We talked to Liverpool FC supporter and wheelchair user Ross Hovey about his personal experience of being a disabled supporter, and what he thinks can be done to improve accessibility for disabled fans.

How long have you been a Liverpool FC supporter?

Since I was a child. There have been a lot of ups and downs over the years!

What do you love most about watching football live?

When you are at a game in person you really are part of something, involved in the action. Because I sit in the front row at the Anfield Road end the players often come really close to me for goal celebrations, and other supporters are out of their seats jumping around. That is a great feeling. I love the social aspect too; I often meet up with friends before or during games for a drink or some food.

How has the support available to disabled fans changed over the years?

It has got a lot better. The infrastructure has improved, and I think clubs are just more aware now generally. Club websites have a lot of information for disabled fans, there are disabled supporters’ groups and there is much more help available.

How do you travel to and from games?


I usually get the train or drive to home games. Lime Street Station is the nearest big train station in Liverpool. It is an accessible train station but there are no

Changing Places toilets so I have to wait to use the toilets at Anfield. From the station I would get one of the club’s ‘Soccer Buses’ to the stadium. There is usually one space for a wheelchair so if there are no other wheelchair users getting on the first bus then great. I do sometimes have to wait for the next one though. Driving is easier in some ways as there are a lot of accessible parking spaces at the stadium. I have found that there are far fewer parking spaces for disabled away fans though so that can cause problems when going to away games.

Ross with Jurgen Klopp

How are you supported at the stadium?

The support is pretty good. I am allocated a ticket for my carer, and when I arrive at the ground I go through a separate entrance and am escorted to my seat. There is a team of ‘Accessibility Stewards’ wearing blue bibs who are on hand if I need anything. If it starts to rain they will even bring out ponchos! There are also stewards outside the larger toilets to help if needed.

Do you encounter any problems with accessibility at the stadium?

The layout of the stadium is a bit of a barrier. The stands are in four distinct sections, and it isn’t easy to move from one area to another. There are larger disabled toilets in all areas but the Changing Places toilet is at the Kop end. That means I am not able to access that toilet without being escorted. Getting refreshments can also be tricky as the communal areas are incredibly busy, and the accessible food stands don’t necessarily sell the full range of food and drink. Also, there are ‘Fanzone’ areas just outside the stadium which are difficult for me to visit for any length of time due to the lack of Changing Places toilets.

Ross with the European Cup

How do other club stadiums compare to Anfield?

I have visited a lot of football stadiums over the years, and the newer ones are often more accessible. Older grounds like Anfield can have limited space and more physical barriers in place. The Emirates Stadium was built relatively recently and rather than having separate sections, all areas are accessible from the main concourse. They also have a greater number of accessible toilets, and a few Changing Places toilets on different levels.

The Tottenham Hotspur Stadium is one of the best I have visited. It is only two years old and accessibility was obviously included in the design criteria. Rather than going through a separate entrance to the ground I am able to go in with everyone else as the doors are wider than normal. They do have a separate area for disabled fans, which I’m not necessarily a fan of as I don’t like to be separated from everyone else, but non-disabled supporters are allowed into that section too as long as it isn’t full.

Wembley Stadium is surprisingly inaccessible in places, considering it is a relatively new stadium. There is only one lift up to the concourse level (as far as I am aware), which limits wheelchair access. There are also no accessible toilets outside the ground.

What would you ask Football Clubs to do to make games more accessible to disabled fans?

I think the main thing I would say is, look at accessibility holistically, considering the whole experience of being at a football match rather than just the practicalities for watching a match. As a wheelchair user I want to be able to experience the same things as other supporters at the game; I want to be able to easily get refreshments, I want to enjoy the ‘Fanzone’ areas and other areas of the stadium without worrying about where the toilets are, but most of all I want to feel like a full member of the football supporter community.


Ross is Accessibility Manager at Lloyds Banking Group. He is a smart home gadget geek who loves Liverpool FC, cooking, Ralph Lauren and sunshine. He was born with Spinal Muscular Atrophy.


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