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‘It improved the atmosphere’: what fans think about safety | Football

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IIt’s a change that some fans have been waiting for a generation. For others, the experience of standing in a crowd to watch a football game is entirely new. After the opening matches of a five-pitch safety test in England and Wales, two supporters share their views on the pros, cons and possibilities

Ben Murdoch, J Stand, Old Trafford

I remember being on my feet before the fully equipped stadiums were introduced. I earned my stripes at Stretford End and the safety is different. It is not the same mass of humanity that lifted up that it was. It used to be just a scrum and now you basically have a seat. I don’t think you will get the same kind of roar as you used to. You probably can’t recreate the same atmosphere, but in some ways it’s a good thing because it can be dangerous at times.

I prefer to be able to stand in football because you feel you can get more involved in the game. Barrier seats have been in place for some time and there were signs warning us not to get up. People were on their feet anyway, but at least now you don’t have to apologize. Previously, if there was someone near you who was not standing, you might feel like you were in their way.

A secure position will help to improve the atmosphere during matches and the connection between the fans and the team. If you have an area that makes noise throughout a game it will trickle down to the floor so I think there’s a chance it could be extended. Everyone in Booth J applied for a membership knowing this was the area where a safe position would be and I’m pretty sure those in the Red Army section near the tunnel would appreciate it.

Since the club started engaging with supporters on this, there has been a marked improvement in the atmosphere, especially when you take into account the quality of football.

Birhan Shah, South Stand, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium

When there is a goal and you are on your feet, it’s great because everyone associates with it. It’s like a family affair. Everyone is full of life and loves it.

I started dating Spurs in 2007 when I was seven, so I can’t remember the terraces.

I have read a lot about how football used to be. People could stand anywhere they wanted, so it feels a lot safer now, a lot more controlled.

I think the demand for a secure position will increase because people will realize that the support of fans during games directly affects the performance of the team on the pitch. Once they see how much that improves the atmosphere in the stadiums and the impact it has on the players, I think eventually all ends of the pitch could have safe seats.

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