THE issue of safe standing has been back in the news this week after more than 100,000 people signed a petition calling for it’s introduction.

It looks like we now may have a parliamentary debate on the issue but it may take more than that to convince sports minister Tracey Crouch, who said there were no plans to change present legislation, which requires clubs in England’s top two divisions to have all-seater stadiums, when rejecting West Brom’s request to install rail seating at the Hawthorns.

In a month that saw the 29th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster, it is always a sensitive issue but with Liverpool supporters’ groups also keen on a debate then surely it has to be considered.

There is no doubt that, since the advent of all-seater regulations, English stadia are some of the best in the world.

But with rising ticket prices comes emptier grounds as fans cannot afford to attend regularly and pay for seating.

There needs to be cheaper options, particularly for younger fans, and the best way for that to happen is the introduction of standing sections.

Let’s be clear, we are not harking for a return to the days of big standing areas like the old Kop at Liverpool or Stretford End at Manchester United – these new ideas are for safe sections where fans can stand in an environment that poses little risk.

The rail seating that has operated successfully in German football and more recently at Celtic in Scotland is the best option around and Shrewsbury Town are set to adopt a section next season. For those unaware it involves flip-up metal seats that also have rails at the back of them so every fan in place can choose to sit or stand safely without any tightly-packed terraces like they had when I was a youngster.

Clubs can govern the numbers admitted to avoid any chance of overcrowding and experience from Germany shows there are few problems associated with the system.

If it were introduced here, fans would have a cheaper option if they chose to stand, and quite probably could attend with like-minded fans and friends which would undoubtedly improve the flagging atmospheres at our grounds.

Whatever the outcome, we at least deserve a proper discussion on the issue.

We have come a long way since the likes of the old Burnden Park or grounds like it.

No one denies Hillsborough was a tragedy that taught us so much and prompted much-needed changes to the way fans were treated at football.

But we must also remember standing terraces was just one factor that played its part on that fateful day in 1989.

Large fences, overcrowding and poor organisation were just as much to blame and we have learned so much in the three decades since.

I think the fact many EFL clubs want the debate, as well as the Football Supporters’ Federation means it should happen.

We can never forget the past but we should also not let it prevent us moving forward and a reintroduction to standing in some capacity is a step we need to consider.