Communication Leads To Community
PRESS RELEASE FROM CHERRIES TRUST
Overwhelming support for safe standing at potential new AFC Bournemouth stadium
Research undertaken by the Cherries Trust, in conjunction with the Football Supporters Federation, has shown a clear appetite for safe standing to be incorporated in the club's proposed new King's Park stadium.
Nine of out every ten people to respond to the survey said they would like it to be included in a new stadium design. The survey, which was promoted to fans of AFC Bournemouth via social media, also showed that over 70% of respondents preferred to stand at football matches, an option not currently available at Premier League football matches.
The main reason given for this was that standing produced a better atmosphere, which comes as boss Eddie Howe gave a rallying cry to supporters saying that the club 'need them more than ever' due to rising expectations. Howe, himself no stranger to standing on the terraces of the club's Dean Court ground in his younger years, took the time to meet with fans in the build-up to the season in order to get their perspective on how atmosphere could be improved. It seems like a long-term solution could lie in safe standing.
James Swyer, Cherries Trust secretary, welcomed the results of the survey, noting “We want all fans to be able to enjoy football matches in a way that suits them. There is clear support for safe standing from our fanbase and I hope the club takes note.” He went on to say that “Safe standing isn't a new concept. European clubs have embraced it and English fans are starting to get on board and ask why it's not an option here. Shrewsbury have shown the power of passionate fans seeking change, and Premier League fans have sat up and taken notice”.
The club have proposed to build a new stadium near the existing Vitality Stadium in time for the 2020/21 season and, with the national campaign to legalise safe standing gaining more support, it could be a viable option by the time a new ground is opened. They wouldn't be the first Premier League club to do so - Tottenham's new stadium will also have 7,500 seats that can be transformed into standing blocks if the law is changed.
There is little doubt that standing is a key issue for matchgoing fans. Two-thirds of those taking part in the survey have been told to sit down by stewards, with over half of fans having been inconvenienced by those around them standing - either having to stand themselves or missing part of the action. Greater choice and allowing those who want to stand to do so in way which is proven to be safe and doesn't inconvenience other fans seems a logical conclusion.