Man Utd fans asked about safe standing at Old Trafford

Old Trafford
Old Trafford is the UK's biggest club stadium with a capacity of 75,635

Manchester United have asked fans whether they want standing back at Old Trafford if it was made legal.

Premier League clubs recently held initial talks on the possibility of introducing safe standing at grounds.

Top flight and Championship stadiums have had to be all-seater since terraces were outlawed in the aftermath of the 1989 Hillsborough disaster.

Safe-standing areas, featuring retractable seats, are used at Celtic and abroad, notably in Germany.

Premier League chiefs have acknowledged a "softening" around the topic of standing clubs, with an improved atmosphere cited as one of the benefits, and clubs have agreed to hold further talks in the new year.

But some clubs - including Everton - are against it and it would need government legislation to change if safe standing was introduced at stadiums in England.

United contacted season-ticket holders on Thursday and included the question in a 20-point survey.

Supporters were asked for the three areas of Old Trafford - the biggest club ground in the UK, with a capacity of 75,635 - that they would prefer standing to be introduced.

It is believed to be the first time a Premier League club has surveyed its fans about the idea of bringing standing back to English grounds.

Jon Darch, who runs the Safe Standing Roadshow, which promotes the use of rail seats, said: "I am sure that the level of interest will be huge and look forward both to hearing the results and to seeing other Premier League clubs follow suit and ask their fans if they would also like to be formally allowed to stand at games in dedicated areas of rail seating, specifically designed for safe standing."

The Hillsborough disaster in 1989 resulted in the deaths of 96 Liverpool fans following crushing on the terraces.

There have been no standing areas at Old Trafford since 1994.

Senior United officials went to Celtic Park in October to inspect the 4,000-capacity rail seating that has been used at Scotland's biggest club ground since July.

While many fans have championed the cause of safe standing, it has strong opposition from the Hillsborough Support Group who, last month, said the return of standing would be a "backward step".