Manchester United are set trial ‘safe standing’ at the start of the new year after becoming one of the first four top-flight clubs to have been granted a license.
Chelsea, Man City and Tottenham are the other Premier League clubs set to trial a safe standing area in their stadiums from January 1, 2022.
For all their faults on the pitch, United have worked hard to engage with fans on improving the atmosphere at Old Trafford in recent years, and with the likes of fans’ group The Red Army, you can certainly say home matches are a much more enjoyable experience.
Safe standing will only boost that.
A statement from the government read (via The Athletic): “The change builds on the success of the Government’s all-seater policy, brought in following the Lord Taylor report into the Hillsborough disaster.
“For many years, fans have campaigned for standing to be reintroduced. Independent research conducted recently has identified the safety risks related to persistent standing in seated areas. It has also evidenced the positive impact engineering solutions, such as seats incorporating barriers or independent barriers, can have.
“Today’s historic announcement is a vital step towards fulfilling the Government’s manifesto commitment to introducing licensed safe standing areas at all-seater football grounds. The grounds have been selected following an application process, open to all grounds covered by the all-seater policy, led by the Sports Grounds Safety Authority (SGSA).”
Three years ago, I stood in the standing section at Ajax when on a weekend trip with my partner, and it the atmosphere was belting. We were also allowed to enjoy pints throughout the match which was glorious.
However, credit where it’s due. The TRA section in L stand was outstanding during the 5-0 drumming against Liverpool. They’ve been one of few positives this seen with fans returning post-pandemic. It was the outbreak of COVID-19 in March 2020 that saw empty stadiums for over a year in the Premier League and we were all desperate to return this season — thinking the football would’ve been easier on the eye, too.
TRA sung constantly for the final 15 minutes despite being hammered by our arch-rivals. It was another example of defiant United and more reason to believe our fans are the best in the world.