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Peterborough United: “We back Safe Standing”

This is a story from the FSF archive – the FSF and SD merged to become the FSA in 2019.

  • The Posh offer London Road as pilot for safe standing areas
  • Chief executive says current rules for Championship are “bizarre”
  • Club mascot Peter Burrow stars in pro-safe standing silent movie

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Peterborough United chief executive Bob Symns has given his backing to the Football Supporters’ Federation’s (FSF) Safe Standing Campaign. Symns even offered to use the club’s London Road ground to trial safe standing areas if Parliament and the football authorities would authorise it.

Symns made the announcement before the Posh’s friendly match at home to Aston Villa on Wednesday 1st August 2012. In a neat twist Villa’s chief executive Paul Faulkner is another supporter of safe standing.

Writing in the club’s programme, Symns said: “On Monday the 25th June I travelled to Hannover in Germany to visit the city’s Bundesliga football club Hannover 96.

“The object of the visit was to see firsthand the ‘rail seat’ system which is used extensively throughout Germany where supporters have the choice of whether to sit or stand.”

Peterborough United are in the Championship and, should they avoid relegation during the 2012-2013 season, will be forced to close their ‘terraced’ ends or install seated accommodation. If the club were relegated to League One they would be allowed keep their terraces. Symns said this was “bizarre”.

Rules for Championship are “bizarre”

“The trip confirmed all my initial understanding of the rail-seat potential, our existing terraces are safe and well managed, but as of the summer they will be deemed unsafe. That’s unless, heaven forbid, we went down, in which case they would bizarrely be deemed still safe to use.

“Having seen a new option in Hannover, I am convinced that a standing area fitted with rail seats would be even safer still and I cannot see any logical reason why we should not be allowed to build a new London Road End incorporating such an area.

“I therefore fully support the FSF’s Safe Standing Campaign and hope that together we can persuade the powers that be to look seriously at the rail seat option. If they wanted to use London Road as a pilot site, we’d be more than happy to oblige!”

Symns’ was accompanied on his trip to Germany by Richard Hodgson and Kevin Dawkins, both representatives of Peterborough City Council, and Adi Mowles, chairman of the Peterborough Independent Supporters’ Association. Symns visit was arranged by Jon Darch who runs the Safe Standing Roadshow.

Peterborough United are latest in a growing list of football figures to back safe standing areas. Earlier this year Aston Villa chief executive Paul Faulkner voiced his support while the Scottish Premier League has also said it would like to trial safe standing areas.

In July Derby County and Nigel Clough followed suit while Wembley architect John Barrow of Populous said safe standing areas could be introduced “without any problems at all”. Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis also said he was “open” to safe standing.

Great news

Peter Daykin, the FSF’s safe standing co-ordinator, welcomed Symns’ comments: “It’s great news and the FSF is delighted to welcome Peterborough United aboard.

“Bob Symns is the latest in an ever-growing list of important football figures to back the FSF’s Safe Standing Campaign. It’s credit to Bob that he’s not only listened to fans, but took time out of his busy diary to head over to Germany and see what rail seats are all about for himself.

“There’s a real head of steam gathering behind safe standing and we hope those in positions of power take note – it’s not just fans who would like safe standing areas, so would many of the industry’s leading figures.”

It’s not just fans, chief executives and architects who back safe standing though – so too does Peterborough United’s mascot Peter Burrow. As you can see in the silent movie below, which was shot at Hannover 96 in Germany, the giant rabbit is all ears for the safe standing arguments.

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