Brian Caldwell: Shrewsbury Town safe standing transition is crucial
Shrewsbury Town supremo Brian Caldwell believes the transition of affected supporters is crucial in the success of the football club's safe-standing bid.
The Oteley Road club have bid to become the first Football League club in England to implement safe-standing at their all-seater stadium.
Plans have been lodged to Shropshire Council and will then require government backing for them to be granted. The required £75,000 instillation costs will be raised via crowd-funding experts Tifosy.
The move is a product of the supporters' parliament's monthly meetings, where discussions got underway five months ago sounding out the idea of Shrewsbury following in the footsteps of Scottish giants Celtic, who successfully installed safe-standing last year.
At last week's supporter consultation at the Meadow, around 100 Town fans, some affected directly by the move, voiced their concerns and backing for the instillation of safe-standing.
Speaking to the Shropshire Star after the meeting, Caldwell said: "I think it was really good. It's always good to get feedback from supporters and I think we had that.
"There were a lot of good ideas that people came up with and how we would manage it [the implementation].
"I think a lot of people generally support what the supporters' parliament are trying to do and hopefully it's good news for Shrewsbury going forward.
"Obviously there's certain people concerned about being displaced but hopefully we can work together with the club, the supporters' parliament and the fans to make sure any movement and displacement is carried out the proper way.
"I'm a great believer in engaging with supporters as much as you possibly can. The only way you're going to find out how improve things is by talking to the supporters and seeing what their requirements are and what they're looking for in a match-day experience."
Shrewsbury are sending out a questionnaire-style survey to their members, while the same survey available in print in Tuesday's Shropshire Star newspaper.
They aim to gather statistics on the fan bases' overall opinion on the bid, which details the instillation of around 500 rail seating spaces at the back of the Salop Leisure South Stand at the Meadow.
Two hundred and thirty current season-ticket holders will be directly affected by the move. If granted, the seats will be within the back five rows of blocks 8-12.
In votes calculated between a Shropshire Star poll and one carried out by by Tifosy, 2,000 votes revealed a backing of around 90 per cent in favour of the move.
Former chairman of the Supporters' Parliament Mike Davis was one of the panel carrying out the presentation last week, alongside chair Roger Groves, Chris Wynn, Martin James and Caldwell.
Davis backed the chief executive's sentiments, adding: "I'm was very pleased with how it went. I think it was important that we sat down with our supporters and listened to any issues that they had.
"Ultimately this does directly affect some of our season-ticket holders so it was good to get an idea as to which issues they felt.
"The feedback that we've had and from the polls that have been done, there's overwhelming support for it. But it does affect a small number of people so it's important to know that they're sorted as well."