BLACKBURN Rovers needs to be very careful about how it deals with home supporters on this issue.

Poor displays on the pitch in the last 18 months have already cost the club 3000 home fans (and the revenue that goes with this), so to lose any more would be further money down the drain.

First of all, it is not acceptable that any fans standing do so in the knowledge that this will disrupt the view of other fans behind them who are sat down.

Fans don't pay £26 per match to have somebody standing up and blocking their view.

They won't come again if they can't watch the game. So we all agree that something has to be done.

What riles the home fans who do stand up is that they are treated differently to the away fans.

The Rovers' secretary, Tom Finn, is wrong in saying "the biggest source of complaint is our supporters' perception that there is one rule for them, and another for away supporters," for this is not 'perception' it is 'fact'.

Home fans are threatened verbally and by letter with the confiscation of their season tickets if they persist in standing. No threats are made to the away fans who persist in standing.

Why not escort them out of the ground? Also, Tom Finn says "regardless as to whether the away supporters are standing or not, we cannot turn a blind eye to our fans standing."

Well, I'm sorry Tom, but why turn a blind eye to what the away fans are doing? Again, you discriminate against the home fans.

It is all well and good the club quoting the requirements of the 1989 Football Spectators Act, and Safety Certificates, etc, but these do not just apply to home fans. And talk of penalising the clubs of these away fans by reducing their future ticket allocation is not only counter productive (in that it would have severe revenue implications for our club) but it would not solve the problem, because the few who did come would still stand up anyway!

So what is the solution? It is certainly not to alienate home fans, who are after all the lifeblood of the club. Unfortunately, recent efforts by club officials and stewards to tackle only the home fans on this issue have now caused a bigger problem.

The answers are two-fold. First of all, the club should apply to the powers that be for 'dedicated standing areas'. Here, those fans (home and away) who want to stand, can do so without disrupting the view of others. There are more than enough spaces now at Ewood to arrange this. Secondly, if such a move is legislatively impossible, all fans (home AND away) who persist in standing,thereby spoiling the enjoyment of others, should be escorted out of the ground immediately.

At least we'll have had their money, and they will eventually come to realise the wisdom of sitting, if they wish to watch a football match.


Pickering Fold,


IT appears that Rovers have a situation on their hands that could (if not handled correctly) cause more problems than needs be.

As I see it, there is a situation now where a heavy hand is being used on a small number of fans who in their own way prefer at times to stand when the game is being played. This is not an isolated matter - Manchester United had the same problem last year with some of their fans.

How the club can say it's a safety issue is beyond me when everyone has a designated area of space to either sit or stand. If the supporters were blocking exit areas then yes there would be a safety issue, but not when you are inside your own space.

The issue on whether one blocks another's view of the match is one that would simply be sorted out at the time by telling the person in front to sit down, which most decent fans would feel obliged to do so.

If the club is so concerned about safety issues then may I suggest that they spend more time on the following concerns: The total banning of smoking inside the stadium - this is not just a health issue but a potential fire hazard safety issue; the restrictive room in the underpasses where fans meet at half time - it is terrible that the fans have to be confined like animals in a pen.

RON LOEBELL, Clitheroe

IT now looks like the time has finally come where standing at football matches is a thing of the past, as I witnessed at the game against Middlesborough. Just another example of a footballing way of life coming to an 'enforced' end.

Bring back a standing area, including sensibly priced tickets.

Doing this would give the real supporters a choice, rather than them running the risk of ticket confiscation. It may also help the dwindling gates at Ewood.

J HINE, Darwen

I AGREE that all fans should sit down during a game as it does disturb others (please note when leaving early don't dawdle on stairs - it's your choice not to see the remainder of the game).

But it is really important Darwen End stewards encourage this too.

I have noticed nearly every game for the past few weeks and months of last season, away fans standing!

Rovers need to treat all fans equally as should all teams.

I remember a time with Manchester United and their debates over standing at home. Rovers fans gave them grief to sit down, so it's time we do.

You have paid for a seat - so sit on it.

LISA BEE, Oswaldtwistle