Safe standing has been the topic of many debates in the football world and whether stadiums in the UK should bring back terraces.
With the new stadium plans looking every less likely surely Loftus Road is due an update.
At the moment the “liveliest” area at Loftus Road is in block R and QU which is in the corner of the Ellerslie Road Stand. Not only is the view from here poor but lots of the noise created by the fans cannot travel as far as the seats are looking towards the other QPR fans in the South Africa Road Stand.
There have also been instances of conflict between those in R Block and QU due to the fence between the blocks being removed after it was initially put there to stop fans from the Loftus Road end coming through and sitting in the Ellerslie Road Stand seats which cost more.
At the moment the family area is the lower area of the Loftus Road stand, this is so that young fans get close to the pitch and is easily accessible. However the upper loft is also a great place for young fans to sit as they get a good view of the pitch and are protected from rain as the stadium covers that area. At the moment the upper Loft is known as the members area however this could easily be moved to a different area in the stadium. The upper loft seems a good place for younger fans if not even better than the lower loft where is occupies at the moment.
The lower loft is the perfect area for a safe standing area where the ‘liveliest fans’ could move to. Many people prefer the view from behind the goal and being close to the pitch is another bonus. The area is the perfect size for a standing stand, at the moment the lower loft holds around 1,400 seats which could easily be changed into a standing area. If the most vocal QPR fans moved into this area the noise could ring around Loftus Road far more easily and the atmosphere will improve especially as the fans are now chanting to the whole of Loftus Road. QPR fans could make this area a wall of sound and intimidate opposition players when attacking that goal and create an untenable atmosphere for when QPR are attacking the Loft.
Although terraces are very controversial, Loftus Road used to be covered in standing areas and therefore could easily be adapted back and now with the new ‘safe standing seats’ the chances of disaster are far less likely. The leg room at Loftus Road has been so bad for so long, so instead of forcing fans to stand up maybe give them an opportunity to stand in a completely standing zone. The ‘make some noise’ campaign at QPR was an embarrassment to the club but maybe if the club moved to a standing area we would be saved of further embarrassment.
As for the rest of the stadium, apart from the leg room and terrible service, it is functional and characteristic of QPR as a club. Most away fans when taking both tiers they stand up throughout the game in the lower end of the BT stand so it should not be a problem.
Article by @GusSkinner