Stand Up or Sit Down
By Paige Robson
To sit or stand, that is the question. The everlasting debate for sports fans all across the world. For most sports, their respective stadiums facilitate mainly to sitting fans however this still doesn’t take away the fact that a huge percentage of supporters prefer the experience of watching their favourite sport when standing up.
The conversation about the topic has been sparked after the acceptance of both Premier League and Championship football clubs being allowed to trial safe standing areas in the upcoming 2021/22 season. This isn’t the first time standing fans have been allowed, to begin with, terracing was introduced into football stadiums for multiple reasons. They were inexpensive, easy to build and allowed for large numbers of fans making it financially astute for owners and their football clubs. Due to the economic benefits, standing was the cheapest way to watch live sport making it much more available to the working class.
Nevertheless, very early on after the introduction of terracing the Ibrox disaster in 1902 occurred, after a partial stadium collapse due to the sheer number of fans causing seventeen joints to give way and with the sound of loud cracking noises and one person even claiming to see the wooden boards split. The Ibrox disaster happened and unfortunately led to the death of 25 people and injuring more than 500 people, inevitably this event meant something had to be done to prevent from this happening again.
Standing was banned. But it is said there is a frequent misconception that terraces were an unsafe place to be, however it truly depends on the number of people and the structure. Yet like everything where there is control, there is success, if the areas are controlled standing could cause a fantastic atmosphere for fans.
There have been incidents across sport linking to standing areas, which cannot be brushed over or ignored. However, due to these incidents, lessons can be learned moving forward when attempting to have successful standing sections. Football in particular is so much more financially supported meaning safety would never be compromised which perhaps was the case previously. Fans still to this day request and desire to stand at games so shouldn’t it be tried and tested?
I personally as a football season ticket holder, have recently been sent an email regarding the issue. Where in which, the survey asks us as fans our opinions on whether there should be a specific area for those wanting to stand or not. I answered…
For anybody who enjoys being a sports spectator will appreciate that everybody enjoys the experience individually, in terms of where they sit, how loud they are even how many drinks they want to consume. Including most importantly, how they want to watch the game from the comfort of a seat or the better view of standing. I recognize the attractiveness of both. Therefore doesn’t it make sense to differentiate those who enjoy watching the game separately, so everybody gets the best personal experience.
Even if you aren’t a sports fan, anybody can relate to it; if you go to the theatre or a concert and the people in front of you are standing up and obstructing your view, it can be rather frustrating which is completely understandable. However, in regard to this similarity in the separate activities most people who go to the theatre or a concert usually don’t stand the whole way throughout. This is most definitely not the case in sport, most commonly people who begin standing, remain this way throughout. Thus, there is an opening to resolving this issue in the world of sport by introducing standing-only areas as well as sitting areas.
People experience and enjoy watching sport in their own way. Whether this is sitting or standing, so wouldn’t it make sense to allow people to choose their preference? Rather than feeling guilty for wanting to stand but the family behind wants to sit, or being irritated by the fact the people in front of you just won’t sit down. To sit or to stand, is the question but there is an answer. Separated spectators, united in support watching their team just the way they like.