Luton Town are the latest club to give their support to the Football Supporters’ Federation’s Safe Standing Campaign.
Twenty five clubs now formally back the campaign as do the Scottish Premier League. The Football League have also promised to “explore” safe standing trials.
Kenilworth Road has been all-seater for almost 20 years - after the club’s last home game of the 1993/94 season against West Bromwich Albion terracing was converted to seats. The club’s position is particularly significant given this history and its position in the football pyramid.
As Luton Town converted to all-seater they are not allowed to introduce safe standing areas. This is despite the fact that other clubs in the Conference do have standing accommodation and fans once stood at Kenilworth Road.
Luton Town Managing Director Gary Sweet told lutontown.co.uk: “We are fully behind the FSF’s vision for safe standing, whether it’s possible for use at Kenilworth Road or in a new stadium once we’re able to relocate.
“Having grown up on the terraces as a kid I try to take the opportunity to stand at the occasional away fixture with one or two other directors when terracing is available and we thoroughly enjoy it.
“Since the club has been more stable we have been looking at numerous methods of making a few minor changes to Kenilworth Road which would enhance everybody’s enjoyment at matches which includes the possible reintroduction of a standing terrace.
“Whilst there are no simple solutions – in particular, certain regulatory conditions that could be somewhat restrictive – we are keen to explore all options available to us.
“If it looks like a feasible way forward we’d like to consult with supporters during the process and are even looking at ways how supporters could vote on any potential decision.
“First and foremost, however, the emphasis must clearly be on the safety aspect and with this in mind we’ll need to plan prudently and consult all relevant authorities.
“We will support the FSF’s long-standing efforts to encourage the appropriate authorities to investigate the rail seat system with a view to defining criteria under which it could be introduced in future at grounds.”
The fans’ choice
Survey after survey shows that the overwhelming majority of fans back the choice to sit or stand and fans at Kenilworth Road are no different.
Tony Murray, Chairman of the Luton Town Supporters’ Trust, said: “As supporters we would love to see a standing area return to Kenilworth Road and will do whatever we can to support the FSF and the club with this campaign.”
Mark Bradbury, Chairman of Loyal Luton Supporters’ Club, added: “Many countries in the football world allow safe standing. You only have to look and listen to the atmosphere that continental clubs create with their noise, colour and passion in their standing areas to realise that they’ve got it right.”
- Find out more about the Safe Standing Campaign: www.fsf.org.uk/safestanding