“STAND up if you love the Saints.”

This was the call from councillor Andrew Pope as his campaign to support safe-standing at Southampton Football Club was publicly backed by the city council.

The Southampton Independents member put out a rallying call to councillors to get behind the move to bring a non-seated trial to a section of St Mary’s stadium.

Cllr Pope says that football fans want to stand, and that bringing this to stadiums will improve atmosphere.

But, he stresses, this would not be a “return to the bad days of old-style terracing”.

Instead, he wants specially-designed railed seat to be installed to make it safe for those who choose to stand – like those  in German team Borussia Dortmund’s stadium.

Councillors voted to back the call, andit was agreed that new council leader Chris Hammond would write to the “appropriate authorities” to discuss how this can be taken further.

Southampton FC did not respond when asked to comment.

Standing in English football’s top two divisions was outlawed by the Football Spectators’ Act in 1989.

It came following recommendations made in the Taylor Report into the Hillsborough disaster, which claimed the lives of 96 Liverpool fans.

Cllr Pope said: “Stand up if you love the Saints – it’s written in the tunnel as you walk up to St Mary’s Stadium.

“Our football culture and atmosphere is admired across the world, for our passion.

“It is a song that has come from the imposition of all-seater stadia, following the Hillsborough disaster and the Taylor Report, and the banning of standing at the match – despite many fans still wanting to.

“We see it week in, week out, at St Mary’s and at away games, and across England – fans want to stand. And they should be able to pay their money and stand.

“The campaign for safe-standing is not about a return to the bad old days of old-style terracing. It’s about a safer and louder atmosphere.”

Labour councillor Dave Shields, who seconded the motion, agreed that it was a good idea, but steps should still be taken to make sure the safest outcome is achieved.

“Although I don’t always want to, I often have to stand,” said season ticket holder Cllr Shields.

“But we need to take a leaf out of the German football league’s book to make it safer for those supporters who do want to.

“There needs to be no compromise on safety. This needs to be key before anything is put in place.”

However, some supporters are not so keen on the idea.

Former councillor and mayor Carol Cunio –  another Saints season ticket holder – said the idea was “dangerous”.

“I never, ever, ever, ever want to see that in a football stadium again,” she said.

“I have been a season ticket holder since the new stadium (St Mary’s) opened. I did not feel happy or safe at The Dell.

“The idea that we put rails in front of seats is ridiculous. There is no room as there is – we are all squashed in. It is not possible.

“I am not in favour of anyone standing in football matches. Safety first, always.”

However, Cllr Pope took exception to Mrs Cunio’s comments, claiming she did not understand what the proposed railed seats were.

This prompted Labour members to shout “shame on you” at Cllr Pope, with Cllr Hammond adding: “Your comments are unnecessary and ignorant. You should be trying to build support here, not looking to push people away.”

This news comes as MPs are set to discuss the issue in parliament on June 25 after a national petition gained more than 110,000 signatures.