By a nose, Scunthorpe United take this year’s Best Fans Award. Last season, the gong went to Pride Park for Derby’s 29,207 average gate, “a freak of nature” according to my co-editor Lanterne Rouge. The Iron may not have enjoyed the same kind of footfall, but their Keep Scunthorpe Standing Campaign, championed by the Football Supporters’ Federation, attracted interest and support from across the media, with noteworthy articles coming from the Independent and twohundredpercent. Even this humble site got in on the act.
For those who are unacquainted, legislation under the Football Spectators Act 1989 states that all those teams in the top two tiers whose grounds include terraced areas must, after their third season at either level, convert to all-seating venues. All but one of the teams in last year’s Championship played in all-seaters, but Scunthorpe’s Glanford Park, with its North Stand (aka Donny Road) terrace, failed to satisfy the rules. Despite possessing an impeccable safety record, the 22 year-old end stand looked set to close as a terrace if the Iron survived their third Championship term in four years.
Unfortunately for Scunny, it wasn’t exactly a season to remember but the battle nonetheless runs on as they prepare for what they hope will be another short stay in League 1 (where terracing, remember, is apparently fine). Local MPs Nic Daykin and Andrew Percy have signed up to support the cause, and with the Football Supporters’ Federation using the Donny Road terrace as a case study for safe standing, it may just be that the noise and drive that Iron fans have shown will help to bring back terracing in some shape or form.
Elsewhere, there were nominations for Charlton, where one Unfortunate enjoyed a discounted match ticket which yielded two of his more memorable moments of the season: the cry of “Feesh…” as a picture of said underwater creature, advertising something or other, floated by on the ground’s new scoreboard; and the small boy behind him who, wise beyond his years, reached the loud conclusion that “Charlton are rubbish!” towards the end of their home defeat to Exeter, to the amusement of most people around him except his mortified grandparents.
Pompey also get a begrudging mention for the fervour of their away support; Carlisle fans are saluted for doing the conga at Peterborough upon going 6-0 down; Chesterfield supporters were noted for sucking numerous goals into the main home end at their new B2net stadium; and, finally, Cardiff fans’ ability to accept their end of season slump with stoicism does them credit, we thought.
Last year’s winner: Derby County