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The Arthur Wait stand: how does it get a safety certificate?

Filed: Monday, 11th February 2019
By: Pink Palermo

On Saturday, I left the match at Crystal Palace two minutes after Mark Noble's penalty - which I didn't see due to two lads shoving past us (cheers lads).

That's because the row I was in had far more people stood in it than should have been, forcing three of us to attempt to relocate elsewhere...

The reason, I suspect, other than mates wanting to stand next to each other, is the poor view from many of the seats in that stand. It's understandable that people who have paid for a ticket want to actually see the game.

The concourse was dangerously overcrowded, poorly and ineffectively stewarded, with many supporters then trying to gain access to their seats using one single entry point to the side of the stand (rather than through the ones at the rear).

That then means people are shoving along rows, obstructing views and being a pain in the fucking arse.

Entry to the ground was difficult due to the refreshment area, immediately there, as you enter through the turnstiles. Being overcrowded making egress from the turnstile difficult.

Seriously, if you're struggling to actually get in due to a blockage immediately behind the turnstile, how safe is the place ?

Every aisle in the stand was full of supporters. Again, I'm not blaming them, they're simply trying to get a view of the pitch... but all of the seats in the Arthur Wait should be sold as restricted view.

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Overall, that stand is no longer, if it ever was, fit for purpose. It is, in my opinion, unsafe, poorly stewarded, and I mean, really poorly stewarded, over-crowded and dangerous.

All the relevant authorities will receive correspondence from me on Tuesday; Police, Fire, ambulance, CPFC - their head of safety, Chairman and anyone else the Premier League handbook suggests may be involved. WHUFC, the FSF and WHUISA too.

To be absolutely clear, the issue is not the behaviour of West Ham United's supporters which is in any way any different to the behavior and actions of supporters from other clubs.

It's the stadium design age and layout, coupled with the worst stewarding I've ever encountered on the road (and I've done plenty of miles).

Two stewards in WHU Hi Viz uniform spoke with me today and both were excellent, and they were the only attempts at proper stewarding I saw today. The problem very clearly rests with Palace.

The stadium and the Wait Stand are from a bygone age and Steve Parish needs to spend his money on a new stand instead of taking his girlfriend out.

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I'm not expecting any of the authorities cited above to take any action, but should a major incident ever occur in that stand all of those authorities will have a document on file telling them of the state of the place.

And, West Ham United, I'll have the cost of my ticket refunded, thank you. You can reclaim it from Crystal Palace.

* Concerns over the safety of the Arthur Waite Stand were first aired on KUMB back in 2011.

Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, nor should be attributed to, KUMB.com.

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