The Hillsborough disaster of ’89 is constantly in the forefront of Liverpool supporter’s minds, which is why the Football Supporter’s Federation’s decision to campaign for terraces to be returned to English stadiums will probably shock, and confuse, the majority of us.
You may think that this decision by a few to campaign for terraces does not affect LFC or the supporters, however, we will end up being at the centre of this debate, as the Hillsborough Family Support Group already are, to show the campaigners the devastating effects terraces have had at stadiums, and the reason why they are banned to this day.
Trying to write about this objectively is difficult as a Liverpool fan as, understandably, I am biased and will have my opinion swayed by the tragic events at Hillsborough, and an unwillingness to see that happen again, whether at Hillsborough, Anfield or any ground in the country.
The FSF’s argument is that they have terraces in countries such as Germany, and they have had none, or little, casualties due to having terraces. Another argument made was that the tragic loss of 96 lives on 15th April 1989 wasn’t due to terraces, it was due to overcrowding and fences.
With all due respect, even though there have been little reported problems of terraces in Germany, the football cultures in Germany and England are different, and what works in one country does not necessarily mean it would work in another.
I can understand the point that terraces were not the only cause of the Hillsborough tragedy, and that fences and overcrowding played their part, but terraces were a contributing factor, and I have to wonder if it’s really worth the risk?
The FSF argue that terraces add to the atmosphere at grounds, and that most of the fans stand anyway, but surely atmosphere is down to the fans to create, and not created from what they may or may not be sat on? Nobody can argue that the atmosphere at Anfield is anything but electric, and I’ve been to other football grounds where the atmosphere is amazing, all without terraces. Will they really bring in atmosphere, or is this just a case of more fans being able to get tickets to games?
Seating in stadiums has also brought diversity into stadiums with more women and children attending games since the ban on terraces came in to place, and surely that’s a good thing for English football, and football in general.
The overall point of this is that one good thing came of the tragic loss of the 96 souls, a ban on terraces meaning a much higher standard of safety in stadiums. If terraces were brought back, yes, there wouldn’t be fences, yes, the clubs would have to monitor the amount of people being let into the ground, but, is it really worth the risk? Do we really want the lives of 96 people to be in vain? Do we really want in years to come to be fighting for Justice for Another 96?
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