Safe standing: Shrewsbury Town confirm start date for installation

Shrewsbury Town today confirmed they will become the first club in England and Wales to install safe standing, with work to start next month.

Rail seating
Rail seating

Work to install 555 rail seats at the rear of the Salop Leisure South Stand, which is expected to take between 10 days and two weeks to install, will begin on Thursday, May 17.

The date has been selected as the first opportunity after the end of the current 2017/18 season, with Paul Hurst's side to contest the League One play-offs earlier that month.

The Montgomery Waters Meadow outfit will become the first professional football club in the country to have safe standing installed in an all-seater stadium.

The safe-standing units, shipped from abroad but supplied by Atcham company Ferco, are to arrive on Wednesday. They allow fans to stand on a terrace but with with each row separated by a rail to ensure there are no safety issues through crowd surges. The system can also allow up to 80 per cent more spectators per row than standard seating.

The first event that could involve the public standing at the rail seating is Lionel Richie's concert at the Meadow on June 13.

Rail seating

The club are believed to have attempted to secure a glamour launch friendly against Celtic, who already use rail seating, or West Bromwich Albion, who are also keen to launch the initiative, but have been unsuccessful.

As Championship teams are not permitted to install safe-standing, Shrewsbury had previously believed the rail seats would require instillation before League One's play-off final at Wembley on Sunday, May 27.

But the English Football League have revealed that, should Town be successful in reaching the second tier, promotion would be officially confirmed at the EFL AGM in Portugal on June 7.

Town raised the £65,000 funding via crowdfunding experts Tifosy last year after the Supporters' Parliament-led bid was first revealed last June.

Following detailed talks and planning with the Sports Ground Safety Authority (SGSA) and Shropshire Council's Safety Advisory Group (SAG), work is now ready to begin.

Town have been branded pioneers in bringing safe standing to professional football in England and chief executive officer Brian Caldwell, who has worked closely with the supporters' parliament on the initiative, believes Shrewsbury are safe standing's 'flagship club'.

Supporters' parliament member Mike Davis, who has worked closely with chairman Roger Groves on the bid, said: "It's been about finding that slot. We've had an amazing season and that's contributed to us moving the instillation back.

"Both myself and Roger would agree that we're massively proud of what we've achieved and what the football club is going to achieve in being the first club in England to have this."

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