Shrewsbury Town Install Safe Standing Area

Shrewsbury Town have become the first club with an all-seated stadium in England and Wales to introduce safe standing at the Montgomery Waters Meadow Stadium. An area at the back of the Salop Leisure South Stand, has had this week its seats removed and replaced with 550 rail seats, spanning six rows. Rail seating as the name suggests means that there is a rail along each row into which incorporates folding seats. The seats will be locked upright allowing fans to stand. There is also the option to unlock the seats into the down position to allow the area to be used as a seating area once again and hence comply with all seated requirements.

Rail Seating At Shrewsbury

Photo courtesy of Jon Darch @SafeStandingRS Twitter

The move by Shrewsbury Town follows a successful request from the Football League to the Sports Grounds Safety Authority (SGSA), who are the Government Body responsible for stadium safety, to allow applications for safe standing areas from Football League Clubs who are not required to have all-seater grounds i.e. League One and League Two Clubs.

The Rail Seating In Place In The
Salop Leisure South Stand

Rail Seats In the Salop Leisure Stand

Photo courtesy of Jon Darch @SafeStandingRS Twitter

The Club made the application to the SGSA after consulting fans who were in favour of the development and after looking at Celtic Football Club who installed a safe standing area at Celtic Park last Summer. The Club hopes that the move will boost atmosphere at the stadium and attendances. The rail seating was manufactured and installed by local Shrewsbury firm Ferco Seating.

No doubt other clubs will be eyeing these developments with keen interest and this could be the first installation of many up and down the country in the coming years. I personally am in favour of introducing such safe standing areas. The rail seating system is not the same the same as the terracing of old and anything that can help the atmosphere and the overall fan experience can only be a good thing in my book. Such safe standing areas have been particularly successful in Germany where whole stands are filled with rail seating. This allows fans to stand for League Games but revert back to being all-seated when say a European game is being played, where an all-seated stadium is a requirement. They have certainly been popular with fans and have helped increase the atmosphere inside grounds. 

However there may be an ironic twist in that this weekend Shrewsbury take part in the League OnePlay-Offf Final and if they win that game they will gain promotion to the Championship League, where currently safe standing areas are not allowed. So if they do get the promotion, then expect some healthy further debate on the safe standing subject.

 

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