PLYMOUTH Argyle have been supportive of allowing fans the choice of whether to sit or stand at football matches throughout the course of the Safe Standing debate. We continue to push for this freedom of choice through the relevant channels.
That said, Home Park is an all-seater stadium, and has been since we spent three successive seasons in the Championship after winning promotion in 2004. This is irreversible.
Consequently, our Ground Regulations – imposed upon us by the national bodies – prohibit standing. We are regularly assessed on our compliance with these regulations.
Across the country, it is acknowledged that, where large groups of fans stand on match-days, it is difficult to make them sit. Resultantly, many grounds – including the national stadium at Wembley – manage the situation as best they can.
At Home Park, we manage large groups of standing supporters in such a fashion. For people behind the goals, the flow of the match is towards and away from the line of sight – people do not have to look to the left and right to view the action. This means that views tend not to be obstructed.
In the Lyndhurst Road stand, people need to look to the left and right to keep up with the action, and, consequently, the views of others can be seriously obstructed. We have had a number of complaints about this, some from elderly fans who cannot stand all game. As standing is not allowed, we are duty-bound to act on these complaints.
We have written to people in blocks where this is the case, asking them, as fans of the club, for their help in this matter. Also, stewards have spoken to them during matches. These friendly, respectful, requests have, in some cases, been ignored.
Reluctantly, we will have to take action if the situation persists, and this may ultimately include match-day ejections and suspension of tickets.
We really do not want to do this – we want all of our fans to enjoy the game and to cheer on the team – but this is action that we are duty-bound to take, and we will take it fairly and objectively.
We hope that this helps to explain the situation.
Thank you for your loyal support and for your understanding.