JAN
19
2012
Mickey Blue Eyes...
Unsafe in any shape
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TERRACES: WHERE I STAND

By

Mickey Blue Eyes

 

".......The tom-tom beat of latter day tribalism......"

GEORGE ORWELL.

 

 

Whenever you think an issue has been finally settled in human affairs you find you are wrong. In football, take the matter of standing terraces. In recent months there have been reports of an experimental return to "safe-standing" terraces in English and Scottish football. You would have thought this proposal moronic, irresponsible and indecent even by footy standards, especially with a football history spattered with recurring tragedy and outright Nazism aided mostly (but not only) by standing accommodation.

 

So I'll make my position absolutely clear: if standing terraces ever return en masse to English football stadia I will cease supporting the professional game, walk away, and never look back. It would be the final straw. It would be as though the British game has learned nothing or has decided to ignore terrible lessons of the past. The fact is there can be no such thing as "safe standing." It is anathema to anybody with a sense of human decency. Have we not got enough problems with the current football financial model?

 

Either way, a return to the aberration, no matter how diluted, would be a sign that British culture has given up the football geist in favour of repeat organised mass brutality. And make no mistake, by the time standing terraces reached a nadir in the 1980s the worst had become little more than a gathering place for racist thugs and crazy chauvinists hiding in a crowd; fences and pens weren't in place for their aesthetic values. They were there because over the years we fans allowed them to happen. We tolerated the kind of stadia conditions that had only one logical conclusion. We allowed a minority of gang cowards to become the main face of the sport. We must never make the same mistake.

 

The only reason this sick nonsense is even being considered is because some benighted individuals continue to rant on about "passion" and "atmosphere." According to them, both elements are missing in modern all-seater stadia. It's bollocks, of course, and it should be dismissed accordingly. How easily these morons forget the horrors of the past!

 

What is actually missing is the worst manifestation of chauvinist goonery. And who in their right mind wants to see that return? In fact most of it is the beery memory of inadequate middle aged and old men trying to recapture their lost youth, and some of it equally inadequate youth looking for a gang to join. In Merseyside's case it will be because such people - a tiny minority - can only recall our city's last great football era, while conveniently ignoring the nation-wide mayhem of that time. For that kind of mentality, avoidable disasters like Hillsborough didn't happen, nor did Bradford, nor did Heysel, nor did Ibrox, nor did Burnden Park......nor did any of the separate organised brutality that masqueraded as "passion."

 

Needless to say when it came to the crunch those who hated the game used thuggery to disguise Establishment guilt of the real causes of tragedies such as Hillsborough. Innocent victims were easier to blame. Hillsborough, nothing to do with hooliganism, could never happen with contemporary all seater stadia and safer crowd direction. Subsequent neocon lying propaganda could never have succeeded at the time without a general perception that football crowds were inherently nothing more than tribal thugs. And the Leveson Inquiry into press "misbehaviour" continues to expose how easy it is for just a few men and women to manufacture such propaganda.

 

The argument will be that modern design will reduce physical threat. But that misses the point by a country kilometre. Which, in case you missed it, is to make the spectator as safe as possible in good conditions. The accompanying photograph illustrates a German system for "safe" standing: note the inclusion of seats in an upright position.

 

It begs obvious questions. Why include seats in a standing area? What is the point, except to create a false impression of "safety"? Even if "safe" (which it isn't) it does nothing to stop the reintroduction of an unhealthy and dangerous, detestable herd mentality. However designed, it won't change the worst of human nature. It will only emphasise it. And that's why we shouldn't countenance its return.

 

 

Comments about Unsafe in any shape
21
I agree with Tony, bad bad memories of terraces, NEVER bring them back.
Paul, Childwall, 5:42 PM 20/01/2012
20
I hope those reports about experimental return to "safe-standing" terraces are completely un-true. Everybody knows what happened in the past and this would be a disaster waiting to happen if this was tried and tested. It's un-thinkable. Also, I completely agree with you Mac, Huyton that to even think about this after Hillsborough is idiotic. A lot of families who lost loved ones from that dark day, I can't imagine the upset they still must feel. They certainly don't need reminding and the idiots thinking about experimenting with safe standing, should drop this idea and have some thought and compassion to those families and especially those who didn't find justice from that day.
Paul, Ormskirk, Lancashire, 4:43 PM 20/01/2012
19
Please no more standing. Some of us have very bad memories of it.
Tony, Stoneycroft, 3:32 PM 20/01/2012
18
Anyone who compares watching a football match to a Proms concert is a meff sized nob ed.
Philfluter, Aughton, 3:08 PM 20/01/2012
17
Mike @ 15, wrong. It wouldn't be cheaper it would be the same because it takes up a bit more space than just seats. The whole pricing policy needs looking at in football. Standing up won't make any difference to prices because clubs won't deliberately leave themselves with less money.
Paul, Warrington, 12:35 PM 20/01/2012
16
Can't believe this is even being thought about after Hillsboro. What kind of idiot is it who wants to walk all over that memory?
Mac, Huyton, 12:18 PM 20/01/2012
15
I completely disagree with this opinion - praise the Lord that's all it is, talk about blinkered! I'd love to go the game stand-up and leave....why? Because it would be affordable. Personally, I can't afford a £30 plus ticket to Goodison, but £18-20 to stand well I might just make that. Money is tight everywhere, the price of watching Premier League football is ludicrous, perhaps MBE has a little too much to say on the 'so-called' ALL Everton Supporters' website...you can stand at the PROMS but not at a football match how utterly ridiculous can you get?
Mike, Earth, 12:03 PM 20/01/2012
14
As I read it the point being made is that it brings back the mob mentality the game has tried to rid itself of. We'd all say amen to that. I can't believe anybody wants to see that back. I don't think it will help with atmosphere at all, only a good game causes better atmosphere and we haven't had too many of those during the last two seasons at the Old Lady.
Spectator, Crosby, 11:59 AM 20/01/2012
13
Standin at a match is shite and for gimps. It won't add anything to any game. I'm glad its gone.
Smegger, Nogsy, 11:49 AM 20/01/2012
12
Sorry , but I disagree and I will tell you why. In the summer when there is no football, I take my kids to watch Rugby League at Warringtons Halliwell Jones stadium. I have sat with the prawn sandwich brigade, all very sedate, but the real atmosphere and buzz in the stands. And although this is a third of the size of Goodison Park crowds is very popular, very civilised and quite well behaved crowd, unlike ur herding mentality suggests. As for racist chants, there is always gonna be one idiot in the crowd and that will happen regardless of seated or standing. Poor subject for you to discuss really cos stands wont come back cos selling seats makes more money, end of!
toffeeman35, cheshire, 11:39 AM 20/01/2012
11
95% of away support in this country regulary stand up each and every week infront of their seats, which in my opinion is alot more dangerous than these safe standing areas. I don't know how many times I've went flying over about three rows infront of me when we've scored a important goal. If safe standing areas were introduced this couldn't happen with each and every row having it's own crash barrier in place.
Jack, Huyton, 11:21 AM 20/01/2012
10
They're not unsafe at all. Overcrowding is unsafe, and that wouldn't happen again. Did anyone here go to Wolfsburg or Werder Bremen? They're not talking about a little bar that 100 can get behind and lean on each other like years ago (as shown in the above picture, that's from some lower league team in the 80's!), go onto google and type in safe standing. You'll see what it's all about Standing was ok for 100 years until the Hillsboro tragedy (which was a terrible tragedy but it wasn't because of standing), but that was due to overcrowding. If standing was to come back it would just be the same in Goodison as it is now, the capacity wouldn't increase, as everyone would be allocated a ticket and they'd stand at their seat. It's just the same as the seats now but the back of the seat is higher and has a bar on top. Like it or not, apart from the likes of Fulham and Wigan, we've got the worst home and away support in the league. No one doubts our numbers at away games, always superb, but vocally we're awful and that's because we're the only fans who sit down at away games. When people are standing up they're more up for it and starting off songs is less daunting than if you were sitting down. Look at the Derby at Anfield we stand up every year and the atmosphere's brilliant. Brentford away in the cup, standing in a terrace, atmosphere was class. Compare that to Wigan away were everyone moans at you to sit down and the atmosphere is crap. It's been proven in Germany that it can be done, it's been proven in Rugby that it can be done and if it ever happened in Goodison, it would only ever be a small section at the back like it is in Germany, so if you wanted to sit down it wouldn't affect you. Against Modern Football.
James, Kirkby, 11:03 AM 20/01/2012
9
Cobblers! Reintroducing standing sections doesn’t mean reverting to the worst of the old terraces. It would allow those of us who liked to go and support as a group and who enjoyed meeting up at the match to be able to do so. We might see more innovative chants and amusing banter than the occasional tired and time-warped cackles breaking the cathedral-like atmosphere. You sit if you want but let those of us who would prefer to stand in the company of friends and family have that choice.
Brian, Waterloo, 11:00 AM 20/01/2012
8
The atmosphere at Goodison is bad sometimes because of what is going on on the pitch. Not because we are sat down. It's not the issue anyway. People died, seats would have prevented that. The idea that they are bringing them back just shows the distain the powers to be in football have for your average supporter. It's all about bums on seats, well actually erm not
Masso, Liverpool, 9:14 AM 20/01/2012
7
Are you people absolute morons! One seat gives enough space (just about) for one person! And anybody whos sat next to a fat a*se or person with really long legs will know what I mean when I say just about. Creating a terrace will mean the stand is overcrowded plain and simple. I disagree that atmosphere has been taken away by having all seater stadium and to relinquish it we should have terraces! 35,000 is more than adequate to produce a good atmoshere in any of the older stadiums! The fans just need something to shout about which unfortunately isn't the case at Goodison!
Jack, Liverpool, 5:38 AM 20/01/2012
6
Fully agree, absolutely no standing needed in any ground. Pushing, shoving, peeing on people's legs and unsafe. I with my son want to watch the game in the seats we have chosen as it creates a near level pitch for my 4ft 10in 13 year old to see even though the people in front of us are over 6ft unless they don't sit down.
Jay Tee, Bootle, 10:48 PM 19/01/2012
5
Sorry Mickey - If a terrace was ever made available at Everton (which I highly highly doubt), that is were I would go. Atmospheres at grounds today are pathetic and standing does create an atmosphere.
Dave, Walton, 6:58 PM 19/01/2012
4
The main reason for including standing areas is to increase revenue. Some Manchester based clubs can not increase the stadium occupancy so the seats just have to go. the ticket price may fall for a while but the overall pound per customer will increase thus increaseing total revenue. DO NOT BE TAKEN IN BY THIS CRAP. a return to the mindless shoving will not make you feel any better.
blue jackal, wirral, 6:56 PM 19/01/2012
3
I for one disagree with this, the atmosphere at home games is terrible at times, im sure one standing area just for the home support wouldn't be so bad. football fans have changed since the 1980's !
tim, st.helens, 6:11 PM 19/01/2012
2
I never want to see you complain about the lack of atmosphere.
Stu, Park End, 6:06 PM 19/01/2012
1
I agree with all that has been mentioned in the above article, I hope this does not happen as there will as mentioned, be a return to the Moron racist shouts then a progression of violence then a serious accident involving crowd control! May I add this will only come to be when certain heirarchical bodies deem that the economy is taking too much out of football revenues and therefore push for the stupidity of the notion, it is very sad that to some cash is king.
Macey, liverpool, 5:14 PM 19/01/2012
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