Following its successful implementation north of the border at Celtic Park, safe standing is back on the agenda in the Premier League with all 20 clubs receiving letters about a possible trial in the not too distant future.
Standing at games has been banned in the top two divisions since the Taylor report was first published, (which in itself was a direct consequence of the tragic scenes witnessed at Hillsborough in 1989) but with policing of the game having moved on dramatically since then, there is undoubtedly an appetite amongst fans to discuss “safe standing” as an option for the Premier League in years to come.
In fact, documentation received from the Daily Mail’s website (which I now refuse to link to directly for ethical reasons) has given a breakdown of the views expressed by clubs on an individual basis, with Palace supremo Steve Parish named as one of the men who advocates the implementation of a scheme similar to the one used by Celtic, as long as the rest of the league is in agreement.
Unsurprisingly given their unique history in relation to the subject, Liverpool remain against the idea but with thousands upon thousands of fans regularly breaking the rules by standing each week, it feels like a logical next step to devote sections of top flight stadia to the model used at Celtic Park, where there have been no casualties caused as a direct result of the change.
Whilst the topic will always be an emotive one for English football fans, the measures put in place to ensure that a disaster like Hillsborough can never reoccur should give us all a huge sense of comfort. As we now know, it wasn’t actually “standing” which caused the trouble in Sheffield that day but instead, inadequate policing outside. With that in mind, the tentative suggestions being put to Premier League clubs should be greeted as a sign of progress rather than a self-imposed return to the dark ages.
Hopefully the momentum behind the plans continues to grow.