Thanks Adam for your detailed explanation and analysis.
It is clear that if people in sufficient numbers for whatever reason or by
whatever means gain access to an area designed for a smaller number then
there is a real risk of injuries and tragedies. Whether it is a standing
area or one with seats will make little or no difference. Anyone at Old
Trafford queing to get to the exit after the match can guess that in an
emergency that is not the place to go. Whatever the regulations say and
whatever the club may say about stadium evacuation the exits from the seats
generally allow only one person at a time down the tunnel.
Standing before the match is not prohibited, standing when the teams come
onto the pitch is not prohibited, standing for a minutes silence is
expected, not prohibited.
Can someone please advise us on the legal definition of extreme excitement.
A Man Utd fan's definition would be goals such as Erics header against
Rovers, Giggs wondergoal at Villa Park (better watch that shirt this
But I guess they were not moments of extreme excitement for Rovers or
Arsenal fans. So presumably if we are on our feet in a state of wild
abandonment then if any of the other teams fans stand at that moment we
could logically argue that they are likely to be in many states (anger,
frustration, etc) but most certainly not extreme excitement. So at that
point these farcical Regulations would require that the visitng supporters
are ejected from the ground, otherwise Trafford Council will force the club
to close that section of the ground. I hardly think so.
No, the real reason why this is an issue and a real issue about which we
should all be concerned is because we have been sold short yet again.
Get real, the problem is that due to poor stadium design, yes even Old
Trafford 2000 is still not a patch on the Nou Camp, when the fans stand up
then the VIP's cannot see the pitch. That's the real problem. Money still
talks. Whether you paid £15,000 for your box or £400 for your seat we all
want to be able to see the macth, especially the goal areas. Also what
consideration is there the disabled supporters, for whom we should show some
real sympathy. I do not know whether there are changes for disabled
supporters this season, but in the past it always seemed typical of the
Clubs muddled and incomplete thinking when they moved the Family Stand from
the Scoreboard End to the Stretford End they left the disabled supporters
behind (I guess in consideration of access to the car parks, etc) and put
the visiting supporters above them. I bet thats fun when Leeds come to town.
The Club will always say that everything is a compromise and intended to
have the best interests of the majority at heart.
The answer will be determined by the fans not the club or Trafford Council.
The answer was clear when 60,000 some people heard that message over the
tannoy at Old Trafford, if you dont sit down you will be removed from the
ground. Well 60,000+ people showed what they thought of that, probably the
biggest "two-fingered salute" in history. Yet even that mass response from
the crowd did not cause the Club officials to see that the solution lies
We have the ability to be the most peverse race of people in the World, as
well as showing a whole range of other admirable traits. Fundamentally we do
not accept petty officails telling us how we will behave when they are
patently out of touch with the reality of how the majority feel.
The majority of fans at Old Trafford do not want to stand up all the time
for every single match. However clealry some fans do. Given current
technology it is no great problem to have a controlled access standing area
in which people still have season tickets.
The highest safety standards do not have as a prerequist that people must be
seated. The problem is (a) lack of interest on the part of the club and
footballing authorities and (b) money; - clealry you can charge more for a
seated area than a standing area. No club is going to vote for a cut in gate
At the FA Cup Final (vs Newcastle) the seating/ ticket situation was
farcical. I thought the arrangement was that when you paid for your seat you
got a seat to yourself. Apparently not so at Wembley where you are expected
to share your seat with one or two other fans, who generally did not have a
satsifactory expalanation as to how they came to be there. Fair enough if
they blagged their way in or scaled the twin towers or kidded United that
their ticket had been lost, stolen or never arrived and got a replacement.
But the more worrying aspect was that the Stewards on duty totally ignored
the situation even when dragged to the area to see it for themselves.
After 35 years of attending football matches anyone who claimed that ground
facilities had not improved would be kidding themselves. However when one
considers the vast amount of money that United have spent at Old Trafford
one cannot avoid feeling that there are some fundamental flaws in the end
result that could easily have been avoided if the motivation had been there.
It is probably too late now and we are left with Martin's Folly. Hopefully
with the new man and the slow awakening of the clubs in general in time when
change issues arise in the future the views of the paying customers may
carry more weight.
If you want to stand then stand. But unless you are on the back row, remember
that the person who may complain about you need not necessarily be a Club
Official or Trafford Council. It could be another long suffering season
ticket holder behind you.
Even in the "good old days" having got to Old Trafford at 1.30 and picked
your place on the terrace to get a good view, when at 2.59pm that 6 foot 4,
15 stone hulk rolled in from the pub and pushed his way in front of you
blocking out the view and the light, didn't you think how wonderful life was
on the terraces. At least with the seating when people stand you have
generally got a better chance of seeing because the crowd density is less
than in the days of terracing. And that is the safety issue all over again.
Here's hoping for lots of extreme excitement at Old Trafford, sore feet and
getting that big trophy back again.
David Rattee (United Road Paddock)
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