Alec Swann - Remember Hillsborough and forget about standing

Northamptonshire Telegraph's sports writers Jon Dunham, Jim Lyon and Alec Swann.
Northamptonshire Telegraph's sports writers Jon Dunham, Jim Lyon and Alec Swann.
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‘When I saw the headline ‘Championship clubs set to push for safe-standing trials’ my immediate thought was that it was a poor joke.

That it was a serious article in one of the national daily papers didn’t detract from the humour but merely blackened it somewhat.

And the ironic side of it was that it appeared a couple of days after the BBC’s Panorama’s documentary on the Hillsborough disaster.

That appalling incident has left a permanent stain on the footballing landscape in this country and it should have sent out a message to all and sundry that any factors that could contribute to a reoccurence should be consigned to the dustbin for good.

And one of those was terracing at top level football grounds.

I’m not naive enough to think that this was the sole reason for the tragic loss of life in Sheffield but it certainly played a part.

Supporters penned in without complete control over their own movements asks for trouble and this is exactly what terracing encourages.

The modern version of a stadium terrace is radically different to that of the late 1980s but it doesn’t eradicate the problem however you want to look at it.

Those who yearn for the days of standing to watch a match are guilty of trying to recreate past glories but there comes a time when everything has to move on and the old adage states you should never go back to a former love.

Terracing was of its time but it’s not of this time.

All-seater stadiums came about for a very good, and unforgettable, reason.

Those pushing for the aforementioned trials should remember that.’

All of the above was written less than a year ago and still rings true, especially with the poignant tributes to those who lost their lives at Hillsborough being given a necessary airing on the 25th anniversary of that dreadful day falling earlier in the week.

Even now, after all the anguish and recriminations, that further calls are being made for terracing to return beggars belief.

It has gone, as have, in case your head is very deep in the sand, far, far too many who just wanted to enjoy an afternoon watching the football team they supported.

Do everybody a favour and let it go.