Shrews look to make rail seat breakthrough

New Meadow Photo James Humphreys

Shrewsbury Town are looking to become pioneers of safe standing in England by seeking approval for the installation of rail seating at New Meadow.

Earlier this year, the Sports Ground Safety Authority (SGSA) created a formal process to enable clubs with all-seater grounds, but not covered by all-seater legislation, to apply for licensing for rail seating.

If their application is successful, Shrewsbury Town would be the first club with an all-seater ground to install rail seats.

The Shrews are looking to install 500 rail seats at the 10,000 capacity New Meadow, something that is estimated to cost the League One side between £50,000-£75,000, some of which will be met by a crowdfunding campaign.

Co-chair of the Shrewsbury Town Supporters’ Parliament Roger Groves said: “There’s a clear demand from our fans for an area where they can stand safely.

“We see that at every game with several hundred choosing to stand at their seats, which is not altogether safe.

“Rail seats will ensure that nobody falls over no matter how wildly they celebrate a goal and, by having a dedicated standing area, we believe that the overall atmosphere in the stadium will also be enhanced.”

The club say that any supporter wishing to be relocated into a rail seating area should ask to be added to a waiting list, while those who wish to remain in seated accommodation will be relocated at no additional cost.

Shrewsbury Town are one of eight clubs not governed by the all-seater requirement but currently have no standing accommodation, having built New Meadow as a new ground 10 years ago.

“As a Scot, I am very familiar with the great success that Celtic have had with their rail seating section,” said Shrewsbury Town Chief Executive Brian Caldwell. “So when the Supporters Parliament approached me about introducing the same concept here, I was immediately keen on the idea.

“Our Safety Officer has also visited Celtic Park recently and is all for it. We see it as an enhancement in spectator safety and a welcome provision of supporter choice.”

Caldwell hopes that by pioneering the use of rail seating the Shrews will be paving the way for more EFL clubs to adopt safe standing.

Thanks to James Humphreys for the image used in this article. Reproduced here under Creative Commons license.