West Ham United can take a huge step towards improving the London Stadium by following Manchester United’s lead.
There is serious unrest among Hammers supporters at the moment.
The growing resentment towards co-owners David Sullivan, David Gold and their vice-chairman Karren Brady has turned the air toxic around the London Stadium.
The list of grievances is long and wide-ranging. But at the heart of their issues is the London Stadium move.
Bridges have been well and truly burned between terrace and boardroom as a result.
Safe standing ‘moves a step closer’
The distance from the stands to the pitch is just one of a host of issues which often make for a largely forgettable atmosphere at the stadium.
One glimmer of hope has been the prospect of introducing safe standing.
According to Sky Sports safe standing in stadiums has ‘moved a step closer’ after an interim report found seating areas which incorporate barriers have a “positive impact on spectator safety”.
The prospect could well become reality too.
That’s if West Ham request permission to install safe standing like Man United did this week.
Manchester United lead the way after requesting permission
According to Sky Sports, minutes from the Man United fans’ forum on January 31 read: “A formal proposal was made to the local Safety Advisory Group in December 2019 to request a trial in a small section of the stadium (up to 1,500 seats in the North East Quadrant).
“Our belief is that the introduction of rail seating will enhance spectator safety in areas of the stadium where – as with other clubs – we have seen examples of persistent standing,” Sky Sports reports.
“The SAG committee is reviewing the request. This is not an automatic approval process. We will discuss the proposal in detail with the relevant authorities and will work through their compliance and review processes.”
Tottenham have built their new stadium with provision for safe standing while Wolves added it to the Molinuex last summer.
Co-owner Gold is a big advocate for safe standing.
The West Ham chief has been involved in the process of trying to add a non-seating section to the London Stadium to help improve atmosphere and ensure like-minded supporters have more choice to stand together.
Will Gold be true to his word over stadium development?
Back in 2017 West Ham discussed the idea with the same company who installed the Ferco Seating system at Celtic Park, as reported by The Sun.
“I have been speaking with the people who put in the rail seating at Celtic Park,” Gold told The Sun back in 2017.
“I have been an advocate of this for many years and it is something I am working on. We are working on it. I believe in it, we are in touch and we will do everything we can to resolve the issue.”
Safe standing could potentially transform the atmosphere at the London Stadium and may even mean the club could bring fans closer to the pitch one day.
West Ham have 95 years to run on their 99-year lease. So if nothing else the prospect of safe standing is certainly something positive for supporters to cling on to during a negative period for West Ham.
The club has recently announced plans to follow through on proposals to square off the stands behind both goals this summer (whufc.com).