Nice idea...but I can't see it happening any time soon
WHEN I first started watching West Ham as a boy, in the late 1970s and early 1980s, it was always jam-packed on the terraces.
I was always a little lad, so I often ended up standing down the front – on a milk crate!
I stood behind the goal at Upton Park from the age of ten until about 15, when I moved down to start playing for Exeter City.
I don't think anybody can argue that terraces improve the atmosphere, at almost any sport.
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Because Plainmoor had only three sides last year, while our new Bristow's Bench stand was being built, our fans ended up nearly filling the Family Stand and also the 'Pop Side' terrace, and it definitely helped the atmosphere then.
Football and rugby fans are always thought of as different types of people.
But since I've been working at Plainmoor, I've lived just outside Exeter and I've taken in a few Sunday games of rugby at the Chiefs.
There's plenty of terracing at Sandy Park, and I always stand up.
Believe me, the terraces have just the same effect on the atmosphere there as they do at football.
This week I see that Aston Villa have come out in support of a campaign to bring back what they call 'safe standing areas' on a limited basis.
Villa are the first Premier club to do that.
I don't think anyone doubts that most supporters want at least some terraces back.
It would improve the atmosphere at all-seater grounds, where I can never get my head round seeing thousands of fans standing in seated areas. Is that safe?
But it might help to bring prices down a bit too.
It's already happening in other countries – anyone who watches the Bundesliga highlights on TV can see how well in works in Germany.
Terraces are still popular in the lower divisions here, and long may it continue.
But the trouble is that, as long as the Premier League and the Government stick to their guns, fewer clubs in the lower divisions will risk terraces because of the cost of putting seats in if they get promoted.
The news from Aston Villa may have been a chink in the armour, but somehow I can't see terraces coming back, at least in the Premier League, any time soon.
I CAN'T think of many more stressful dates in the football calendar, at least for League One and Two managers, than the first Saturday in November.
Making a bit of money in the FA Cup is important enough as it is for most clubs.
From a manager's point of view, it's not quite so bad if you're drawn against a fellow League club. If you've had a bad start to your league campaign, a couple of cup wins can be a job saver. But it can certainly work the other way round, especially if you're drawn against a non-League team. You're expected to win, and you're on a hiding to nothing in a game that's going to make no headlines if you win.
So, if you listen carefully over the weekend, you'll almost hear the sighs of relief from a lot of my opposite numbers around the country – and a few groans as well.