Capacity Reduction a Conservative Measure?
Today Birmingham City announced that the capacity of the forthcoming Birmingham City vs Aston Villa derby will be 25,000, around 5,000 below their capacity. It will be the first time the teams have met in a league fixture at St Andrew’s since 16th January 2011.
Below is the Blue’s official announcement:
The St. Andrew’s capacity for this Sky Bet Championship fixture on 30 October has been set at 25,000.
The Club appreciates supporters’ understanding on this matter and we reiterate that supporter safety and the matchday experience is our top priority.
BLUES v VILLA: For clarity, WMP did not insist on reduced capacity for game. Decision made by @BCFC on safety grounds; we support that move.
— West Midlands Police (@WMPolice) October 7, 2016
The main reason for the reduction seems to stem from the logistics of making sure that no Blues fans are situated in the tier above the Villa fans down below, which was explained to MOMS at the recent Away Fan Consultation meeting.
Also, capping Villa supporters allocation at 2,000 – down to safety concerns and bad behaviour at the previous fixture (broken toilets etc) means they’ll be empty seats on the lower tier too.
You can see from the below picture of how it’ll potentially look…
With 5000 supporters being chopped, how this improves the ‘matchday experience’, as mentioned in the statement, is open to question in terms of atmosphere. The game is already a midday kick-off and will be televised, which already takes some of the sting out of it.
It suggests perhaps that St Andrew’s hasn’t got the greatest set up in terms of housing away fans, with a tier of home fans above them.
Still, surely there’s a better way to get more supporters in than to resort to such conservative measures? Nobody wants to see empty banks of seats in such a derby.
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