safe standing trials.
Shrews fan Justin Gill was instrumental in persuading the club to back safe standing and said he was delighted by the news, “It’s great to see that the club is backing the safe standing campaign and modern rail seat technology is a far cry from the terraces of the 1980s.
Shrewsbury Town are the 21st club to back the Safe Standing Campaign following in the footsteps of Aldershot Town
, Aston Villa
, Brentford, Bristol City
, Cardiff City
, Crystal Palace
, Derby County
, Doncaster Rovers
, Exeter City
, Hull City
, Oldham Athletic
, Peterborough United
, Plymouth Argyle
, Swansea City
, Swindon Town
, AFC Wimbledon
and Wolverhampton Wanderers
. The Scottish Premier League
also supports the introduction of safe standing areas.
January 2013. Following a successful visit to the Reddish Blues branch of the Manchester City Supporters Club in November, it was back off to the North West in mid-January for a visit to another branch of the club.Manchester City fans run rule over rail seats
This time it was off to see the Hazel Grove Blues. On a cold, snowy night around 50 fans had braved the weather and asked plenty of pertinent questions about rail seats and safe standing.
Given the limited space inside the venue, the single-seat demo unit was used this time, rather than the full 4-seat rig (so, if you'd like a demo and only have limited space, don't be put off - it can still be done!).
Sandwiched between these two visits Supporters Club branches, Manchester City had been reported in the media as intending "to trial standing at the Etihad Stadium
" and wanting "to spearhead the campaign to bring safe standing to the Premier League
" (see here
). Judging from the level of support at both roadshow meetings, that would certainly go down well with their fans were they to do so.
January 2013. The roadshow was out on the road in Yorkshire for two days in succession in early January, spreading the word first at Doncaster Rovers and a short drive away at Barnsley FC.Yorkshire roadshow double-header
The visit to Doncaster Rovers was as part of a Fans Forum attended by the chairman, chief executive, shareholders and supporters of the club. Rovers had already previously given their support to the safe standing campaign back in December, when CEO Gavin Baldwin (left in picture on left) said: "The club believe that the creation of a safe standing area at the ground would allow these supporters to stand in a safe, controlled environment and allow them to have a match day experience that suits their needs
The roadshow served to let the directors and fans see rail seats close up and also resulted in welcome TV coverage for the campaign.
The next day it was over to Barnsley to give club executives the chance to to take a quiet look at the roadshow unit, which we set up below the East Stand at Oakwell.
Organised by Alan Bloore (on the left in the picture to the right), chairman of Barnsley Supporters' Trust, the visit subsequently led to Barnsley too giving their formal backing to the call for standing at all levels of football to be allowed by the authorities.
January 2013. Following December’s Parliamentary showcase 'The Case for Safe Standing in Football', which was attended by Swidon Town Stadium and Operations Manager Mark Isaacs, the club has now formally confirmed its support for safe standing trials.Swindon Town become 20th club to back safe standing
The Robins said: “Swindon Town is a club that prides itself on listening to its fans and when surveys such as the recent one run by fan website TheWashbag.com indicate that 87% of Town supporters would welcome the introduction of a safe standing area as part of redevelopment of the County Ground, we are naturally only too happy to have that debate and explore whether that is something that may be possible in the years ahead.”
“We believe that such [safe standing] trials would be useful for the football community as a whole in order to enable all concerned to take fully informed, evidence-based decisions on the possible wider introduction of such areas in the future. Swindon Town Football Club fully supports Villa and Peterborough in their request to be allowed to run such trials
In August and September 2012 TheWashbag.com surveyed Swindon Town supporters’ views on safe standing at the County Ground. 87% said that they would like provision for safe standing in any redevelopment if it was permitted. TheWashbag.com argued that it would be in the club’s interest to back the safe standing campaign and, to the Robins’ credit, they have done just that.
Ron Smith, Editor of TheWashbag.com
, said: “With such a strong display of public support we were pleased with Swindon Town's response and held a constructive meeting with Mark Isaacs. Clearly the club have listened to their supporters in making this statement in support of Aston Villa and Peterborough United being allowed to undertake the safe standing trials.
“These will provide a vital tool to further test the already strong case for safe standing areas in the Premier League and Football League. TheWashbag.com welcomes the opportunity of working with the club and supporters' groups to see safe standing become a reality at the County Ground
January 2013. Oldham Athletic have joined the constantly growing list of football clubs supporting the Football Supporters' Federation's call for trials of safe standing areas fitted with rail seats.Oldham Athletic back safe standing trials
Jenny Warburton, Commercial Manager at Oldham Athletic, said: “While under current regulations we are not able to offer the choice we note with interest the growing support from fellow clubs for the FSF in its call on the Government to permit a limited number of trials of safe standing areas fitted with ‘rail seats’.
“We believe that the rail seat concept has merit and could provide football clubs that currently have all-seater stadia with a safe and well-managed means of enabling fans to watch football standing up. We would therefore encourage the relevant authorities to permit trials of the rail seat system with a view thereafter to defining appropriate criteria under which it could be introduced in future at grounds such as ours
Fans of Oldham Athletic welcomed their club’s support for safe standing trials. Dave Moore of Oldham Athletic Mad said: “I'm delighted that the club are publicly supporting the call for safe standing trials. We have plans for building a new stand so if the trials go well I hope that it can incorporate standing accommodation.”
Thanks to Jenny and all at Oldham for their support. If you would like your club to add their name to the list of clubs calling for safe standing trials, please put them in touch with us via safe.standing at gmx.com.
Tuesday December 11th 2012 saw over 60 football club executives, Members of Parliament, safety experts and journalists come together in Portcullis House, Westminster to discuss the case safe standing in football. The Case for Safe Standing in Football
The event featured a panel made up of chairman Roger Godsiff MP, Brian Doogan (Head of Media, Aston Villa), Bob Symns (Chief Executive, Peterborough United), Fiona McGee (researcher and writer), Professor Steve Frosdick (independent safety expert) and Supt. Steven Graham (W. Midlands Police).
Superintendent Graham made it clear that he believed standing did not turn decent football fans into thugs, saying “If you put a decent person on a terrace, they’re a decent person. If you put someone with criminal intent in a seated area, they’re someone with criminal intent who may misbehave. To say that just because you put someone in a standing area, they will misbehave, is fundamentally wrong.
The person who threw the coin at Rio Ferdinand threw it from a seated area. The person who jumped on the ground at Hillsborough and assaulted the goalkeeper [Sheffield Wednesday’s Chris Kirland] did so from a seated area. It wasn’t the fact they were in terraces that made them behave like that. They behaved like that because they’re morons. They behaved like that because they’re criminals.
Mr Graham's opening remarks in full can be seen in the video below:
Contributions from others (more will follow shortly) can be viewed on our YouTube channel
, i.e. contributions from:Bob SymnsSteve FrosdickKate Hoey MPPaul Goggins MP
A full report of the event can be found here
on the Football Supporters' Foundation's website, while full audio of the event can be listened to here