Liverpool have made a major new announcement.
Wednesday to see the scousers do something that will have been very positive for the fans.
This isn’t a complaint, just a wish-list thing, but Newcastle United need to catch up.
Liverpool announced yesterday (see below) that they are further increasing the amount of ‘railway seats’ at Anfield.
The rail seats introduced by Liverpool “to allow fans to stay safely at key game moments such as goal celebrations” at matches.
They already have 7,800 fans in the railway seating areas and now Liverpool are adding 2,500 more.
Newcastle United announced (see below) in the summer that a section of rail seating would be installed in the away section before the start of the 2022/23 season, with the intention of possibly also introducing in 2023 some rail seats for home fans.
It’s still not a ‘safe position’, but it’s an important step for clubs to introduce as much rail seating as possible before it becomes widespread.
However, when it comes to what currently amounts to “key” or “exciting” moments during matches, it’s a very blurred line.
The atmosphere at St James’ Park has of course improved immeasurably since Mike Ashley left, he had dragged the club and the fans down so low in terms of hopes and expectations in his 14 years, with the atmosphere at home just one of many things to suffer. .
The mood is very different now and this is reflected on the terraces, but you cannot be complacent and you must always seek to improve the experience of the day.
In the near future I would love to see a significantly increased capacity created at St James’ Park AND within that, as many fans as possible in ‘safe footing’ areas.
Liverpool Official Announcement – 30 November 2022:
“Liverpool FC are extending their rail seating trial at the Kop following the installation of the seats last season.
Rail seats have been installed in two areas of Anfield following a safety review by the Sports Grounds Safety Authority (SGSA). The review highlighted that during matches, the persistent presence in the lower level of the Kop and Anfield Road is an issue that needs to be addressed to ensure the safety of supporters.
The initial test featured 7,800 seats with rail seats installed in the Kop and the lower level of the Anfield Road Stand.
The club will now extend the trial of railed seats at the Kop and use the Premier League season’s winter break to install an additional 2,500 railed seats. The expansion will be in blocks 202-306, rows 61-49 in the Kop. This will bring the total number of rail seats at the Kop to 4,300. Works will start imminently and will take around five weeks to install.
Season ticket holders whose seats are affected by these changes will be contacted in due course to explain the changes and how they will be affected.
The SGSA’s regulatory focus is to reduce the persistent risks of stoppages in stadiums and prevent potential crowd collapses. The report found that guardrails increase safety in all-seater stadiums. The SGSA considers it important to maintain the momentum in the management of the persistent risks identified in the stadiums.
The seats installed at Anfield include normal stadium seats with an integrated safety rail behind them to prevent a crowd collapse. The design is to allow fans to stay safely at key moments of the game, such as goal celebrations, but have to return to a seat at other times. Fans are advised that this is not a ‘stay safe’ area – Anfield remains an all-seater stadium. The safety of supporters when they arrive at Anfield is our highest priority.
The Club has consulted the Supporters’ Board, in line with our agreed Supporter Engagement Framework, on the extension of railed seating and has provided positive feedback on the initial phase of the pilot. The extension of the railed seats will be reviewed again at the end of the season.
Liverpool FC chief executive Andy Hughes said: “Following a review of the initial trial of rail seats last season, we will now extend the trial and introduce rail seats to additional areas of the Kop to further address safety of the crowds and the persistent queue.with SGSA guidance.
“The health and safety of our supporters when they attend matches at Anfield is paramount. As we have said before, it is essential that we listen to the experts and give their recommendations to address this important safety issue.”
That statement from Newcastle United in the summer about the introduction of rail seats / safe footing.
Newcastle United Official Announcement – 12 July 2022:
Newcastle United have outlined their long-term commitment to safety and will install a rail seating arrangement in the away section at St. James’ Park this summer following the instructions of the Sports Grounds Safety Authority (SGSA).
To avoid significant inconvenience to season ticket holders, the club will look to introduce a similar arrangement in a home area of St. James as early as 2023, subject to a consultation process.
The plan follows this week’s announcement that Premier League and Championship clubs wishing to introduce licensed ‘safe standing’ areas in football stadiums will be able to do so from the start of the next 2022 season/ 23.
Although fans will not yet be allowed in St. James’ Park, the SGSA has reported that the forward section of the far end at St. James’ Park, located at the top of the Leazes End, will benefit from infrastructure being added as a priority.
Dave Gregory, head of safety and security at Newcastle United, said: “I would like to stress that fans will still not be able to stand at this time, but the addition of rail seats will add an improved safety arrangement in an elevated area .of the stadium.
“We are committed to making St. James’ Park as safe as possible for everyone, and look forward to working with our supporters to identify an area for fans to want to be in in the future.”
SGSA chief executive Martyn Henderson OBE said: “We welcome the controlled return of the position to the modern era, which has been made possible through very close collaboration with the government.
“This is a historic moment for football and, most importantly, for the fans who campaigned for this change and will be safer as a result of today’s decision.”
Kevin Miles, chief executive of the Football Supporters’ Association, said: “Fans at matches know the benefits of standing safely are huge, with better atmospheres and more options for fans whether they prefer to sit or stand.
“The FSA has always advocated that football clubs should be able to talk to their fan base and work together to find the ideal mix of seating and standing at each club. This is now possible and it is no surprise that more clubs are already looking to join last season’s early adopters and set up their own safe standing areas.”
Once the standing license is given the green light in the St. James’ Park, fans could stand for games in designated spaces behind a barrier or railing in persistent standing areas. Each supporter should occupy the same area as they would occupy if seated, with a numbered and trackable ticket.
The seats would not be locked in the up or down position, so fans could sit if they wished, and the standing areas would not affect the views of other fans. Other parts of the venue would remain all seated and fans would be expected to sit in those areas.
The necessary legislative amendments to the Football Spectators Act were formally tabled in Parliament on 4 July 2022.”