Discussion on Safe Standing a Step in Right Direction for Manchester United Fans
Forget, for a moment, the legalities of introducing safe standing at Old Trafford.
Try to look past the logistical and financial problems which such a scheme might cause.
It might not seem like a great victory. But it is.
It may not be possible to have safe-standing areas at English football's top-flight grounds.
Memories of the tragedy at Hillsborough in 1989 are still very fresh, and inquires into what happened that day are still ongoing after a long battle to uncover the truth.
Even if all the hurdles are negotiated, it will be a long time before fans are standing to watch games at Old Trafford (forgetting those who already defy the stewards to do so).
But that's not the point.
The point is that the club have listened to a genuine concern from a group of fans and have promised to look into ways of resolving it.
For a club and a fanbase whose relationship has often appeared splintered since the Glazer family's takeover in 2005, that is a step in the right direction.
Cynics might suggest that Ed Woodward, United's executive vice-chairman who is driving the investigation, has spotted an opportunity to get the fans onside and is grasping it with both hands.
After all, he was the one who took a hammering after what proved a problematic first transfer window following David Gill's departure last summer.
But again, that's not the point.
That Woodward has entered into dialogue with the fans and shown a willingness to do something about their concerns—whatever his motives—is good news.
And for supporters who, at times, feel squeezed for every penny they have, it's a welcome change of pace.
This might not be the project that gets the green light. It might not be the next. Or even the one after.
But if there were no fans, there would be no United, and listening to them can only mean a brighter future for both.
In an age when football clubs have turned into multi-million pound businesses and players are highly paid celebrities, any link between club and fan is a good thing.
Safe standing at Old Trafford might be a long way away. But fan and club should never be that distant.
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