Manchester United applying to install safe standing is a step in the right direction

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Kieran Harm
Football and NFL Writer. Specialising in the Premier League and Bundesliga

Manchester United have sent an application to the FA to install safe standing for up to 1,500 fans in the north west corner of Old Trafford.

United, who are big supporters of safe standing, sent their application to the Safety Advisory Group (SAG) back in December, and hope to conduct safe standing trials by the end of the season.

A step in the right direction for safe standing

Safe standing is an issue that the vast majority of football fans are well in favour of. It’s something they do all over Europe, and it leads to a far better atmosphere at football matches across the continent.

In England, the atmosphere inside football grounds has died a little in recent years. While I wouldn’t necessarily put that entirely down to all-seater stadiums, I’d certainly say it’s a major contributing factor.

If and when their application is approved, Manchester United won’t be the first Premier League club to install the railed seats.

Back in the summer, Wolves installed railed seating at Molineux while Tottenham have a “safe-seating” area which they have said is “future-proofed” to allow for the development of safe standing withing football ground.

Safe Standing area at Premier League ground Molineux, home of Wolveerhampton Wanderers.
This is the safe standing/railed seating area installed at Wolves’ Molineux Stadium – will more teams follow suit?

United have already started warning fans who have season tickets in that area of the ground that there will likely be safe standing before the end of the season. For me, it’s a fantastic ground.

Manchester United are on the television most weeks of the season, and if a safe standing area does what I think it will and improve atmosphere within grounds, it’ll be a great advert for the initiative.

What’s next?

Well, for me, a big club like Manchester United submitting an application to SAG could very well kick off something of a trend in the Premier League.

I’d like to see a Premier League wherein every single stadium has an entire stand, most likely behind the goal, that is entirely safe standing.

My club, Newcastle United, already have our singing section in the Gallowgate stand/Strawberry Corner. When and if the legendary Gallowgate Flags return to the ground (not until Mike Ashley has gone), it’d be amazing to see the Gallowgate all safe standing, singing at the top of their lungs and waving flags.

The singing section at St James' Park would really benefit from safe standing
This is part of the singing section at St James’ Park – which used to house the impressive Gallowgate Flags fans group

As I said above, the atmosphere inside Premier League football grounds has been getting worse and worse over recent years, and we need to do something about it. This, for me, is the only logical solution to a problem that threatens to properly kill off the English top flight as a proper footballing league.

What do you think of safe standing in football? Let us know on our Twitter page – where you’ll be able to find coverage of the Premier League, Bundesliga and much more. Also, if you’d like to read more like this, you can visit our dedicated football page here.

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