FSF and safe standing roadshow in Liverpool
On June 23rd 2011, we attended an open meeting on safe standing organised by the FSF in Liverpool. Held at The Sandon public house, just a stone's throw from Anfield, the meeting was attended by around 60 people.
Attendees were able to pose questions to a four-strong panel chaired by Times football editor Tony Evans, himself a Liverpool fan and present at Hillsborough. It also included Malcolm Clarke, chairman of the FSF, Professor Steve Frosdick, founder member of the UK Football Safety Officers' Association, and Paul Jones, a Kop season ticket holder, who was also at Hillsborough.
On their way into the meeting many of those attending took a good look at the roadshow unit, standing behind the rails and trying out the seats. There were also several camera crews and reporters milling around, with reports later carried on BBC North West and Sky TV and in the Liverpool daily newspaper, The Echo.
A local Merseyside production company, StickMedia, (pictured above interviewing Prof. Frosdick) also filmed footage for a report of the night, which is shown below:
Some of those in attendance clearly bore the historical legacy of Hillsborough and the debate was always likely to be emotive. And while there were comments beforehand that holding a safe standing meeting in the shadow of Anfield seemed insensitive, the debate was largely frank, honest and open-minded, and a number of good points were made from the floor both by those in support of safe standing and those against.
A number of those in the crowd spoke of their experiences at the Leppings Lane End of Hillsborough in 1989, and their opinions on safe standing covered the whole spectrum from full-hearted support through to cautious acceptance and outright opposition.
The discussions continued after the event in the media and on online messageboards.
All in all, it was a very worthwhile meeting and it was good to have had the chance to engage in a reasoned debate with some of the firmest opponents to our proposals.