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Will you make a stand for terraces' return?

Birmingham | Sport | Published:

For some, they were the hey-day of the beautiful game, spent standing shoulder to shoulder with friends while roaring on their team.

For others, terraces were daunting and even frightening times.

The debate whether standing should be re-introduced has been reopened after Celtic became the first British club in 26 years to have plans for safe standing approved.

Here, Joseph Masi looks at the five most iconic terraced stands in the West Midlands and asks, do fans really want them back?

1 Wolves – South Bank.

Wolves had one of the biggest terraces in Britain, with the South Bank holding roughly 30,000 supporters before it was redeveloped in 1979.

But long-standing supporter Muriel Bates, 72, doesn't want standing back at Molineux.

She said: "As someone who is small, I have always been against standing. At the 1960 FA Cup semi-final, the crowd surged forward and I was knocked out.

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"I was crushed, I couldn't breathe and they had to pull me out to get me into an ambulance. If it goes wrong with standing, you don't have a chance."

2 Albion – Birmingham Road End.

Terraced standing helped Albion achieve attendances well over 50,000 and supporter Gary Porter has fond memories of his time on the Rainbow Stand.

He said: "Going back to the 1960s and 70s standing was great. All the fans would sway one way and then the other, it looked absolutely brilliant.

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"The only problem was if you wanted to get something to eat at half-time - you'd have to starve because there were so many people."

3 Walsall – Hilary Street End.

The Hilary Street End was the loudest and most noisy terraced stand for Saddlers fans heading to Fellows Park before the move to the Banks's in 1990.

But fan Steve Davies wouldn't stand now if given the option, saying: "I think we will all watch what happens at Celtic very closely.

The old Hilary Street End at Fellows Park in Walsall.

"It was a great time when we stood at Fellows Park but, as you get older, you prefer to sit.

"The atmosphere was also a lot more primitive in those days and I'm sure that would return."

4 Villa – the Holte End.

It was in 1966 when seats started to be installed at Villa Park, but the Holte End survived until 1994 when it became all-seater.

Supporter and fanzine editor Dave Woodhall said: "I think it's fantastic what Celtic are doing.

"Standing allowed you to be with like minded people, you didn't have to worry about people around you. It made football completely different."

5 Birmingham – the Kop.

When Blues moved to St Andrew's in 1906, the stadium held 75,000 fans and the Kop was one of the biggest stands in the country.

Fan Paul Smith said: "My best days in football were standing on that Kop. It didn't matter how bad you were playing, you got involved and that is what football is all about.

"One minute you were at the bottom of the stand – the next you were at the top. You felt more part of the game."

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