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Regular readers of this site will be all too aware of the recent problems that have beset Plymouth Argyle Football Club. Plymouth’s supporters, in conjunction with whose of Brighton & Hove Albion, are now planning a protest on the twenty-fourth of September to which supporters of all clubs will be welcome. Here’s Argyle supporter Dan Greet with a little background behind the protest, and an explanation as to why this isn’t just an issue that affects their club.
As I am sure anyone with more than a passing interest in football is aware, Plymouth Argyle are and remain in trouble – real trouble. The imminent danger of liquidation has come to dominate all discussion at Home Park these days. Stories of players not being paid, staff being paid by the manager out of his own pocket, administration, debt and the delays securing the new owners have dominated all news relating to Argyle since March of this year. This nearly came to a head this week when there was talk of the players and staff going on strike and refusing to play today’s game at Burton. Fortunately, strike action was averted when the players and staff agreed to receive forty per cent of the wages that they are now owed for last month with the remainder to be paid upon completion of the long overdue takeover by Bishop International Ltd, although it is worth remembering that this take-over was due to be completed by the end of last month. These, then, are troubling times for a club which just two short seasons ago was playing in the Championship, having been promoted twice between 2000 and 2008.
This is where Brighton and Hove Albion come in. Back in 1997, Brighton were at their lowest ebb due to its shameful asset-stripping by directors Bill Archer and David Bellotti. The club was run into the ground and evicted from its Goldstone Ground home (where it had played since 1902). Two years ground-sharing at Gillingham’s Priestfield followed, before returning to an unsatisfactory home at Withdean until earlier this year. The atmosphere at Brighton games during this period was less than warm, and protests and pitch invasions were commonplace. A protest during a match against Lincoln City on the First of October 1996 resulted in a two point deduction by the Football League in December of that year. Relegation looked likely at this point and the fans’ forum North Stand Chat was overrun with anger directed at the Belloti, Archer and particularly the FA due to their perceived lack of support during this period. Fans of other clubs left messages of support on the forum but none resonated more than a post from a fourteen year old boy named Richard Vaughan – a fan of Plymouth Argyle. His post was as follows:
“I see the scum FA have now taken 2 points who do they think they are they wouldn’t do this to Man United. It makes me sick what is happening to your club and it’s an insult to your fans. I’m a Plymouth fan and I think that one week when we’re away I`m going to come up and support your protest. I think it would be a good idea if LOADS of fans from different clubs turned up at Brighton (with their shirts on) and joined in it would show that we’re all behind you 100%”
The passionate post from this young man brought Albion fans and campaigners against Albion’s treatment together and a date was set for the eighth of February 1997 for the Hartlepool United game to be the first ever Fans United Day. From the previous foggy and anarchic atmosphere that had dogged Brighton games all season came a revelation as thousands of fans from all over the country (and a party from the German club Eintracht Frankfurt) joined together to cheer on the Albion and provide a wonderful atmosphere that helped propel the players to a 5-0 win. Albion went on to survive relegation on goal difference by three goals. How different, we might reflect, might things have been for the club had Fans United Day never happened. Fourteen years on Albion played Argyle in League One with our club’s precarious situation already making headlines and, whilst Richard Vaughan was not able to attend the game in person, he managed to send Brighton a message which was read out at half-time and was very warmly received by both sets of supporters.
Brighton’s has felt a debt of gratitude to Argyle due to the snowball effect caused by young Richard’s post since then, and now in an attempt to repay them for the help they provided to Albion at their lowest point they intend to do what they can to return the favour. In the last twenty-four hours on the very same forum where it all started fourteen years ago, Fans Reunited Day has been born. A grass-roots uprising started by forum member Woodchip has become something of a phenomenon. In just twenty-four hours, over one hundred fans have already agreed to make the trip down to Home Park on the twenty-fourth of September to cheer on Argyle in their match against Macclesfield Town. With three weeks to go and the campaign only just getting started and spreading with social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter the number can only multiply. In the day and age where the internet – and possibly even more importantly social media – have become an integral part of everyday life, the message has a chance to surpass the impact it had all those years ago.
The knock-on effect caused by the potential liquidation of Plymouth Argyle through football as a whole could be catastrophic. In an age in which footballers earn huge wages and command bigger transfer fees than ever before, a domino effect for lower league sides is a possibility. Therefore, as football fans, we need to make this day the biggest event that we can to not only support Plymouth Argyle but also to support our game as a whole. No club with a history as long as Argyle’s have been liquidated before and, whilst other teams have come close – a list which is, sadly, too long to go through in full – it seems unlikely that this trend will be slowing down any time soon. We need to act now to ensure this doesn’t happen. So I implore you, if you are a fan of our great sport, please head down to Home Park, Plymouth on the twenty-fourth of September wearing the shirt of your preferred team. Let’s show football that we still care, and that we will stand up to defend our clubs.
You can show your support for Fans Reunited Day through its Facebook page, whilst the official website for the campaign will be open shortly, and will be prominently advertised on this site. There is also further information on North Stand Chat and the Plymouth supporters forum, PASOTI. You can also help to contribute towards helping those that have not been paid in full recently, courtesy of The Green Taverners. We will be providing regular updates on the subject here on Twohundredpercent, as well as on our Twitter feed.
Ian began writing Twohundredpercent in May 2006. He lives in Brighton. He has also written for, amongst others, Pitch Invasion, FC Business Magazine, The Score, When Saturday Comes, Stand Against Modern Football and The Football Supporter. Ian was the first winner of the Socrates Award For Not Being Dead Yet at the 2010 NOPA awards for football bloggers.
the situation at plymouth happened at fulham fc. developers wanting to mere us with QPR and sell ground. dont like sound of B>I>L. good luck Plymouth . . . just believe . . . we did
I was a huge fan of Fans United, and have attended them in the past, however I’m a little cautious about this. It’s not the sentiment (which is fantastic), or the cause (which of course is a worthy one).
What happens to the extra revenue from the game? Does it disappear into the same black hole that the season ticket money went into?
Doesn’t matter where the money goes from this game, this is about ALL FANS FROM ALL CLUBS standing together and saying FANS UNITED WILL NEVER BE DEFEATED, The money from the original fans united went into Archers back pocket but it’s the message that counts
as chairman of bha supporters club we are right behind Argyle fans in there fight to keep their club alive and quite a number of our supporters will be making the journey to home park on 24th good luck
Copied this from NorthStandChat – it seems to sum it up pretty well……
“My memory comfortably encompasses the original Fans United and I still recall it with a tear in my eye. I felt then as I still feel today, that knowing we had the support of other fans up and down the country, not because we were either friends or rivals but simply because we were football fans and others understood how it would feel to lose our club, to have no-one to support………………….. ……………….. well, it was simply the most amazing feeling and the truth rang out loud and clear that football is more than just a game because it is what takes us away from the daily grind, the humdrum and the plain awful that constitutes many peoples’ lives. Sometimes if you are lucky it unites people like few other things can but mostly it just gives us something positive to think about and when the match kicks off we are all there living it. Even when we can’t be there in the flesh we still live every game. We read every match report. We devour all the stats. We talk about it and we dream about it. To deny people that is simply wrong and I don’t care how financially sustainable it may be. What I care about is the excitement of supporting my team whether it is doing well, or more often over the years, not – and it matters not at all whether the sun is shining or it’s pissing down with rain just as long as it doesn’t snow so the game is off. I care about the hope that I feel every time my heroes run out onto the pitch. I care about the way I can’t wait for the next game. Nothing else gives you those feelings and I don’t want to lose it and because I know that every other fan of every club that is “theirs” whether it’s their home town club or adopted, feels the same way I don’t want them to lose it either.
And yes I remember how I felt walking across Hove Park and onto the Old Shoreham Road by the Goldstone Ground and seeing scarves and hats from clubs everywhere because they knew how I was feeling and it mattered to them and they cared enough to be there. I stood there that day in absolute silence just drinking it in and then I sang myself hoarse knowing that there was just a glimmer of a beginning of a chance that it might not be the last time I would do so. It wasn’t then and it isn’t now about the club or the rivalry or the lack of it. It’s about being a fan and knowing what that means so if you don’t feel it and don’t care then just jog right off because I DO and I want Argyle fans to know that I do and for them to keep feeling as they do about THEIR club. I wasn’t there at Wrexham. I wish I had been. I can’t be there against Leeds when Brighton fans plan to show their support en masse by “Going Green” . But I will be watching to see our fans make me feel proud and I will be at Home Park to see fans from everywhere stand shoulder to shoulder for something that may be insignificant in the greater scheme of things but in the lives of ordinary folk it matters.”
Hope fans from clubs everywhere can make it to Plymouth on 24th September.
[…] Amid the ongoing turmoil at Plymouth (takeover bid still not completed, fans from other teams are generously doing their bit, taking their lead from Brighton’s, in particular. On 23 September, Seagulls supporters are rallying to make it a ‘Green and White Day’, wearing the colours to the televised Friday night match at home to Leeds United and attempting to garner more attention for the Pilgrims’ plight. A day later, Brighton fans (and now, it seems, supporters from a host of other clubs) are then planning to travel down to Home Park for Plymouth’s League Two match with Macclesfield, dedicating it Fans Reunited, in tribute to the original Fans United Day from 1997, when the club hosted Hartlepool during an infamously low ebb in the club’s history. More information on Fans Reunited is here, as well as a more detailed background too. […]
[…] Fan’s Re-United Day: Home Park, 24.09.11 Two Hundred Percent […]
Here are some photos I took on Saturday at the Fans Re-United Day, Home Park. Enjoy It was an incredible day – an absolutely buzzing, passionate & loud crowd and what a result!