Standing Area At Celtic Park

Standing At The Game

Standing areas at football grounds is a thing many fans want. On 23 September 2011 the STV website published the following PR fluff on behalf of Celtic – Celtic studying feasibility of standing area at Celtic Park . Finally it looked like Celtic  would consider investing in a dedicated standing area. They even went as far as inviting Joe O’Rourke , secretary of the Celtic Supporters Association amongst others to attend one company’s demonstration of a system which complied with FIFA/UEFA rules. See pic below:

Standing at celtic park
proposed SAFE Standing at celtic park
Finally myself a lot of our support thought we would get the option to stand. We are still waiting.
Before I go off in one I would like to give credit to the Celtic for the great improvements they have managed to bring in over the summer. Better disabled access and areas, a dedicated kids area, full Wi Fi and a pub. You can’t do all that on the cheap. However apart from the improvements for our disabled fans and Wi – Fi which is essential for building future income the other things don’t really add value. Standing areas will.
Like any other improvement in the stadium introducing standing areas will cost us money. What the board need to balance out is money going out in capital investment and eventually returning a profit. That’s the way of the world. However ‘punters through the gates’ will always generate the bulk of our income. That is why I believe offering cheaper standing ticket packages will bring in far more money than a pub.
Fergus was spot on when he paraphrased Ray Kinsella saying “Build it and They Will Come”. Give us really affordable standing areas and more of us will come. The chances are that the greater ‘footfall’ will in turn generate more money via merchandising and food sales. It will also enhance the atmosphere in the stadium which in turn drives on the team.
Celtic are the only viable football club in Scotland, on the downside we are stuck in Scottish football for the foreseeable future. Surely now is the time to entice more people through the gates. A full Celtic Park will kill off most opposition.
And that is a fact !

2 thoughts on “Standing Area At Celtic Park

  1. Good piece but I disagree with your point re: value. If you mean value to the club then yes, financially these additions may not bring in additional capital; although I’m sure the pub will. The real value comes to supporters who use these services: less ambulant folkhave called for better facilities for years, wi-fi is expected in the modernday by many, and the pub will prove a success to many folkwho simply gather outside the ground on matchday.
    I myself will continue to enjoy the sun in Oz and rely on TV as well as flogs like your own to bring value to me.
    Hail Hail

  2. Jas
    I have never been a great believer in telepathy but this article has just raised not a few doubts about my stance as well as the rare hair left on the back of my neck. I had just read yesterday’s ETims diary and was thinking about standing on the terracing at Hampden the day of the ’71 League Cup final against Partick. It prompted me to consider writing something about watching football in those days and here you are discussing standing areas.
    For me, and I am sure many of my generation, football lost at least a massive amount of atmosphere when all seating was introduced. We could no longer hug and dance and jump for joy when we actually got a free kick from a referee who did not have to consider “honest mistakes”. Refs just openly made them in those day. Interaction on the terraces then was the name of the game and social mingling was the order of the day. I made friends from everywhere and in all parts of the ground and would try to get beside them no matter where we played. If an area was not as we wanted it to be on a particular day, we simply moved and often the weather would determine from where you viewed the game. Of course, on those freezing cold miserable days and nights when your inner thighs could have made a fortune on the brass they cushioned and you could see the game through without an half time comfort break simply because everything upstairs and downstairs was frozen solid, a good cuddle with friends cheered you up no end. And folk think the huddle is something new. In our day it was practical too.
    The introduction of seating for the football populace was another of those seemingly common knee jerk reactions rather than a sensible or well thought through solution. Safety definitely was a growing problem but considering there used to be 70/80 thousand fairly regularly stuffed into Celtic Park when it was not in the best condition and that the dump (there could well be those who think it still is) that was our national stadium held 134 thousand one time and 90/100 plus on other occasions, standing was not the essential issue. The real problem was the state of the stadiums. There were few, if any, that could boast easily accessible entrances and exits. There were no arrangements to section off and limit numbers in a given area. Sturdy and tested barriers and sound steps and footing were unknown. Coordinated and sensible policing and stewarding and basic facilities like enough and half decent toilets simply did not exist. I remember occasions at Hampden when additional toilets were made available available outside the ground (inside there were about four toilet blocks that could cope with about a dozen people at most. Imagine 134 pairs of balls holding all that beer in :)) consisted of approximately four large portakabins with about six aluminium bins in each, yes bins, the majority of which leaked and created a waterfall out of the doorway that was proportionate to the ones on the American and Canadian borders. No, standing was not the root cause of disasters at football matches but the provision of facilities not fit for purpose and the supervision and treatment of fans that were more inhumane than that applied to animals in a zoo. It was decent conditions in stadiums and respectful treatment of supporters that should have been tackled (Did the investigation of the Hillsborough tragedy not confirm what I say i.e. police doing their own thing and making up their own rules then using supporters pre-determined behaviour as the excuse? Perhaps not unlike the conclusions of the S.N.P. after a recent match). But what the investigations conveniently concluded back then was that the solution lay in all seated stadiums. No it did not, that was the lazy, easy way out. Upgrading existing facilities to an acceptably safe standard would have retained the right atmosphere and allowed for more reasonable pricing. As it was, it solved an issue without too much effort and gave most clubs carte blanche to hike prices to cover for the inevitable drop in numbers. This meant that many regular supporters could no longer afford to attend games. Of course, the introduction of limited tickets for away supporters added to the fans’ difficulties in that only a limited number were allowed to attend away games. This drastically reduced small clubs income as the remaining seats in these grounds were and still are rarely if ever taken up by the home supporters. It also opened the floodgates of overpricing for the travelling supports of the two largest clubs – now, of course reduced to one.
    All in all, having standing areas at football grounds is a serious issue that needs addressed urgently if Scottish football is to take advantage of all the measures available to it to increase attendances and, more importantly, improve the atmosphere and match day experience for fans. And don’t they need that right now, Mr. Doncaster? Rather, will you look at this potential improvement, Mr. Doncaster? As people do not reach the grand old age of Methuselah any more, I guess I will not be seeing your response anywhere.
    H H

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