Below is an open letter to Northampton Town FC in support for safe standing from the Standing At Sixfields safe standing campaign group. The group has been in liaison for some time with the football club. The club commissioned a 2017 survey carried out by Northampton Town Supporters’ Trust in which 85% of respondents replied that they would be in favour of having a choice of a safe standing area at Northampton.
The club then began to develop its own barrier system which is different to the rail seat safe standing in place at Celtic and Shrewsbury Town. The club commissioned a second survey for fans in the North Stand to get their views on safe standing. Their report in the survey reported that “the general comments made in response to the survey did raise genuine concerns of the risk that the club may lose a fair number of season ticket holders if safe standing was introduced”.
Standing At Sixfields was moved to write the following letter in response, co-signed by 144 supporters. The co-signatories were limited to fit on the page but there were many more offers to sign.
Dear Kelvin Thomas, David Bower and James Whiting,
Thank you for the hard work that has gone into the safe standing process so far.
NTFC’s 2017 safe standing survey returned with 85% of respondents stating they would like the choice of a safe standing area at Sixfields. The EFL’s “Stand Up For Choice” survey found that 94% of those sampled believed that clubs should have the ability to provide licensed standing and seated accommodation.
With the FA Cup windfall, there could be an opportunity to invest in rail seat technology which is the gold standard in safe standing.
Rail seating offers multiple benefits including:
- Offers the choice for fans to stand or sit as they do at Northampton Saints rugby but with increased safety via rail seats.
- Applicable if the club were to reach the the Championship or Premier League.
- Eradicates the trip danger of fans falling over standard seat backs & potential health and safety implications..
- Associated atmosphere benefits evidenced at Celtic Park, Shrewsbury Town and high level clubs across Europe who utilise rail seat safe standing.
The EFL found that 84% of under 35’s would prefer to stand and it could be a progressive move to invest in our passionate fans and the next generation of lifetime supporters.
Kilmarnock FC have a rail seat section for their under 16 supporters for this reason. Walsall are the latest similarly sized club which are in progress to achieve rail seat safe standing.
We’d be happy to arrange a meeting with the club to listen to any fans’ concerns, to see what obstacles there are and and how we can work together as a fanbase to overcome them.
There is the potential to recoup some of the costs via a rail seat sponsoring scheme.
We appreciate that this is a very busy time, thank you for taking the time to read this letter and hope that a meeting can be arranged in the next week or two.
Good luck to Keith and the team on Friday night versus Derby in the FA Cup.
The following people are signing this letter of support for the installation of safe standing at Sixfields. *Standing At Sixfields