More than half of Arsenal fans consider the matchday atmosphere at the Emirates to be "poor" and nine in 10 want to see the introduction of safe standing to help improve it, according to an extensive survey by the club's largest fans group.
More than nine in 10 of the 17,000-plus fans who took part in the survey by the Black Scarf Movement said they would back a trial of safe standing at the Emirates, given its success in the Bundesliga and elsewhere. In Germany, rail-style standing areas have seats that can be flipped down for European matches.
Aston Villa and Celtic have said they will examine the case for trialing safe standing while Cardiff City, Crystal Palace, Hull City, Sunderland and Swansea City have said they would look at it if there was demand from supporters.
However, any such trial would require a change in the position of the government and a change in the law.
At Arsenal, the manager Arsène Wenger has said he is "100%" in favour of the idea. A BSM spokesman said: "In the past we had talks with the Safe Standing Roadshow and were prepared to arrange a visit to Arsenal so that rail seating could be demonstrated. However, at the time the comment from the club was that there were 'bigger fish to fry' … that safe standing was an issue which needed approval from a higher level so it wasn't something that they were concerned with investigating – instead preferring to concentrate on day-to-day matters.
"Since then, the momentum and support for safe standing at English football grounds has gained pace significantly and continues to do so. The recent successes of German football clubs and the highlighting of how highly fans are considered by Bundesliga clubs has only made the issue in England a lot more visible."
The group, created to obtain a "better deal for fans" from the club, said that a previous attempt to persuade like-minded supporters to buy tickets in the same area of the ground for the Carling Cup tie against Chelsea to improve the atmosphere had been stymied by over-zealous stewarding.
According to the self-selecting respondents to the survey, only 6% of the 17,377 who took part felt that the atmosphere at the Emirates could be described as "good", and 42% thought it was "average", 53% labelled it "poor".
Fans' groups at many top-flight clubs have called on them to take steps to improve the atmosphere within their grounds. "The responses to this question make it abundantly clear that the majority of fans would like another 'singing' section in the stadium, in the belief that it would help improve the atmosphere. We've seen many discussions among matchgoing fans on social media, talking of how it used to work at Highbury with vocal support back and forth between the Clock End and North Bank," the spokesman said.
"With only one area of the Emirates Stadium dedicated to generating noise, this doesn't help, certainly when you bear in mind that our stadium covers a much bigger area when compared to Highbury."