Martin Hardy: Peterborough lead campaign to stand up for terracing

Life Beyond the Premier League

There's a strange old situation at Peterborough United. If manager Darren Ferguson can turn their season around – they have taken one point from the last eight games – and lead them from the foot of the Championship to safety, half of their ground will have to close.

If they fail to arrest the slump and fall into League One, the terraces behind each goal that give visiting supporters at London Road a vision of what watching football used to be about (not that long ago) will remain.

A promoted club into England's top two divisions has three seasons to make their ground all-seater. Peterborough, who went up in 2011, have plans for the hugely popular Moys End, where visiting fans stand (Middlesbrough's fans brought banners calling for its saving last season). A new stand will be built there, incorporating classrooms, sometime shortly.

But it is at the home end, on the London Road Terrace, that Peterborough are hoping to trial the new system that may change the way football is watched in this country. Chief executive Bob Symns went to Hannover to test the seating that is such a feature of the Bundesliga. There, the desire to create safe standing areas (or rail seats as he calls them) gives ends the versatility of being all-seater if the game is sanctioned by Uefa (currently not one of Peterborough's priorities, admittedly) or with the turn of an allen key, all standing, with a metal bar in the fans' own personal space, a little like your own barrier to lean on.

The Hillsborough Independent Panel's historic verdict has given oxygen to the suggestion that fans may stand again in this country. Officially. Therein lies much of Symns', and the Football Supporters' Federation's, safe standing argument. Fans are still standing in their numbers at games, in all-seater stadia.

"We have a national challenge of people standing in seated areas," he said. "I went to Hannover and had a good look. It just seems such a sensible option. You have to be very respectful of what happened at Hillsborough, which I am.

"I couldn't help be impressed by what I saw at Hannover. They give you safer standing than standing in a seating area. I spoke to our fans and we have to make our ground all-seater. They said they will stand in the new stand.

"My whole point is, let's trial it. I'm not saying we have to have it. Let's trial it. We're trialling goal-line technology, this seems a sensible time to do this as well. Let us pop these in at one end of our ground. You wouldn't have to travel to Germany to see how it works. You can invite the government, the FA and safety advisory groups to see it in action."

The FSF has led the way on this and has the support of Aston Villa and others for a trial. The meeting at Portcullis House in Westminster on Tuesday showed there is a growing audience for the possibility of change now that it has been proven, through the HIP report, that fans did not cause their own deaths at Hillsborough.

"It was quite a big step for the safe standing campaign," he added. "An expert in safety was there, senior match commanders were on board, as are our local police and safety officers. You can't make 1,000 people sit at once. Let's make it safer where they stand.

"As an individual, I want to sit. Potentially, we've reached a stage where you cannot get some sections of supporters to sit down. There is a safer way of managing it. We're not saying change the rules, we're saying trial it.

"It doesn't make a lot of difference financially. People say you'll get more in but that depends. There are different sizes. It is said to be 1.5 to 1.8 more people to each seat. They can be made as wide as you want so it may not be that different.

"They won't be cheap to put in. I'm talking about safety, and these are safer. That is the starting point."

A model of a Neanderthal man on display at the National Museum of Prehistory in Dordogne, France
Dawkins: 'There’s a very interesting reason why a prince could not turn into a frog – it's statistically too improbable'
newsThat's Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome
Arts and Entertainment
Eye of the beholder? 'Concrete lasagne' Preston bus station
architectureWhich monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Life and Style
This month marks the 20th anniversary of the first online sale
techDespite a host of other online auction sites and fierce competition from Amazon, eBay is still the most popular e-commerce site in the UK
Arts and Entertainment
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home