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Stand up for the Arsenal? Fan’s petition for change at the Emirates Stadium

We can’t let Spurs steal a march on us with this, says campaigner

10 January, 2019 — By Calum Fraser

Remy Marsh: ‘If you’re standing, you’re leaning forward and you’re on your toes – it encourages you to sing’

A CHORUS of “stand up if you hate Tottenham” may get Arsenal fans on their feet at the Emirates Stadium, but a teenage supporter wants it all to last a little longer than a song.

Remy Marsh has launched a petition demanding “safe standing” at the Clock End or “North Bank” at Arsenal’s home ground, which has already been backed by thousands.

The 15-year-old schoolboy believes converting part of the stadium into a standing section could create a better atmosphere and may provide some cheaper tickets for fans who can face a bill of more than £100 for a single match.

“We could transform the game again,” said Remy. “The atmosphere at the Emirates can be pretty dead. If you’re standing, you’re leaning forward and you’re on your toes – it encourages you to sing.”

Standing sections in the top two tiers of English football stadiums were banned after a report by Lord Justice Taylor following the Hillsborough disaster in 1989 where 96 Liverpool fans died on an overcrowded terrace.

There have, however, been growing calls for English football to copy the examples in Europe to introduce about “safe standing” areas in stadiums. Remy said: “The technology is out there now that means this will be safe. The only people who benefit from seating are the owners pocketing the extra money they charge.”

The Arsenal Supporters Trust (AST) conducted a survey of Gunners fans on safe standing in 2017. More than 95 per cent of the 7,329 people who took part said they were in favour of an area to stand.

Rivals Tottenham have earmarked 7,500 seats in their new stadium that could be converted from seating to standing, if the rules are relaxed in the future.

Remy, who lives in Harrow, said: “We can’t let Spurs steal a march on us with this. This is Arsenal’s chance to lead the way and push the government and Premier League to change the laws. “I’m a big football fan. I go to every Arsenal home and away game I can. Then I went to the San Siro in Italy and to Moscow. The atmospheres were amazing.”

Remy’s mother, Melanie Marsh, said: “I don’t really watch football myself but Remy is very enthusiastic about this campaign.” MPs would have to pass legislation on safe standing before clubs could bring it in. Local authorities would then have to issue a safety certificate.

Arsenal’s long-serving executive director, Ken Friar, said: “The Premier League is looking into the viability of allowing standing in stadiums. Some clubs are talking about it and one or two like us are waiting to see which way the government goes. We can then make a decision after that.”

To see Remy’s petition online visit www.change.org and search “safe standing Emirates stadium”.

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