English Championship football club Huddersfield Town has announced it will add a movable metal frame with a ‘fake step’ to the Chadwick Lawrence Cowshed stand at John Smith’s Stadium to ensure more home fans can enter the away section of the ground safely.
Huddersfield’s operations director Ann Hough said that through her discussions with fans, Kirklees Stadium Development (KSDL) and the Stadium Safety Panel, safety is the primary factor behind any segregation decision. It has also become important to increase the number of seats available in that section.
Out of the 24,500-capacity stadium, the Cowshed consists of almost 4,000 seats and mainly houses away fans. The change will allow more Huddersfield supporters to enter the stand. During the 2016-17 season, Huddersfield saw an average attendance of 20,333 at its home games.
“The system is based on Norwich City’s method and, as such, I accompanied Phil and Jayne Armitage from KSDL on a visit to Carrow Road in March,” Hough said.
“That helped us understand the method and discuss how we could adapt that to Huddersfield Town’s needs and the John Smith’s Stadium requirements.
“Subsequently, our proposal has been received and approved by the stadium’s Safety Advisory Group and is in the early stages of being created by local firm, the Richard Alan Group. A simple metal frame, it includes a ‘fake step’ that creates a channel up the stand for stewarding. It takes up the space of three seats.
“Another feature of the new system is that it can be moved. The stadium is creating two different positions that the rail can be fitted, in blocks three or four, so that we can change the position depending on the respective allocations given to away supporters.
“It took Norwich City three attempts to get this system to work as it does today, but thanks to their help and some hard work from all parties, we will be ready to go come the first game of next season.”
Huddersfield finished the Championship season in fifth place and will meet Yorkshire rival Sheffield Wednesday in the end-of-season play-offs.