Is it time to bring back the Terraces?

by Ray_North on February 14, 2014

Unknown-10This week, at Ashton Gate, home to that great old club, Bristol City, the first tentative steps were made towards the reintroduction of the terracing at football stadium.

It is an emotive subject, and one, that I have to admit, I’m just about reaching an opinion on.

A brief history lesson: terraces were all standing areas, usually behind the goals, at football grounds. They could be incredible places, as anyone who ever stood on the Spion Kop at Anfield or the Stretford End at Old Trafford would testify. The singing was amazing, infinitely superior to anything you get at grounds these days, the banter was terrific, and the atmosphere was electric – there was an edge to the terraces, you never knew if you were going to get beaten up or pissed on, or drenched in lager. Which meant that, at times they could be fairly scary, horrible places as well – Christ, with one surge, after a goal or a near miss, you could find yourself catapulted yards away from your mates as you were dragged on a wave of masculine emotion.

So, let us not be under any illusions, the terracing although exciting, were often smelly, scary and uncomfortable places.

They were of course banned after Hillsborough. And, understandably. But, in actual fact, the terracing was only one contributing factor to the disaster at Hillsborough – because, the Liverpool fans that afternoon, were not just standing on the terraces they were imprisoned in pens and they were being policed by wankers (sorry no other word does justice to the copper who were on duty that day) – that was the way in which football fans were policed at that time: it was brutal, it was inhumane, and ultimately, it was tragically, tragically wrong.

But, would the same be allowed to happen now?

Well, no, of course not – hooliganism at grounds is now thankfully rare. Fans know that with CCTV being so sophisticated if they cause trouble they’ll be out on their ear before they can finish a chant of ‘you’re going home on a St John’s Ambulance’ and that will be swiftly followed by a banning order. If terracing were to be reintroduced, then it would be new modern, safe terracing – there would be no pens, there would be no ultra-tight turnstiles, there would be safety exits and crowd monitoring and safe crash barriers. The alcohol ban in grounds, means that you would no longer live in fear of being drenched in piss or beer.

In addition, the ticket prices for terraces would, I assume, be cheaper thus allowing for those currently estranged from the game because of the massive cost for ticket in the stand, might be allowed back in – which can only be a good thing.

In Germany they still have terracing, and anyone who has seen the crowd at Dortmund or Munich can see that the terraces are working for them. The atmosphere at the German grounds is amazing, the whole football experience is superior.

It is a tricky issue this – but, on reflection, I have to say that the prospect of standing behind the goal at Liverpool and feeling the wave of human emotion run through twenty thousand fans as Louis Suarez slams the ball in the back of the net is an incredibly exciting one. It may never happen at Liverpool, it may never happen anywhere else either – but, after twenty six years without terracing, I think, that the time is now right to bring them back and help bring the game back to the masses.

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