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Fans Reunited over Argyle troubles

This is a story from the FSF archive – the FSF and SD merged to become the FSA in 2019.

Fans from across the country will travel to Home Park this Saturday 24th September to show solidarity with supporters of struggling Plymouth Argyle. The Pilgrims are in dire financial straits with players going unpaid and supporters genuinely fearful that the club’s administrator will not find a buyer, which could spell disaster. “The imminent danger of liquidation is a daily reality at Home Park,” say Save Argyle/Fans Reunited.

On the pitch things are no better with Argyle currently rock bottom of the Football League having sacked manager Peter Reid on Sunday following eight successive defeats. It is with this background that fans of Brighton and Hove Albion came up with the concept of Fans Reunited.

The original Fans United took place in 1997 in response to troubles at Brighton. Then Seagulls chairman Bill Archer and chief executive David Bellotti planned to sell off the Goldstone Ground without any alternative in place, leaving the club homeless. Enter 14-year-old Plymouth Argyle fan Richard Vaughan who popped up on the Seagulls’ fans’ forum

“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 per cent,” said Richard.

This rallying cry inspired hundreds of Plymouth Argyle fans to make the trip to the Goldstone Ground on 8th February 1997 to watch Brighton beat Hartlepool United 5-0. Hundreds more fans also showed their support with one Watford fan in attendance spotting fans from clubs as diverse as Watford, Portsmouth, Southampton, Ipswich Town, Norwich City, Manchester City, Manchester United, Preston North End, Carlisle, Spurs, and Blackburn Rovers. There were even representatives from Germany’s Eintracht Frankfurt.

Brighton fans now want to return the favour and many will make the trip to Argyle’s Home Park this Saturday with fans of other clubs invited to do the same. The Pilgrims take on midtable Macclesfield in the 3pm kick-off. Fans Reunited also has the full support of other fans’ groups.

In the words of Argyle Fans’ Trust: “On the day that supporters from other clubs come to Home Park to stand with us, it is only right that we make sure that as many Argyle fans as can possibly attend do attend. If you attend only one game at Home Park this season, please make it this one. Tell your friends, tell your family, tell your neighbours, tell the bloke next to you in the pub. Make sure you spread the word and make this day as memorable for us as Fans United was for Brighton fans. United we stand, divided we fall!”

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