The first rail seating area on the UK mainland to hold spectators for a football match was unveiled at Celtic Park this weekend.
2,975 safe standing rail seats have been installed in one corner of Celtic Park and it was packed with fans at the weekend for a friendly fixture against German side Wolfsburg.
Attending the launch, Jon Darch from the Safe Standing Roadshow said: “A fantastic atmosphere will be in store for the fans here and for the fans all across the stadium.”
Installation of the safe standing section at Celtic began earlier in the summer ahead of the new season at a cost of around £500,000.
“It’s a huge investment in spectator safety, in passion, colour, noise and atmosphere,” Jon said in a broadcast video to the Supporters Summit at Wembley.
As the stadium PA system boomed out behind him, Jon added “You don’t want loudspeakers to be used to make the noise in a ground, you want it to be the fans – and this is a significant investment in that.”
The club was given the go-ahead to implement rail seating last summer following negotiations between Celtic and the local Safety Advisory Group.
The power to make decisions on stadium safety are devolved in Scotland, allowing local authorities there to give the green light to standing areas in the top flight, which is not the case in England and Wales.
“It’s taken the club the best part of ten years to get to this point, ” Jon added. “Stadium manager Rob Buchanan has been looking at ways of making the fans who like to stand in this stadium safer.”
Demand for the safe standing section has been high – the 2,975 selling out immediately to season ticket holders during the renewals process.
Jon said that the rail seating area now has a substantial waiting list with fans eager to fill any expansion of the safe standing area, should the club choose to do so.
- See the rail seats being installed below…
Thanks to Greg Mitchell for the image used in this news story.