Safe standing: Palace owners don't want to "make people sit"

Crystal Palace by flierfy CC license

Crystal Palace co-owners Steve Parish and Steve Browett have spoken of their support for safe standing and say the club are “looking at the whole legal position of whether we’ve got to make people sit”.

In an interview with Five Year Plan Podcast, Steve Parish said: “Steve [Browett] and I are passionate supporters of safe standing, we could get exactly the same revenue out of the ground, charge less for tickets. If the Lower Holmesdale was rail seating, we’d get another 1000 in there and just drop the price. I think that’s the answer, personally, I really do.”

Parish also backed up the Football Supporters' Federation's argument that safe standing benefits those who wish to sit, as well as those who wish to stand. Cater for both and it removes the problem of blocked views for fans who prefer to sit, while those who choose to stand can do so without aggravation from stewards.

“We’ve got this ridiculous situation in the Lower Holmesdale where some people want to sit down, some people want to stand up, and I’ve got letters: ‘I’m fuming because everyone wants to stand up in front of me’ or ‘I’m fuming ‘cos the stewards are making me sit down,’” said Parish.

“And in theory we can’t say, ‘You can all stand up in that area, so if you want to sit down, don’t buy a season ticket in that area because people are going to stand up, possibly throughout the whole game’.

“I think it’s something we want to look at next year. We’re just looking at the whole legal position of whether we’ve got to make people sit or whether we’ve got to provide a seat.

“Can we actually say to people, ‘Look, the Lower Holmesdale’s standing. People are going to stand pretty much throughout the game, if you want to sit down, you’re probably best finding somewhere else to go.’”

Steve Browett pointed out that, regardless of the current regulations or position of the Premier League, tens of thousands of fans stand every week.

“The big question is, we have to provide seats, but do we have to make people sit in them? Because clearly we don’t in Blocks A, B, and C. At Man City on Saturday there was no attempt for the three blocks of home fans next to our supporters, to make them sit down,” said Browett.

“Every group of away fans, at every Premier League club, stands – so we’re all pretending it doesn’t happen and it does, let’s be honest about it. Safety is the number one thing, but if it’s safe, then let’s do it.”

In a wide-ranging interview Browett and Parish also talked about the problems facing away supporters and the issue of high ticket prices.

“The danger for football is that you price people out of it and you lose your core support. Like everything I would say there are good, sound economic reasons for not overcharging people as in the long-run it’s going to bite you on the backside,” said Parish.

You can listen to the full interview via FYP Podcast 123, below:

(Image: an empty pre-match Lower Holmesdale - thanks to flierfy, reproduced under CC)