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DAN THE FAN: Standing up for a common sense solution
3:00pm Thursday 20th March 2014 in Sport
AFTER a couple of months of stagnant performances from Town, it was exciting to once again experience some passion and it came in the shape of a West Country derby.
All Town fans would recognise both Bristol clubs, Reading and Oxford as the club’s rivals, but it seems people from North Wiltshire, like myself, look at the Bristol City fixture with more feeling and emotion.
There was a lively atmosphere inside the away end with both Town and City fans in the same stand – it felt like an old-fashioned derby atmosphere, something the fans haven’t experienced away for many years.
The Town backline did a great job in keeping a clean sheet after some stupid behaviour from Alex Pritchard.
It would be tough to find another Town player who has enjoyed a better season than Pritchard.
The guy has got a bright future in the game and will almost certainly be playing in the Championship next season, but on Saturday he nearly cost his team big time.
But Town’s ten men held on and earned a well-deserved point.
Troy Archibald-Henville was Town’s key man at the back.
Since he arrived at the club Troy has struggled with injuries and his current run of games is by far the longest he’s achieved at the club – nearly two years after he was signed by Paolo Di Canio.
Hopefully club and player can come to an agreement with a new contract, with his present deal coming to an end this summer. If he can keep himself fit, there’s no doubt he’ll become a key player.
I want to direct some praise in the direction of our rivals Bristol City, for their stance with safe standing at football grounds.
Ever since grounds were made all-seater in the early 1990s, the issue of standing has been a hot topic for thousands of fans all over Britain.
Back then, it was the correct decision to bring in all-seater stadiums after the Hillsborough tragedy in 1989.
People who witnessed that event will never forget that horrific day in our national game, and 25 years on, it still plays a massive role.
I agree that the way fans stood and watched a game in the past is illogical and we should never go back.
But a concept called safe standing is becoming a big talking point among fans.
Let’s be honest, thousands of fans across the country stand at games anyway.
Nobody is able to stop that, so introducing a rail seat system into a certain stand in a stadium makes complete sense.
There is a safety barrier and a seat on every row, the seats are locked into an upright position, meaning a seat is available when the occasion suits.
Having a safety barrier with every seat cancels out crowd surging that used to occur at games in the past, it creates a controlled standing environment.
In Germany, the idea is already old news and a huge success – you only have to look at some of the fantastic atmospheres created and the brilliant value of games.
I understand that some will never be sold on the idea, and will think it’s a step backwards, but I’m of the opinion that this system is the future of the game in this country.
With Town one of the many clubs backing the safe standing campaign, hopefully we’ll one day see it introduced into at least half of the Town End.
- For more information on Safe Standing please visit www.fsf.org.uk/campaigns/safe-standing