TTU Awards 2011-12: Best Fans
Despite our claims to unbiased coverage on this website, it can be difficult – sometimes – to think independently of our individual hues.
Awarding Plymouth Argyle – my own team – with the best fans award this year is such a case, although we’d argue that it’s on good grounds.
Pretty much everyone, by now, should be cognisant of what a traumatic time it’s been for all those attached to the Football League’s most westerly club. Two relegations on the bounce followed by a desperate scrap for League 2 survival this year, interspersed by the part-desecration of Argyle legend Paul Sturrock; various winding-up orders; an inconceivably trying period in administration; and a near-complete turnover in playing and managerial staff took the club to the brink in 2011-12.
Home Park’s average attendance has suffered, as you’d expect for a club that’s gone from playing Championship to League 2 football. Vitally, however, Argyle’s core support mobilised and key individuals took those who sought to take advantage of its vulnerability – namely the administrators, Kevin Heaney and selected former directors – to task. Of equal importance were the throng of supporters who initiated a series of fundraising events to support the club and its staff during this period. Further, rarely did fans let the takeover of the club slip out of the local media’s headline stories and James Brent’s bid – by far the most suitable proposition for the club – was persistently encouraged.
The Green Army wasn’t alone. Hearteningly, Brighton fans were instrumental in organising a couple of very successful Fans Reunited days at Home Park and the sight of Seagulls supporters chanting and generally having a ball at our last match at home to Cheltenham really was a poignant moment for this correspondent.
Some Argyle fans have since been recognised by the club, as well as various ‘Supporter of the Year’ awards, and with a stable-looking squad and season ticket applications on the rise things are looking much better than they have done for a long time. With ‘super fan’ accusations abound and power battles alleged in relation to the Supporters’ Trust, challenges remain but for making themselves heard in the face of adversity, there can be no other candidate for this year’s best fans.