Call for standing area at Sunderland’s Stadium of Light

Safc v Tottenham Hotspurs (Spurs) 1-2 - Stewards kepping fans seated at Saturdays match with Tottenham
Safc v Tottenham Hotspurs (Spurs) 1-2 - Stewards kepping fans seated at Saturdays match with Tottenham
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SUNDERLAND AFC can pioneer a safe-standing revolution at the Stadium of Light, it was claimed today.

A Love Supreme fanzine editor Martyn McFadden says the introduction of modern terracing, such as that seen across Germany, is the best way to strike the balance between safety and fan enjoyment.

And he believes that once one Premier League club makes the move, others will swiftly follow.

The call comes after 38 Black Cats supporters had their season tickets revoked for the Boxing Day clash with Premier League champions Manchester City, following complaints of persistent standing.

SAFC is yet to confirm whether similar action was taken in Saturday’s match against Tottenham Hotspur.

Chief executive Margaret Byrne told the club’s official website there was no intention to alienate any supporters and asked for fans’ understanding.

She said: “The tragedy at Hillsborough, which led to the loss of the lives of 96 football fans, galvanised a change in football legislation through the implementation of the findings of the Taylor Report.

“Persistent standing in all-seater stadia is simply not allowed.

“This isn’t a Sunderland Football Club rule, it’s a legal obligation that all clubs have to adhere to in the interests of the safety of all supporters, which is always our primary concern.”

While he understands the club’s position, Martyn argues they have not handled the situation as well as they might have, particularly with those fans slapped with a one-match ban.

“The club should have spoken to these people to explain the problem,” he said.

“I’m sure they’d have appreciated that, rather than taking the season tickets and tweeting a picture of the seats. It’s not the best PR, is it?

“I don’t want to single Margaret out, but using the Hillsborough argument is just an easy angle.

“That happened because of the fencing and poor policing.”

He added: “The club need to look after the loyal supporters who are the lifeblood of the club.

“They need to look at introducing safe standing.

“Football has been sanitised by all-seater stadia and there are a lot of people who want to be in a more boisterous area.

“Some forward-thinking club will introduce it, it will prove to be a massive success and everyone will be thinking ‘why didn’t we do that’?

“Well why can’t that club be Sunderland?”

Twitter: @sunechomark