Stand and deliver: safer standing would ease fans grumbling

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While Falkirk were in Kirkcaldy and the Shire visiting Coatbridge, I was on the banks of Lake Neuchatel for the annual ‘Fetes des Vendanges’ grape harvest festival.

This involved a lot of standing - watching acts, walking from street stall to street stall, standing sampling the local fayre and watching fireworks.

I got back to work and lo and behold, the standing issue had been raised again in last week’s paper. Or notably ‘safe standing’ on terraces.

There are comparisons.

I had absolutely no expectations while strolling past acts going on in the street. Within a single step I could go from audience member to passer-by, so really I was only a temporary audience member. A passive and passing one.

Had I sat down in a chair as I would do in a theatre, or cinema I would become a static part of the crowd. A stationary member of a larger entity of an audience. As such, if I was staying put I want and expect to be entertained.

Now forget the aesthetics and nostalgia of swaying on the packed terraces back in the day but standing at the football would probably ease the strain on the under-fire teams being slated for their entertainment value, or lack of it.

When you sit you expect to be entertained. If the teams on the pitch can’t provide it - and lets be honest, week-in week-out that can never ben guaranteed - wouldn’t it benefit to have some safe standing areas?

Like Falkirk said it’s not a priority, but it’s not a bad idea in principle, and I’d say it’s a fair assumption that the grumblers-in-chief are the ones who hark back to the halcyon days of Firs Park and the Hope Street end, so would probably go and stand, safely given the chance.

There, they wouldn’t be sitting impassively expecting entertainment but roaring on the team – a part of the game standing and taking part, much like the standing, swaying moving throngs create the atmosphere at carnivals like ‘Fetes de Vendanges’.

It’s probably in clubs interests to woo the fans back in this way, and it’d get a few off the players’ backs when things aren’t going too well too.

But of course, I say all this from my seat in the press box. Don’t dare take that away!