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Thread: Safe standing: a response from Paul Barber

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    1997 Club attila's Avatar
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    Safe standing: a response from Paul Barber


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    I have given this its own thread since some people may miss it if it's just tailed on to the other one, and it's obviously important. If the moderators want to move it that's fine.
    This is a lot better than that press release, anyway....

    Interesting that loss of revenue is cited as one of the factors - so this is obviously considered more important than the inclusivity factor of fans on lower incomes being able to watch games. Surely there are enough revenue streams for that to happen, Paul? We already have reduced prices for pensioners and kids: why should working people on low incomes be priced out of games, including, I know, some who were in the forefront of the battle to secure the stadium? Football as a microcosm of society.....

    Interesting that safe standing is deemed 'non inclusive'. With safe standing, everyone has a choice. You can choose to stand in the North Stand or sit anywhere else in the home fans' part of the stadium. The current system is Hobson's choice (wonder where he is now?)

    Interesting, and predictable, that the 'misbehaviour' argument is used. Every other country in Europe has safe standing. The authorities in Germany, the home of safe standing, are very happy and rightly so. I have stood many times on the Gegengerade at St Pauli with a pint (and in the Cup semi v Bayern a pint and a flare!) and never had any problems, nor seen any around me, just LOADS of atmosphere, noise and colour!

    Interesting that the North corners are mentioned since Derek Chapman told me that at a board meeting he suggested not putting the seats in and waiting for a trial to be possible: quoting him 'this went down like a lead balloon' !
    Understandable, since of course legislation does not permit such a trial as present. Of course the seats should go in. That leaves us in the same position as every other club if/when legislation permitted it.

    My view, already expressed elsewhere is that we take the long view. Support the national campaign for safe standing, and if/when it starts being introduced at other grounds in the UK, simply pose the question again, in the manner to which we've become accustomed to over the last 15 years In the meantime, enjoy our lovely new stadium, eat all the pies, drink all the beer and hope we have something approaching a defence at the valley on Saturday......

    The 'at this time' in the middle of the reply is perhaps the most interesting bit of all. Keep plugging away, Derek


    Dear John

    Thank you for your e-mail.


    Martin has told me about the effort and commitment that you and many other supporters have put in over the years in support of our Club - bringing in Dick and his consortium, fighting for planning permission, and even campaigning for real ale at the stadium.


    The Brighton story is now well known the football world over and what has been achieved here is simply fantastic. I am absolutely delighted to now be playing a small part in helping to shape the next chapter in this remarkable Club's history.


    I know that Derek Chapman has already responded to you on the Museum issue but just to confirm the tenders for the various packages are now at an advanced stage and we hope to be in a position to award the work very soon.


    We are all looking forward to a grand opening ceremony for the museum and huge credit should go to Tim Carder who has been the inspiration behind this important and exciting project for the Club.

    With regard to safe standing, you won't be surprised to hear that we are well aware of the various recent articles and message board threads. We have also discussed the issue at Board level and the Club's position is that we are not able to support the proposal at this time. The reasons for this are threefold.

    Firstly, it's important to be clear that if there was a change in legislation and standing at football stadia was permitted, it would not result in an increase in the capacity of our stadium.


    The reason for this is that the capacity of a stand is not just simply calculated on the area of the terracing itself. It is also constrained by the width of exit routes, means of escape and the back-up facilities including number of toilets and catering kiosks.


    The Amex was designed in compliance with the current editions of the Green Guide to Safety at Sports Grounds and current legislation, and to increase the capacity of the north stand would result in the need for major structural alterations to all of these elements.


    On the basis therefore that the capacity of our stadium would not increase and the general expectation would be for ticket prices in a standing area to be reduced in price, this would result in a significant loss of revenue for the Club.


    At a time when the Chairman and the Club has invested over £100 million in what is considered to be one of the world's best all seater stadiums and with new financial fair play rules now on the horizon - meaning the Club needs to build its revenues - you will appreciate this would not be a sensible direction for the Club to take, particularly when more than ever before our income levels will dictate what we can invest on the pitch.

    The second reason is that this is the wrong time for us to be considering this proposal or offering to provide a venue for a trial. As you know we are in the final stages of completing the additional capacity for the stadium taking us up to a total capacity of 30,750. The north-east and north-west corners are due for completion in March in time for the final matches of the season and we are in detailed negotiations with our Safety Advisory Group over the amendments to the Safety Certificate that will be needed to allow us to bring these new areas in to use.


    We do not see any imminent signs of the Government altering legislation for standing at football matches and therefore we cannot stop the process of installing seats in accordance with our planning permission or securing the necessary final approvals from our Safety Advisory Group and Building Control.


    If we were to stop and wait for a change in legislation - that may of course never come - we will not hit the ambitious target we have set to have these seats available before the end of the current season and so, to avoid any disruption to this process, we must stick to our current plans.

    Finally, we are genuinely concerned about the inclusiveness of a standing area. We understand and appreciate that there is a body of supporters who would like to stand at football matches but there is also a group – not necessarily vocal on North Stand Chat or other message boards but who do watch matches from the North Stand as well as other areas of the stadium - who are totally against standing at matches. We do receive messages and e-mails from these supporters as well as from those who support standing.


    In our opinion, whilst a standing area may attract the more vocal supporter - and as much as this may be attractive for stadium atmosphere - it also means that other sectors of the supporter community including children, women, the elderly, and disabled supporters (who don't need or want to use our special disabled seating areas) would not be able to access an important and popular area of our Stadium.


    Unfortunately, as we have previously explained to fans on North Stand Chat, whilst the vast majority of supporters who wish to stand will be very well behaved, some fans simply won't be. Stadium safety experts, including our own, advise that standing areas allow such individuals who wish to behave badly or appropriately to do so in a way that simply isn't possible in a modern all seater stadium such as ours.


    At the Amex we have worked very hard to ensure that all areas of the stadium are as safe, welcoming, and inclusive to as many people as possible and therefore a standing area goes against that philosophy on a number of levels and so it's not a direction we wish to take.

    I appreciate that this response is not what you will want to hear but I do hope that you and other supporters who have expressed views on this matter, either directly to us or through North Stand Chat, will now better understand and respect the Club's position. Much has been achieved here in recent years and it's very important that we continue to build our Club inclusively and with the growing importance of financial fair play rules uppermost in our minds.


    Martin and I would of course be happy to meet with you to explain our position further or to answer any questions you may have. In the meantime, thank you for your continued support for the Club. I look forward to meeting you at some point soon.


    Kind regards, Paul

    Paul Barber
    Chief Executive
    Brighton & Hove Albion FC

    Sent from my iPhone
    Last edited by attila; 05-12-2012 at 09:57. Reason: another bit


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  2. #2
    The voice of reason. hans kraay fan club's Avatar
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    I think that's a pretty thorough response (whether you agree with all of his arguments or not).

    I certainly hadn't considered the effect that trialling or supporting Safe Standing might potentially have had on our current planning issues.

    And it rules out the 'increased capacity' argument of those promoting a change, too.
    The above post is simply my opinion. I am not bullying you, should it differ from your own.

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    That's also puts an end to the North Stand upper tier then?
    Brighton & Hove Albion will be there long after the current players, manager,chairman......thanks to who?...you of course!

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    [Insert witty title here] shaolinpunk's Avatar
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    In an ideal world, sure, Safe Standing would be great, but I'm perfectly happy with the Amex just the way it is.
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    I take that as a "currently, it's a no, but may happen in the future"..
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    The voice of reason. hans kraay fan club's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GreersElbow View Post
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    I take that as a "currently, it's a no, but may happen in the future"..
    Kidding yourself.
    The above post is simply my opinion. I am not bullying you, should it differ from your own.

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    1997 Club attila's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GreersElbow View Post
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    I take that as a "currently, it's a no, but may happen in the future"..
    Reading between the lines, I'd say that too...

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    A fair response for me, they do need to be a bit more sensible with how the North Stand is stewarded though if safe standing is a non-starter,
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    Olympic Gold Medallist Frutos's Avatar
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    Re: Safe standing: a response from Paul Barber


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    Seems a considered, thorough response to me.
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    Quote Originally Posted by attila View Post
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    Reading between the lines, I'd say that too...

    If other clubs took the lead in say ten years time, we would not want to be one of the last clubs to go down this route so PB's response has to reflect this. Just keeping the door slightly open.......just in case!
    Brighton & Hove Albion will be there long after the current players, manager,chairman......thanks to who?...you of course!

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    Quote Originally Posted by hans kraay fan club View Post
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    I think that's a pretty thorough response (whether you agree with all of his arguments or not).

    I certainly hadn't considered the effect that trialling or supporting Safe Standing might potentially have had on our current planning issues.

    And it rules out the 'increased capacity' argument of those promoting a change, too.
    agreed

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    The ONLY Gay in Brighton El Presidente's Avatar
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    Fair play to Barber for a well thought out response. There are some holes in his argument though, CCTV would certainly address the issue of troublemakers, anyone who ever stood on the terraces will know that there were always some parts which were fine for women and kids, and remember, they do have three other stands, which hold over 25,000 people, where they could choose to watch the match.

    Ultimately there is no political will to address the key issue of changing legislation. If you read the Taylor Report in detail, even he did not say that all seater stadia was the answer to Hillsborough, but it was mentioned in the report and seized upon by the big clubs, who want to replace what they see as noisy yobs with a more gentrified clientele, and those clubs have got their wishes.
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    He's Not A Jelly Belly Jello's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by attila View Post
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    Kind regards, Paul

    Paul Barber
    Chief Executive
    Brighton & Hove Albion FC

    Sent from my iPhone
    He typed all that on his iPhone, fair play!

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    #cpfctinpotclub seagullsovergrimsby's Avatar
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    An element of fans misbehaving won't be bothered to take into account whether or not they are in a seated area or in a safe standing area , they will still misbehave. If and when they introduce safe standing at The Amex I suspect there won't be any price reductions on ST's but the club could take the opportunity to look at inclusivity from all aspects.
    Response to a post by SeasideEagle on BBS - "Are you another account belonging to cpfc2010? You seem to be spouting the same bullshit."

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    Registered User yxee's Avatar
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    Seems like a fair response and nice to hear it from Barber himself (/know that it's being discussed at board level).


    Doesn't change the fact that a lot of people want to stand, and if some people don't, then perhaps they can relocate to one of the other 90% of the seats in the stadium which aren't in the north? Inclusion works both ways. Plus, I don't think anyone is demanding a reduction in price for the option to stand, so no revenue is lost.

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