Celtic made history yesterday as they were the first ground in Britain to introduce a safe standing area to their stadium. Celtic Park has now got a 2,500 capacity area with specially installed safe standing barriers and the question is whether or not we will begin to see this rolled out across Britain.
Celtic has long had issues with large numbers of fans standing at Celtic Park so the installation of this area will go some way to appeasing that element of their fanbase who prefer to stand during the game, it won’t solve it due to the large amount of people who will find themselves invariably standing but at least it will make it safe for those positioned in the new section.
Safe standing is more prevelant in Europe with the Bundesliga setting the trend. That for many has the ideal match experience with not only safe standing but also alcohol permitted at your seats with many fans from Britain taking the opportunity to make the short trip to Germany to watch a Bundesliga match over the course of a season.
Unfortunately that ideal scenario is a long way off in Britain and especially in Scotland. The reason it’s more so North Of The Border is because alcohol is completely banned in the ground, so it would take a huge swing in legislation to be able to have a pint while standing in Scottish stadia.
The bigger question is though we will now see this rolled out in grounds across the country, you would imagine that if Celtic have introduced something then it won’t be too far away from being installed at Ibrox either.
There has to be a cost benefit I guess so I wouldn’t imagine Scottish Chairman ready to sign off construction works straight away, perhaps they will see how it works at Celtic Park over the next season and make a decision next Summer.
For Scottish Football in particular there is always the constant attempt to make the match day experience better and the ‘product’ more appealing, I don’t think this is necessarily the golden fix but it would go someway to making the day out better for fans by creating a better atmosphere which in turn looks better for people watching at home.
That’s north of the border but what about in the English leagues? – it’s been an often described topic with many clubs declaring an interest to test out safe standing but of course Hillsborough will always be a sensitive issue in regards to this topic so whether or not we will ever see the same clamour for it to be installed in the Premier League remains to be seen.
Perhaps it could be introduced into the Football League first but that could cause it’s own problems, what if a team in The Championship has safe standing then gets promoted and it’s not allowed in the Premier League they would then have to rip out the standing area and replace it with seats at an additional cost.
Therefore you would imagine there would have to be a uniformity between all four divisions for it to truly work in England. I get the feeling English clubs will be looking at Celtic Park with interest over the course of the season and then it could once again be on the agenda down south. We will have to watch this space and see how it develops.