Manchester United have announced that they are seeking permission to create a safe standing area at Old Trafford. The Club wishes to install up to 1,500 rail seats, whereby fans can stand or sit, in the North-East corner of the stadium. This is the corner across from the away fans section in the South East area. The Club wishes to so this in response to supporter's demands and to improve safety in that area. If successful then the new safe standing area could be installed before the end of this current season.
The North East Corner At Old Trafford
This would mean that Manchester United would be the second club, after Shrewsbury Town to install rail seating in England and the fourth club in Britain (after Celtic and Kilmarnock in Scotland). Whilst Wolverhampton Wanderers and Tottenham Hotspur have more substantial sized areas that incorporate safety rails. As the latter suggests a safety rail runs along each row, to help prevent someone from falling from one row down to another. Rail seating is similar in that it also has a rail running along each row, but the seating can either be locked in the up position for standing only or in the down position to allow the area to be used as a seating area once again and hence comply with all seated requirements.
The Safety Rails At Molineux Wolverhampton Wanderers
Although the introduction of these areas certainly makes it safer for fans, does it really boost the atmosphere? For example at Wolverhampton Wanderers fans already stood in those areas already, whilst at the new Tottenham Stadium, people have not exactly in reviews on this website, being saying that the atmosphere is superb. Whilst Celtic and Shrewsbury have seen their rail seated areas populated by groups who continually sing, or really in truth just make a lot of noise throughout the game. But then is that not almost orchestrated? Is that real atmosphere?
A lot of people have been 'banging the drum' to get safe standing areas introduced for many years and it would seem that they will get their way. But will it really make a huge difference at grounds? If it is an area where people have usually sat rather than stood, or if the Club can somehow increase the capacity by installing rail seating that is smaller than the existing seats, then it may well do so. But otherwise 'it is much a do about nothing.'