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Spud Thornhill: I look forward to the day I can stand and City deliver

PUBLISHED: 06:00 08 February 2020

The good old days? Terracing at Carrow Road in 1972 Picture: Archant Library

The good old days? Terracing at Carrow Road in 1972 Picture: Archant Library

Before having a family and working on Saturday mornings, I would use Norwich-free Saturdays as a chance to tick off a new ground - as I would do today if I could.

The traveling Norwich fans during the Premier League match at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London
Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd +44 7904 640267
22/01/2020The traveling Norwich fans during the Premier League match at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd +44 7904 640267 22/01/2020

There have been many times where I've been to lower league grounds and had the opportunity to stand and watch a game of football.

I've always preferred to watch football standing up - something we don't, officially, have the opportunity to do when watching City at Carrow Road.

This might make me sound old, but I'm glad I got to stand at Carrow Road, even if it was only for around eight years before the terracing went in 1992 - amazingly 28 years ago! I have many great memories of growing up watching my beloved Canaries - I think if I close my eyes I can still relive Robert Rosario's fantastic goal of the season in 1989 against Southampton ... whilst I stood watching from the Barclay terracing.

I'm old enough to say I was there, on the terracing, at Aston Villa's Holte End for the 'other semi-final' on the fateful day of the Hillsborough Disaster, when 96 football fans went to a FA Cup semi-final like I did ... but never went home.

I'm not going to go into the rights and wrongs of the tragedy, but at the time I could see why the Taylor Report recommended all-seater stadiums. Norwich and Ipswich Town were the first clubs to introduce them following the Taylor Report.

One of many problems with the game in the 1980s was the way the average supporter was treated, especially on the terraces. I was only young, I didn't know any different. But things had to change and that was what the Taylor Report was expected to achieve.

The report stated that terracing was not intrinsically unsafe but the government decided that no standing was to be allowed.

Norwich could have waited until 1994 before going all-seater, but, like I said, we introduced it in 1992. Year by year, more away grounds were following suit.

Now, every time an away game has terracing available, I take the opportunity to stand.

These days, at away games, us travelling fans usually stand. I know we shouldn't, but it's sort of an unwritten rule.

Over the last few years there has been a call for bringing in safe standing at grounds, with City very much on board with the idea. Supporters' clubs have been involved as well. One man I know who has been involved is Neville Townsend, chairman of Forces2Canaries.

Oddly enough, I stood in front of Neville in the away end at Tottenham Hotspur's new ground, where the conversation of safe standing came up - it was the first time I had experienced the seat and a barrier directly in front of me and behind. Neville has a lot of knowledge of safe standing at Tottenham's ground as he had seen it before when he attended American Football games there.

I was not aware that 7,500 seats at the north London club's new home have been designated for safe standing. Wolverhampton Wanderers and Shrewsbury Town have also provided areas for safe standing.

Neville also witnessed the positives behind it when doing many of his European trips to Germany. He saw how it works well by catering for all supporters.

I was definitely impressed with it and I felt safer standing in the away end at Spurs than many of the other away grounds, where I have felt I couldn't see properly or, if we do score, I was going to injure myself during a goal celebration.

If safe standing does return, I may not get to celebrate goals like I did on the old Barclay terrace but apart from that, I may be able to properly relive my childhood by watching football in the traditional way.

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