Since I last wrote about Safe Standing, for the April newsletter, the campaign has continued to gather pace both nationally and locally.
Nationally several conferences have taken place with the authorities that need convincing of the practicality of the idea. At one of these meetings Professor Steve Frosdick, founder member of the UK Football Safety Officers’ Association and noted expert in crowd safety, has backed the FSF’s campaign for rail seating to be allowed as a safe standing alternative to all-seater stadia in the top two divisions.
Professor Frosdick, speaking at the FSF’s open meeting on safe standing held in Liverpool on Thursday 23rd June, said: “I think they’ve got an irrefutable case to allow clubs and fans the choice of having rail seating. I have spent the whole of my professional life working to make football grounds safer places for football fans to enjoy their sport, and I would never associate myself with anything that would be to the detriment of the safety and welfare of football supporters.”
Even the Football Licensing Authority who have, and still are, opposed to standing no longer dispute that properly designed and installed rail-seat areas are safer than the present situation of fans standing in seated areas. Their opposition is still founded upon the unrealistic proposition that fans can be forced to sit when they don’t want to.
Locally PUFC have continued to repeat that they are strongly in favour of Safe Standing and would like to see it incorporated into the new London Road end stand. Their positivism is important as one of the arguments that has been used against the Safe Standing idea is that such areas are not financially viable for clubs (i.e. a seat can be sold at a higher price than a standing seat space).
Fans are overwhelmingly in favour as it should always be remembered that Safe Standing areas are a positive benefit to those who wish to sit – without having their view obscured by standing fans – as well as those who wish to stand.
The new stands are being built by the City Council and so it is necessary for them also to support the concept and to incorporate Safe Standing areas into LRE stand design. When approached on the subject PCC say that the will consider the incorporation of Safe Standing areas in the new LRE stand. However, to change their ‘consideration’ into positive commitment is somewhat harder to achieve. PCCs latest statement was that they would welcome holding discussions with the Supporters’ Trust in the future to explore Safe Standing.’ The Supporters’ Trust immediately responded to that statement suggesting that a meeting was arranged and discussions commence. As I write this, a month after the Trust made that suggestion; no response has been received from the Council. Avoidance of the involvement of fans in any discussions involving the redevelopment of the stadium seems to be, from experience, a PCCs objective – at least until a point is reached where we are told it is ‘too late’ to influence matters!
Perhaps attitudes can be changed for, on 17th September, the Football Supporters’ Federation Safe Standing Roadshow will be at London Road. Jon Darch (FSF) will be presenting the show which has already visited Liverpool, Wolves, Bristol and Oxford. The Posh Supporters’ Trust (in co-operation with PISA and ForeverPosh) are helping with the local organization.
The Trust will be inviting all City Councilors as well as other influential bodies such as the Police, Health & Safety, Fire & Ambulance services and the like.
The show will be on 10.00am to 1500pm in the Venue (the ForeverPosh clubhouse) and I hope that Trust members come along – even at the sacrifice at one pre-match pint!