Safe standing: Most Pompey fans are in favour of the intitiative

Pompey fans have had their say on safe standing
Pompey fans have had their say on safe standing
Pompey defender Jack Whatmough Picture: Joe Pepler

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Have your say

Jordan Cross explores the debate of safe standing with three further prominent Pompey and the issues arising from one of the most emotive subjects in football...

Ashley Brown, Supporters Direct chief executive and Pompey Supporters’ Trust chairman, shared his views on portsmouth.co.uk earlier today.

Johnny Moore is Pompey’s supporter liaison officer and has previously helped stage a safe standing roadshow at Fratton Park. He said...

I think there is a hunger for safe standing again.

As someone who came from that era where you stood up, I can certainly see why that’s so.

The problem has always been legislation but there seems to be a softening of stance with trials taking place all of the time.

You can see it happening in Scotland now and I think it’s just a matter of time until it comes here.

The supporters I speak to, most of them, if not all, are in favour of seeing what it’s all about.

It’s on the agenda again and it has been for some time but the argument to have safe standing is gaining credence and momentum as we go along.

I was involved in helping to hold a safe-standing roadshow at Fratton Park a few years ago as well as attending one when it was at Bristol City.

So that underlines there’s always been that hunger to see it back in the game and how it could possibly be implemented.

If people are given the choice, it can only be a good thing.

We’re not saying people have to stand but there should be an option that if people want to stand, they can.

At Cheltenham recently I decided to go and stand up in the second half.

There was absolutely no problem doing that and it felt quite refreshing to be able to do it.

I wouldn’t have thought there was an issue with safety these days.

There may be problems arising but nothing you couldn’t sit around the table and look at.

Let’s be honest, we are never going to go back to the old day of terraces everywhere.

Some fans stand up these days at grounds and it feels alien to them.

I know one or two who weren’t young enough to remember the days when you stood on the terraces but prefer it if they have the option to stand.

I was at Cambridge with one young fan recently and, given the option of sitting or standing, he chose to stand. He’s 15. It’s about choice.

I would look to see it at Fratton Park moving forward but I wouldn’t like to jump ahead of myself on the details.

It would be good to give people the choice they have already had a couple of times on the road this season.

I’m talking from the perspective of ‘if’ and if it’s the case we can do it one day, I think it’d be good to give people the choice.

Pam Wilkins is Pompey Supporters’ Trust (PST)vice-chairman. She was also the Football Supporters’ Federation (FSF) southern division representative on its national council for six years and is currently FSF’s southern division secretary. Wilkins said...

I’ve always been 100 per cent in favour of safe standing and it’s good to hear that Mark Catlin is in favour of it, too.

Going back, I always stood at the back of the north terrace in the old days.

I always felt very unsafe when I was made to sit down because I couldn’t choose where I was or who I was with.

It also wasn’t as easy to be able to move around.

I just prefer to stand at football. Equally, there are people who can’t stand or don’t want to stand and they should have the choice.

The people who want to sit shouldn’t have people disrupting them.

Say, for example, we made the back of the Fratton End safe standing. We’d all be happy standing at the back and the people in front would be happy sitting.

That’s the way I could see it going, or perhaps on the north terrace.

There could be a way of rebuilding the Milton End, moving the away fans and having a section of safe standing there, too.

But you are talking about the redevelopment of the ground there and how that would be done.

Mike Saunders (PST board member) is very hot on it.

Mike has been important in looking at options for our home moving forward.

You could get more people safe standing over a seat space.

However, according to the Sports Ground Safety Authority you wouldn’t be able to do that because of the gangways and the facilities would have to be changed as well.

That’s because they are only licensed for the number of people in that section.

With rail seating, there is a bar which goes along each row so you would never get the surges which took place on old terraces.

I think the authorities have not recognised it’s not a safety issue – it’s a control issue.

They like the idea of us all sitting in a seat and they know which bum is on which seat number.

The Football Supporters’ Federation was adamant they would stop their campaign for safe standing out of respect to Liverpool fans while the Hillsborough Inquiry was taking place.

But now they’ve been exonerated and the inquest is over they are going to give it a big push again.

Ken Malley (former PST chairman) was on the national council and second-in-command on the fans’ embassies before he died.

Ken was very much in favour of safe standing.

He would have been incredibly proud to see us with a safe-standing section at Fratton Park.

I just have this awful fear that by the time they bring it in, I will be too old to stand up at games!

Roy Gregory is Pompey Supporters’ Club central branch chairman. He added...

I commend Mark Catlin in trying to get the Football Association on board and gaining momentum with safe standing.

It’s a tough one because it’s going to be a government decision if it’s to be pushed through.

But we have to start somewhere and I’m in favour of there being safe-standing areas, for sure.

That doesn’t withstand people who sit in a seat who want to stand in exciting moments during games.

That should never be stopped, in my opinion.

But if someone wants to stand for the whole game, I think they should definitely have that choice.

In terms of Fratton Park, I think most people think it should be the upper section of the Fratton End which should be safe standing.

That would work as a standing area.

I wouldn’t have thought it would be so easy to put in place, however.

There will be people who have their seats there who don’t want to move.

Say I sit in the Fratton End upper, that’s becomes safe standing and I don’t want to stand or move. That becomes an issue.

So, yes, I’d like to see safe standing at Fratton Park but implementing it could be a different thing.

I’ve been to Germany and games where there are safe standing. It works really well over there.

I can go back at Fratton Park to when the only real seating was the North Stand and South Stand upper sections.

The rest was all terracing, which is all there still.

I think people would think you could turn that back to safe standing.

But I guess that wouldn’t be deemed as safe.

It wouldn’t be case of just throwing them in and job done.

In Wolfsburg I saw it and there were the railings everywhere. That would come at cost.

So, yes, I would like to see it trialled – but I do understand the difficulties in implementing it.