Standing is the best way to see a game
S someone who lived in Sheffield at the time of the Hillsborough disaster, I’ll never forget the horror of that day. Being in the city, and being involved in football, I talked to many people who saw firsthand the devastation it caused to so many families.
So any debate on a return to standing at football must first and foremost be about making sure something like that never happens again. If that can’t be 100 per cent assured, forget it. The world doesn’t need another Hillsborough.
But as someone who grew up watching football standing on the Kop at Bramall Lane, there’s a big part of me that would love the terraces to return.
I had some great days there. I had a flat cap and short trousers. My dad used to work shifts at the steelworks, so we’d always get in about a minute late.
We used to climb up the hill at the back of the Kop – it seemed like Mount Everest at that age. Then we’d pay pennies to get in, maybe half a shilling or something. My dad would tap somebody on the shoulder and he would lift me up. Then he’d shout: “Boy coming!”, and I’d be passed over everybody’s heads, all the way to the front.
My dad would just say: “Enjoy the game. I’ll meet you at the end by the railings at the front”. Then that was me, watching the game with all the other little ’uns.
I absolutely loved it, and I think people these days would love it just as much. The camaraderie in the stands was fantastic, with everybody singing and shouting. There’s no doubt in my mind that standing fans generate a better atmosphere. And it would hopefully be a little bit cheaper, meaning grounds got a little bit fuller.
Bristol City are set to trial a safe standing area at Ashton Gate, so all eyes will be on them. If it works, I’d imagine most clubs would follow suit.
GOOD DEAL: Nicky Maynard has joined Wigan on loan from Cardiff