I was going to follow last week’s post about the issues surrounding standing at Premier League grounds with a more specific moan about standing in away ends, and a suggestion.
But I’m delighted to say that Watford have beaten me to it. Hidden away at the bottom of an article on the official site explaining the new priority groups for buying tickets is this:
New for 2017/18, Supporter Liaison & Disability Officer Dave
Messenger will be seeking to further assist supporters who’d like to
attend away fixtures but cannot stand for the duration of the 90
Watford FC is aware of the growing trend for fans in away sections to
indulge in much longer periods of continual standing than occurs among
home fans’ areas of grounds.
In this respect, Dave will work with the Ticket Office team to
identify appropriate seats at other Premier League stadia and the
Hornets reserve the right to keep back such seats as it sees fit to
ensure all Hornets’ fans who are eligible to purchase and wish to travel
can enjoy the fixture without the need to stand.
I can only applaud the club for this. I was talking to a fellow Hornet a couple of weeks ago who told me that, at the age of 74, he can’t stand for 90 minutes, so he wouldn’t be going to any away games this season. I’ve certainly witnessed this a number of times over the past few years; older fans (who have as much right to go to away games as anyone else) missing much of the action because they need to sit down, and the people in front of them won’t.
So I’ll stop moaning. If this new plan works, it should satisfy everyone: the 1881 and their ilk (who, I assume, are ideologically wedded to the concept of standing) at one end, the older and more infirm fans at the other, and in the middle, the rest of us who quite like sitting but don’t mind standing for a bit if we have to. Well done, Watford.