A number of prominent Arsenal supporters’ groups have signed an open letter calling on owner Stan Kroenke to “reinvigorate” the Gunners claiming that the club is, “at a crossroads,” and demanding that: “Things need to change,”
As well as urging the American billionaire – who first invested in Arsenal in 2007 and became majority shareholder in 2011 – to honour commitments made in his takeover document and recommend a boardroom overhaul to create a hierarchy that is “fit for purpose,” fans also suggest an improved ticketing system and call on Arsenal to back initiatives such as safe standing.
In the letter the fans claim: “On a matchday the Emirates Stadium can be a soulless place. The atmosphere is poor and there are thousands of empty seats blighting almost every game. If Arsenal really cared they would make sure seats weren’t left empty by investing in an improved ticketing system and actively supporting initiatives like safe standing.”
A ban on standing terraces at top-flight English football grounds was introduced following recommendations made by Lord Justice Taylor in his inquiry after the deaths of the 96 Liverpool supporters in the Hillsborough disaster of 1989. However, Supporter groups have been calling for safe standing to be introduced at English football grounds for years, claiming it will improve the atmosphere and allow those who prefer to stand at games the option to do so.
Currently, standing at top-flight and second-tier English football grounds is still outlawed, however a recent change in legislation means that seats incorporating rails in-between are permitted following new guidance from the Sports Ground Safety Authority (SGSA), the body in charge of ground safety, which has paved the way for the use of rail seats with Wolverhampton Wanderers announcing they would do so at their Molineux Stadium this coming season.
But with League One and League Two clubs exempt from such legislation Shrewsbury Town became the first club in the country to install rail seating at their New Meadow following the successful completion of their crowdfunding campaign thanks to a considerable contribution from FansBet.
“The club needs to do lots more with the online booking system to make it easier for season ticket holders who can’t always make a Monday 8pm game, for example, to sell tickets at face value easier,” Gav from She Wore a Yellow Ribbon explained to FansBet.
“The atmosphere is now light years away from when grounds were terraces and is nowhere near as loud as it was at Highbury even when it became all-seater and as fans we must carry on petitioning the clubs, the FA and the government to allow fans to stand safely.
“All-seater stadiums, ticket prices of £65 and the atmosphere in the ground have contributed towards people just not going to games anymore, preferring to meet up and watch matches in the pub instead,” he claims. “We have a generation now who have never stood with all their friends and sung their hearts out, I feel for them and it’s for them and the future I fully back safe standing.”
I honestly think the Arsenal campaign #WeCareDoYou is so refreshing as fans really do need a voice! @HighburySquad which I’m part of backed it from the start and although blame can go far this is about the here, now and the future!!! More fan engagement needed so unite 👍🏿⚽️❤️
— Kevin Campbell (@1kevincampbell) July 16, 2019
Meanwhile, Craig from Same Old Arsenal told us: “Safe Standing has to happen in all Premier League grounds in my opinion. We see grounds in Europe with outstanding atmospheres and some are quite hostile. Bringing back standing would be a massive improvement to all grounds around the country.
“Instead of extending the Corporate areas of the stadium, it should have been extended for the working fan and their families. This would have created more seats that may have been made available at cheaper prices.”
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