Arsenal have missed an opportunity with safe standing, as better-prepared clubs are now set to trial the system this season.
The Times report that safe standing will be trialled in the Premier League and the Championship this season, with pilot events set to be planned out by the Sports Ground Safety Authority.
There are plenty of clubs that have prepared for this, with The Times listing Chelsea, Spurs, Wolves, Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool, Cardiff City, and Bristol City among clubs whose stadiums make safe standing a straightforward possibility.
As you will have noticed, the only big-six club not on that list is Arsenal.
The Emirates Stadium isn’t ready for safe standing, and despite the growing rumours about its introduction with each season, the club hasn’t taken sufficient action to prepare.
It’s not as if there isn’t a market for safe standing at Arsenal games. In fact, many fans in the west corner of the North Bank already stand, despite the fact it’s currently against the rules and the stewards are tasked with getting them to sit down every game.
Yet Arsenal have watched every other big club ready themselves for its introduction, and so far they’ve only committed themselves to ‘meaningful consultation’ on it.
Arsene Wenger spoke out in support of safe standing when he was manager of the club in 2016, arguing that it brought the fans closer, and it could allow lower prices, a more passionate atmosphere, and more spectators in the stadium.
Unfortunately, five years have passed with no obvious progress as the likes of Chelsea, Manchester United, and Spurs installed rail seating in that same period.
In 2017, we covered reports that Arsenal were risking being one of the last clubs to back safe standing, and that continues to be the case.
Today’s news has to push Arsenal into action now, they can’t delay any further.