December 6, 2014. Ahead of Manchester City's home game against Everton, a roomful of City and Everton fans at a packed city centre pub were given an update on the safe standing campaign and urged to press their clubs and MPs to back calls for trials.


Manchester City "watching developments with interest"

The event was run by the '1894 Group', City supporters better known for organising colourful pre-match displays (like the one pictured above at the 2014 City vs Utd derby). As well as our own Jon Darch, speakers included Dave Kelly of Everton's 'Blue Union' and the FSF and John Leech MP, a lifelong City fan and Liberal Democrat spokesman on culture, media and sport.

Kelly urged fans to get organised and to affiliate both as individuals and as the group to the FSF, while Leech (pictured below right) assured the audience that it was not a question of if safe standing would be introduced, but rather a question of when, going on to stress that standing behind rail seats would be much safer than the current largely accepted practice of standing behind conventional shin-high seat backs.

John Leech MP
Asked from the floor what fans could do to ensure that the introduction of safe standing happened sooner rather than later, Leech recommonded that fans take the matter up with their MP (although if they lived in the Withington constituency, they didn't need to, as that was him!), while Darch stressed that the more clubs that publicly backed the call for the trials, the more difficult the government would find it to resist. He reminded the meeting that 75% of Football League clubs had mandated their executive to go to government and seek permission for trials, but that Premier League clubs had been a little more coy about expressing public support, although based on what he had been told privately he gauged support for trials among Premier League clubs to be at least as high as the 75% at Football League level.

Dave Kelly and ESPN
Asked whether he had presented the rail seating concept to the executive team at Manchester City, he said that, yes, he had taken the roadshow to the ground for a presentation to club executives and that his understanding was that the club is watching developments with interest.

At the end of the meeting, a number of interviews were conducted by members of the press, including a film crew from ESPN Brazil.