Safe Standing – Will Arsenal Back It After Government Boots WBA Into Touch?

The world moves in mysterious ways. Oh, I know you’re expecting some diatribe against the Heil and its ilk, but no, not today. It is a condemnation of the government, however.

Tracey Crouch is the latest Minister for Sport to fail the test placed in front of her. She confirmed this government is not prepared to see the evidence and allow the reintroduction of safe standing areas at top-flight football stadia. The suggestion in the media is that they want “football to have a united voice”, whatever that is.

West Brom tried to get a safe standing area introduced but found their request rebuffed. As their COO said, “Perversely the scheme would have reduced the number who stand.”

The real perversity of the decision is highlighted next season if Shrewsbury Town joins the Championship. Every visiting fan will see their home support standing; the law requires that clubs who spend three consecutive years in the top two flights provide an all-seater stadia. For a club like the Shrews, does that mean it makes more financial sense to stay in the second tier for two seasons and get relegated, thus negating the need for capital expenditure on fixed seats?

Ivan backed it in his fateful summer of 2011 – the same year he wittered on about “Arsène is ultimately accountable to the fans—they ultimately make judgement. If you are seeing the relationship between the fans and the manager break down, that is unsustainable” – and the Premier League are currently consulting clubs about their views. Liverpool were the biggest opponents previously, for understandable reasons. Does that objection still remain?

Empirical and anecdotal evidence tells us that rail seating works. Germany, Celtic, even CSKA Moscow successfully implemented the scheme so objections need to be more substantial than the blithe dismissal it received from DCMS yesterday.

Once in a Lifetime

Was the decision is influenced by West Ham fans actions during the match against Burnley? The spurious logic probably goes along the lines ‘if they behave this badly in seats, what will the hoi-polloi be like with terraces’, or something like that. The government found the other 323 Premier League matches this season less newsworthy.

It wouldn’t be the first time those chirpy cockneys have set everyone back. After the EFL Cup tie, Arsène responded to a question about safe standing thus:

Personally I am in favour of the resurgence of standing opportunities behind the goals and that is not a very good advert to come back to standing opportunities for people in the stands, so I am surprised. Hopefully, West Ham will get rid of the problem very quickly.

Both the BSM and AST conducted surveys in recent years which found the same result: safe standing is popular among Arsenal supporters. In a wider context, it’s a concept which gets the backing of most supporters of top-flight clubs when questioned although as I mentioned earlier, we await the Premier League’s collective response.

Will that improve the atmosphere at the Emirates? I fail to see how. The terrace culture of forty years ago won’t return; this generation of fans will make their own. The heritage of yesteryear is lost; too many years and beers have passed. I dare say there might be some part of me which wants to revisit my youth and see how the experience is different but it won’t be Highbury’s North Bank, even if they share the name.

Same as it Ever Was

Nor will it be the same ‘close’ experience we suffered; you’ll get your own personal space in the new safe standing areas, which is how it should be. The biggest change will have to be from the authorities. London’s finest will need to erase the herding mentality and aggressive approach football crowd control was deemed to require. They never made the link that treating people like animals – worse in many cases – elicits an aggressive response and similar contempt. There was never enough interest in finding that common ground on both parts. Them and us; us and them.

It won’t stop empty seats either. Anyone looking to that as a sign the club’s pockets are being hurt will be dismayed by the headlines this morning which screamed Adidas is willing to cough up £40m per season for the kit and merchandising deal. Wenger’s job is still at Enos’ whim. And his whim remains undimmed, publicly at least.

’til Tomorrow.

35 thoughts on “Safe Standing – Will Arsenal Back It After Government Boots WBA Into Touch?

  1. As to the repetitive refrain regarding AW’s status and ‘Enos’?
    From a marketing perspective? Then the PR perspective?
    With 6 consecutive Ws in-hand, and EL advancement on-horizon?

    The earliest it’s likely any ‘announcement’ would be made– is the week prior to the final Emirates PL match. Burnley on 5/5. My opinion anyway.


  2. See it differently. AW deserves a positive sending off. A chance for those who wish to honor him– to do so. When that announcement comes? Attitudes, like a switch, will flip.

    Everyone can cheer his departure. Regardless of motivation. PR win-win. Again, IMO.


  3. Does welbeck play on the right? I guess Ozil can?
    AW prefers the wide forwards to move inside and unleash…well a sideways pass anyway.

    So welbz lac Ozil
    Xhaka Ramsey Elneny (more defensive and about be suspended)
    Usual back 4 although Mustafi must be sweating

    Iwobi to come on for Danny or Elneny

    I’ll take 1-1

  4. Arsetralian,
    I do not think the game will end as a 1-1 draw. I wonder how betting on Arsenal is for those who try.
    Though on the current run of form Arsenal should do well.

  5. CSKA lost 2-1 at home to mid-table Dinamo Moscow last night, in front of a mere 19,000 people and I really can’t see Arsenal slipping up over there. It’s getting warmer in Moscow and it would be a massive failure if Arsenal failed to make the EL semis.

  6. Standing areas, think there quite different then those in the US. Been to quite a few professional games with standing areas here in the States and they generally are safe, but they don’t really have that ‘caged’ feel but in reality its a caged area. Would it be different during your era as it is now, I think it widely depends on where, when and how it is. Overall though, I am always for standing areas as long as they are properly maintained.

    More than the Adidas deal, its great to see Nelson set to sign a new deal saying he is happy with the contract and is set to sign it soon. Thats massive given the recent youth set-up departures that we have had, esoecially last summer.

  7. So Aubameyang is still the 2nd leading goal scorer in the Bundesliga and if you take his Arsenal goals with his Dortmund goals, he now has 19 for the season in the league.

  8. Aubameyang has spoken and like Lacazette, wants to play with his fellow big money striker:

    “I hope we will have the opportunity to play together – it’s something I said when I first arrived that I hoped to play with him.

    “We have different styles, but I think they’re styles that complement each other – he’s a very good player and a very kind person. We were once rivals in our days in France, but we’re now friends and I hope we can play well together and score lots of goals.”

  9. Have been a little busy watching a bevy of golds in the pool going the Aussie way. Finally kicked cricket off the front pages! So nice to be back.
    There is some irony discussing standing sections when the only time I get to actually use my seat and sit at the Emirates is at half time.
    The stewards don’t police it at all, so clearly the club doesn’t have a problem.
    As to political views, well I guess none of them have ever stood at the football.

  10. It’s not new news, that the singing at the Emirates can be a little on the quiet side. Since the move from Highbury, there is no specific section that really rocks.
    It would be good to have the hard core supporters standing and chanting as per an away game.
    That’s the same scenario elsewhere.
    Presumably it’s a purported safety issue that prevents standing areas from existing at the highest levels?

  11. Phil

    All because they didn’t plan season tickets properly. When the shift of grounds came, people got split up. With that kind of crap organisation, it’s not hard to see why our contracts ended up in such a clusterfuck.

  12. YW,
    Agree with that 100% on all levels.
    Not saying it wouldn’t have been a logistical nightmare, but still pretty doable.
    How many season ticket holders were there at Highbury? About half of the Emirates capacity I guess.

  13. This ref for the Liverpool and Citeh match has been quite shit and while I have no rooting interest other than a entertaining match, sending Pep to the stands because he wasn’t happy with a call is madness.

  14. This Oxlade- Chamberlain looks to be a decent player. Why didn’t we pick him up as a young man?

  15. Remember when people said Pep wasn’t going to win thr PL playing his style and those same people questioned Klopp….funny that now huh

  16. Have to say, in modern futbol if I was to choose one player to be my club Captain, Daniele De Rossi would certainly be one of the 4 finalist.

  17. Arsenal can and has outspent both Roma and Liverpool. No way prove it but given our history it’s hard to imagine we would have even stayed close much less won if we played 2 games against Barca and Man City.

  18. Bill,

    We haven’t outspent Liverpool mate, they have broke shattered their transfer record by making Van Dijk the most expensive defender in thr history of futbol and that is before you consider they bought Ox for 35-40m, Salah for 35-40m, Mane for 25-30m, Robertson(their LB) for at least 15-20m, plus Firmino, Wjandinum for 25-30 each, then Karius for 5m. In that time they sold Coutinho which basically paid for Van Dijk and Robertson.

    Kind of funny though that Klopp handed the reigns over to a 19 year old RB at the start of the season and that 19 year old has been really good. You bang on about Arsene but like I constantly tell you, Klopp many others play alot more U23’s

  19. C

    Liverpool did break the bank for Van Dijk so I stand corrected on that one.

    Regarding the use of U21’s, there are occasional exceptions to every generalization and those exceptions only serve to highlight how umcommon it is for the worlds big teams to use a home grown U21 in their starting line ups. Arsène has easily been the most aggressive big team manager in world football with regard to using players like iwobe and it has not worked very well for us.

    I read that Liverpool bought Robertson for $8M. Clearly You can still find good fullbacks without spending a lot of money. It just adds more evidence to my point that if someone is really dumb enough to offer $50M for Bellerin then it should be a no brainer to sell him and we can buy a less expensive fullback and spend the leftover money on a DM or CB or GK. Hector is a nice player but he is not a $50M player and I suspect we easily get someone just as effective on both ends of the pitch for a lot less then that amount. Keeping Bellerin when someone was offering us $50M would be the same as buying a $50M RB which would be crazy thinking.

  20. Liverpool and Roma each advanced to the semifinals by beating a team which has significantly outspent them. Imagine what the aggregate score would probably have been if we had played Barca or Man City.

  21. C

    Why do you think Roma was not interested in keeping Wojo? Surely they could have afforded a $10M transfer fee if they thought he was a top class GK. They could not have been very happy for Juventus to get Wojo at such a cut rate price if they thought he was as good as you think he is.

  22. You have to make smart decisions with money you spend in order to compete successfully with teams that have more money. Fullback is not a position that you need to spend big money. Spending $50M to keep a decent but not great RB when you can get someone who can probably be close to as good or perhaps even better for a lot less money is not a smart decision.

  23. Bill,

    I am not sure where this cast iron offer of $50m came from – fake news?

    But once you have a good player hang on to him – we can afford to and surely it is what builds a sense of team?

    If everything is a revolving door then who do we support? The name Arsenal I guess.

    My head is now spinning with how many players leave these days – watching Giroud and Ox – one minute our players the next someone else.

    What’s it all about? I guess I need to wake up to the modern epl. New players new managers every 2 years is now the norm.

  24. One last comment on Hector.

    He seems to play both primary RB and secondary RB so you would need to buy 2 extra players Bill

  25. C,

    Sorry C, I think that you’re wrong. Liverpool made a small profit in the 17/18 season (they also sold Sakho to Palace for £25m plus a few smaller sales) and I heard on the radio that their net spending under Klopp is only about £5m. Over the same period (Klopp arrived in October 2015) our net spend is somewhere in excess of £80m.

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