For once, the biggest talking point around West Ham United, is not the comings or goings on the transfer front. Thank god that the Summer Transfer window is coming to an end.
No, the biggest debate this week, has been around whether supporters are going to stand up or sit down in the Olympic Stadium. I didn’t think it would have caused such a stir, but it has…. And I can see this debate, raging on for the next few seasons.
There has been more and more coverage in the press about the re-introduction of safe standing. Celtic have brought it back to Parkhead, and it will be interesting to see how the experiment goes.
So let’s briefly take a look at the pro’s and con’s of this debate.
I am 6ft 5in tall, which means I am an absolute nightmare to be stood or sat behind. I am conscious enough to realise this, and I like to feel that I am courteous enough, to make sure anyone behind me can see.
There is no doubt in my mind that standing at football brings a better atmosphere. When you’re free from your seat, it gives you more energy to get involved in the chanting, the clapping and the singing. It’s more comfortable; you don’t have to squeeze in like a tin of sardines when you stand.
However, I am very aware how sitting down can be just as important.
A lot of families will be coming to the Olympic Stadium, which means parents bringing their children. These young people are the future of our club, and it’s important that we make sure they enjoy the experience. As much as standing makes the atmosphere, what’s an atmosphere when you can’t see the football match? Then there is the older generation, the pensioners, those who have been part of our club since the days when stands existed. They cannot stand for longer periods, so sitting is vital for them. They cannot sit behind supporters who are standing.
I feel it is quite selfish for supporters to stand “just because they want to”. This now poses the question as to how we resolve the issue. There is only one way really, and that is to eventually create a safe standing zone within the stadium. I know David Gold is a believer of this, and I genuinely feel that this will eventually come to our stadium.