Shrewsbury Town have now confirmed that they have reached their crowd funding target of £65,000 to create a safe standing section at New Meadow.
Having set the target a few months ago, more than £65,000 has been raised and chief Executive Brian Caldwell now believes the club are in a position to be a ‘flagship club’ for tackling the popular topic at hand.
‘Safe standing has been something fans have campaigned to see introduced for many years. We will now continue to work closely with our local Safety Advisory Group to gain the necessary certification for the safe standing area and hope to have supporters watching home games from the safe standing area before the end of the season. As one of the few clubs with an all-seater ground able to introduce a rail seating section, Shrewsbury Town will now lead the way in making the case for a change in policy and adding a standing option to the match-day experience for all clubs and fans.’
Shrewsbury applied to have safe standing back in June, with plans to have rail seats fitted to one section of their Salop Stand by the end of the 2017/18 campaign.
They are one of a few clubs to have the choice, as New Meadow is a decade old and not governed by the all seater legislation that permits clubs in League One and Two to keep terracing that existed prior to 1994.
Now this doesn’t impact at Premier League level and the top tier of football is certainly not going to notice any changes any time soon, but for proponents of ‘safe standing’ and those clubs on record as being interested in the potential and those offering themselves up for a trial should legislation change, it’s another important step and gives the campaign something tangible to build on in the English game – Scotland’s Celtic already having such a safe standing area.
With Liverpool’s recent vote on safe standing indicating that although issues remain to be solved, 88% of fans polled by the Spirit of Shankly group were in favour of safe standing and/or in favour of continuing to discuss the idea, this trial by Shrewsbury will obviously help in that direction.
As plans now progress the section should house around 400 fans and work as a live test model as the safe standing campaigns continue and allied to experiences gained from Celtic, and other countries such as Germany, keeping the issue front and centre and demonstrating the ‘safe’ value will only strengthen the cause of those lobbying for a change.
Being an EFL issue, the Premier League themselves have made no comment at this stage, but should the EFL successfully lobby for a change in legislation, even if that’s limited to the EFL tiers initially, a change at Premier League level you’d think would naturally follow.
EFL chief executive Shaun Harvey added.
‘I am pleased that Shrewsbury Town has successfully sourced the necessary funding to support the proposed installation of rail seating. I know the campaign has benefitted from a strong community effort and I congratulate the club’s supporters, as well as those from other clubs that have contributed. The EFL is committed to seeking a change in the law that will give all of our clubs the same opportunity to install standing accommodation at their grounds should they wish. We are keen to see how the installation enhances the match-day experience at Shrewsbury Town and we hope it provides evidence we can take to government to support our objective.’
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