Recent talks between fans groups and the board have reignited the debate over whether Imps fans could possibly return to the Stacey West end.
The debate is one that has been fought for many seasons, as far back as the mid nineties when it was given over to away fans. Sincil Bank may be a nice ground but the Stacey West is the only suitable area to safely house minimal numbers of away fans.
However bumper crowds including just over 4,000 on Tuesday night have brought the subject up yet again, and this time the board are interested to listen to fans proposals. The idea had initially been ruled out at a meeting earlier in the year as crowds were not expected to rise so sharply.
The good form shown in the first ten games has brought extra people to the ground and for the first time in many years it may be financially viable to reopen our own home end, albeit with a degree of segregation so away fans can also remain.
As much as I love the Stacey West end and all the nostalgia it brings with it, there would need to be some updating of the facilities. Some of the seats would need replacing and that would come at a cost to the club.
The upshot could be that rather than debating a return to the home end we may end up debating a return to the terraces of the 1980’s. Some fans have spoken of the desire to have a safe standing area at the ground, and where better than the traditional Clanford End? It would negate the need to replace the seats and bring a bit of something special back to Sincil Bank.
With a new stadium in the pipeline I don’t think it makes business sense to install a lot of new seats unless we intended to take them with us when we went. However if the area was safe standing it could be worth the effort. Terrace culture is as socially crucial now as it has ever been and at Lincoln it could be on the rise. The 617 squadron might not want to move, but there would be enough fans who would happily shift behind the goal if they could.
If it could be worked it might be nice to have a free movement of fans between the terrace area and the main stand. As long as it could be managed correctly there could be an option to move if the second half demanded a hostile end for the opposition to shoot at. I swear that in 2003 Torquay missed that penalty because of the energy coming from the home support behind the goal.
It is positive that the club are in a position to negotiate given the rise in numbers and it is refreshing that the period of consultation has commenced to see if it would be viable. An internet poll of 200 fans showed that over 63% would not use the stand, and the rest either would, or thought that it should still be opened to home fans.
I saw my first game from that end, I saw us win in a play off semi final against Scunthorpe at that end and I watched us get relegated at that end. I served my entire time as a Lincoln fan either on that terrace or wanting to be on it. Unfortunately for nostalgia I have become very fond of watching my football from the Coop stand now with it’s great vantage point and full panorama of the pitch.
I think as someone who likes to analyse the games and pay close attention to incidents now that a move back behind the goal probably isn’t for me. However I sincerely hope that the club see fit to implement safe standing terracing with perhaps a smoking area to try and further entice people back into the club.
The smoking issue is something that I find incredibly irritating. I understand why people shouldn’t smoke in the stands, but if there was a smoking zone in the corner of the Stacey West and the Coop it might be good PR for the club. After all whether people choose to poison themselves or not shouldn’t affect our ability to take their £18 every week.