Sheffield United sent clear message over safe standing as majority of fans want to see it trialled at Bramall Lane

Over 90 per cent of Sheffield United supporters would like their club to trial safe standing at Bramall Lane in the next two years, after an overwhelming majority of Blades fans surveyed signalled their support for rail seating.

Wednesday, 22nd December 2021, 12:11 pm

Commonly used in the German Bundesliga and adopted by Celtic in more recent times, rail seating allows clubs the option to switch between standing and seated areas quickly and safely.

All-seater stadiums were introduced into English football after the Hillsborough Disaster in 1989, but in recent years there has been a groundswell of support for a return to safe standing at games.

Manchester United and Manchester City, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur and Cardiff City will take part in a safe-standing trial from January 1 next year, ahead of any decision on a possible widespread roll-out.

United have already admitted previously when the issue surfaced earlier this year that they “see many benefits in operating a safe standing area at Bramall Lane” and have held “preliminary discussions” with the sports ground safety authority, reserving their right to explore their options before committing further.

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And Blades fans have shown an overwhelming support for safe standing at Bramall Lane, according to a survey of 500 supporters conducted by the independent campaign Stand United.

Of those polled, 91 per cent would like to see United trial safe standing in the next two years, with 88 per cent keen to see it introduced at Bramall Lane.

Over 90 per cent of Sheffield United fans want to see safe standing introduced at Bramall Lane, according to a supporters' survey: Simon Bellis / Sportimage

Only six per cent of respondents were against the idea of rail seating, with almost 91 per cent suggesting the Kop would be a suitable area for it to be installed. Over 86 per cent of fans believe it would improve the atmosphere at Bramall Lane, although almost half of the survey’s respondents believe the biggest obstacle would be that ground developments are unlikely to be funded by the club right now.

Almost a quarter would “definitely” be interested in contributing to a crowdsourced fundraiser to facilitate rail seating at Bramall Lane, and a further 30 per cent would “possibly” be interested.

“The message is clear: Unitedites want the chance to stand safely at Bramall Lane,” said Joseph Clift from Stand United.

“As a growing number of clubs choose to bring rail seating in for their fans, it’s time for United to make this a reality at the Lane.

“Many Blades have already seen rail seating in action on away trips in recent years, and the survey found that fans think this would help to raise the roof at home games. We’d like to see the club work towards trialling this next season.”

A spokesperson for the Football Supporters' Association added: "While the FSA has driven the safe standing campaign at a national level, it would not have succeeded without the support and hard work of fans across the country - so hats off to Stand United for making sure match-goers have had their views heard at Bramall Lane.

“Safe standing has huge support amongst Blades, as shown by the fact that 91 per cent support a trial. This is in keeping with surveys we've seen across the country and we'd encourage the club to talk to Stand United and other supporters' groups to explore the possibility of such areas.”