Millwall CEO reveals club's view of safe standing

MILLWALL are “monitoring” developments in safe standing – but it’s not something the club expects to trial in the near future.

Under current legislation, clubs in the top two tiers of English football are required to have all-seater stadiums, based on recommendations from the Taylor Report into the Hillsborough disaster.

Last season, Celtic in the Scottish Premier League modified an area of Parkhead and installed rail seats – seats that flip up when not being used, with waist-high rails in front of supporters to prevent potential crowd surges.

Safe standing is particularly associated with German football, with Borussia Dortmund’s ‘yellow wall’ – the 25,000-capacity terrace at the Westfalenstadion – an iconic success story.

Last month, League One Shrewsbury Town applied for safe standing at Greenhous Meadow and are hoping to raise over £50,000 to install rail seats before the end of next season.

And this week, a Liverpool supporters’ group, Spirit of Shankly, announced they would have an online vote to gauge fan’s views on the issue.

Safe standing has significant fan backing in the UK, with the Football Supporters’ Federation campaigning for its reintroduction for a number of years.

Millwall chief executive Steve Kavanagh revealed the club are “keeping an eye” on the latest moves elsewhere.

“I looked into the safe standing situation when I was at Southend and it’s not as straightforward as just putting some new seats in,” Kavanagh said. “It’s more complex doing the break in the stand, etc.

“It requires a change in legislation, as I understand it, even for the units that are being trialled in Scotland to be put into the stand.

“I’m aware of the issue and I am monitoring it. Obviously at the right time, if it became viable, then we would look at whether it would be viable for us.

“I don’t think that it’s something that we would look to trial, and I don’t think the authorities would be overly happy with us trialling it either.

“We will stand behind others and we are keeping an eye on it as we would do with anything that adds atmosphere in the ground and is welcomed and requested by the fans.”

Image: Millwall FC 

John Kelly