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.


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