A recent discussion between a few of our bloggers brought up a subject which occured on the 19th April 2010. It’s a date which may not instantly spring to mind yet it will live in our memories for the rest of our days.
The travelling Toon Army made the longest round trip in the football league to visit Home Park in Plymouth with a view to be crowned outright winners of the Championship. For the opposing side, a loss in this match would consign them to relegation and League 1 football.
Now we can all empaphise with being relegated. That sickening feeling when the final whistle goes is one which I never want to experience again. We all remember where we were at the time. I was in a pub in Dundee and had Celtic and Rangers fans putting their hands on my shoulder and offering to buy me drinks. They were generally concerned for my well-being as I must have looked a mixture of deathly white and sickly green.
Anyway, I digress. We all know how gutted the Green Army would have been to be relegated. That wasn’t on our minds at the time though as we had just won the league. When you follow Newcastle United trophies and accolades are so few and far between that you celebrate it when and while you can.
Newcastle ran out comfortable 2-0 winners on a day where just a point would have been enough and The Pilgrims were well prepared to offer their congratulations consisting of banners and ‘We are the Champions’ blasted over the tannoy.
Fair play to them. Even though they knew the writing was on the wall as they still had a couple of games to go, it was still an excellent gesture from a top set of fans.
Plymouth Argyle, much like ourselves, is a one team city and is actually the largest city in England to have never tasted top flight footy. At the minute, that prospect is so far away you can’t even see it as Plymouth are in serious trouble.
Due to the fallout from the Championship, the club entered administration and suffered another relegation year after. This is a total injustice for a club with a (almost) 20,000 capacity stadium and such an excellent set of fans. The club are into the tens of millions in debt and the Argyle Fans Trust (www.argyletrust.com) are trying to buy a stake in the club to save it’s great heritage.
Now a couple of our bloggers mentioned that it would be a great gesture from NUFC to have a friendly with Plymouth and let them keep the proceeds to aid the Pilgrims in their plight and this got me thinking about what our club actually gives back nowadays?
Football clubs all across the UK are major business for their owners nowadays and with all this money, we seem to be forgetting the sporting and communal aspect of the game. If clubs like Plymouth don’t survive, who makes up the divisions? Where does young British talent like Dan Gosling come from?
As a club, do we do enough for the football community? Definitely not, but do many multi-million pound Premier League clubs?
An example of what I am talking about is something that happened on my doorstep.
Dundee FC went into administration recently resulting in a fine and docked points which should have seen them relegated. Stirling Albion – down the road – gave Dundee FC a cut of EVERY ticket sold for the match to help them out. This is a club 60 miles away who took a cut of their own income from match day to help a club which, to be honest, not only deserved the fine for living beyond their means but they were also rivals in the league to boot!
In this day and age, when so much money is spent so un-neccessarily, surely if the football community all pulled together, it would be easy to save a club like Plymouth, which have staff that are currently working unpaid and struggling to afford the petrol to get into work.
It would be interesting to see if we can get a message to the club in some form regarding the idea of a friendly and see if we can get some response. It’s a long shot I know as the friendlies have been announced and some might even scoff at the suggestion. I always believed that shy bairns get nowt though!
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Raised in Tyneside and now spreading the Gospel of Shola down in shandyland! Follow @MorenoToon on Twitter !