'The further you go up, the more impressive it becomes' - new stadium feature wows Everton legend

A general view of the South Stand inside the new Everton Stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock
-Credit: (Image: Tony McArdle/Everton FC via Getty Images)

The latest addition to Everton’s new stadium is being installed in the shape of rail seating.

The first blue seats and safety bars are now in place in the south stand, which will include rail seating across the whole of the lower tier at Everton’s future home at Bramley-Moore Dock. Fans haven’t been able to stand at Goodison Park since the old Park End stand was demolished in 1994 as the lower tier was terracing but that served as an away end it its latter years and home supporters have not officially stood at Everton games since the Gwladys Street became all-seater following the 1-0 win over Luton Town on May 4, 1991 to comply with the Taylor Report following the Hillsborough disaster.

Everton legend Kevin Sheedy, who won a brace of League Championships with the club as well as scoring in their 3-1 win over Rapid Vienna in the 1985 European Cup-Winners’ Cup final was joined by Leon Osman, who having played 433 matches for the Blues currently stands joint 10th on the club’s all-time appearance list alongside Dixie Dean.

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Both players were wowed by the views on offer as they became the first to take their seats in the 13,000-capacity stand, which features a super riser half-way up to provide a ‘barrier’ between the safe standing of the lower tier and the seating in the upper tier and give the impression of one giant wave of Evertonians.

Osman, 43, said: “It’s impressive. I’ve never experienced safe standing. It’s not been in my lifetime as an adult, but this looks great. It’s safe; you’ve got your chair if you need it and it’s very good.”

Sheedy, 64, making his first visit to the stadium, added: “The further you go up, away from the pitch itself, the more impressive it becomes and you can get a better feel for the atmosphere this place is going to generate. There are no obscured views either, which is nice!”

Sensitivities on the subject of standing obviously ran deep on Merseyside following the tragedy in 1989 but after new guidance from the Sports Ground Safety Authority (SGSA), rail seating has been developed at some grounds to provide seats that can be converted to standing areas when desired. Liverpool wrote to all the families of the Hillsborough victims before installing the first rail seats at Anfield and as reported by the ECHO in April, the entirety of the Kop will be converted into rail seating for next season.

Half of the clubs in next season’s Premier League now have safe standing in place with the Reds joined by Bournemouth, Brentford, Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United, Newcastle United, Southampton, Tottenham Hotspur and Wolverhampton Wanderers while Aston Villa, Ipswich Town and Nottingham Forest all have plans to introduce it in 2024/25.

At the moment, the law requires safe standing to be at the same ratio of ordinary seating though so the potential for the capacity of Everton Stadium, currently 52,888, to rise to 62,000 in the future, subject to further planning permission, would not be in place without changes in legislation.

Everton Stadium will also feature rail seating in the north east corner, to accommodate visiting supporters.