The Holte End used to be a terrace that accommodated more than 20,000 supporters. Now, Aston Villa look to re-introduce some of that atmosphere at Villa Park.
Standing is unsafe, they said, in the wake of the Hillsborough disaster. It was banned in the top flight of English football in 1989, but after over 20 years of all-seater stadiums, standing sections are making a comeback. Aston Villa are at the forefront of this movement, offering to hold trials of all-standing sections.
Now, it's pretty well known that I, along with the other writers on this site, am not from England. That can make it difficult to give opinions on something like Hillsborough, that brings up such deep emotions. I don't go to Villa matches every week, and won't be one of the people worried about my loved ones if another disaster occurs.
That being said, I think the Taylor Report went too far, and that the decision to put a blanket ban on standing didn't go to the root of the problem. There are ways supporters can stand safely -- just look at Germany, where 24,454 fans fill the Südtribüne terrace for Dortmund's home matches. The atmosphere is intense, and I would love to see that re-introduced in the Holte End.
Of course, what Villa are supporting is only a trial, and who knows if it will even come to pass. It's uncertain where the standing will be and how many it will hold. For now, this is just the club putting its name to a campaign. But it's still a good horse to back. Let's make a return to the days Villa Park was an intimidating place to visit.