The safe standing roadshow rolled into Aberdeen today after visiting Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dunfermline and Dundee.
The safe standing areas are made up of 'Rail seats' which are robust metal seats with a high back forming a sturdy rail for safe standing. Fitted in place of normal seats they link together to create a continuous, strong rail right along the row.
The height and strength comply with government requirements and they are also approved by use as seats by UEFA and FIFA. The seats fold up flush between the uprights, thus creating wider clearways than along rows of normal seats. Rail seats are widely used in Germany and have proven to be a huge success.
The beauty of these rail seats is that when Aberdeen FC return to Europe the rail seats can be unlocked very easily and made into normal seats just by the use of a special key. And then when the normal SPL fixture come along they are simple locked back in place to create the safe standing area again. All the seats are numbered just like normal seats so they know exactly how many people can fit into that area to prevent over crowding.
In general over in Germany the percentage of safe standing areas are quite large, in one ground with a capacity of 60k they have 10k in the safe standing area. A whole host of clubs including Hannover, Werder Bremen, Stuttgart, Hoffenhelm, Wolfsburg, Bayer Leverkusen and HSV all have the rail seats installed in their grounds and have all agreed that it has been a great success.
In Scotland you would probably be looking at around 10% - 20% of the capacity (depending on which ground you visit) could have the safe standing implemented.
I spoke to Jon Darch who designed these rail seats and he explained to me how easy they are to operate for the ground staff and he was please with the amount of positive feedback he had received whilst visiting the other SPL grounds.
He mentioned that the architects who have designed the new stadium were happy with what they have seen and the measurements are the same as what they had for the normal seats.
Here's hoping those in charge down Pittodrie street and the local authority do the right thing and agree to have this. I, for one, would love to see these installed in the brand new Aberdeen Mad Arena in Loirston Loch and I am sure it would be a great success both for the club and the fans.