#PilgrimsAtWembley - Part Three
So far, our #PilgrimsAtWembley articles have included stories of people traveling from Canada, Dubai, Iraq and South Korea...
However, distance is not the only task some members of the Green Army are overcoming in order to watch Argyle at Wembley.
Inspired by a tweet from an Australian fan who is travelling from Down Under to watch the Pilgrims play AFC Wimbledon in the Sky Bet League 2 Play-Off Final, we asked which of our fans are making the most effort to watch the #PilgrimsAtWembley this time round.
Play-off semi-final hero Peter Hartley will select his top five Pilgrimages, and the winners will be given an Argyle play-off gift to add to what is already going to be a special occasion.
In the build-up to Monday’s game, we will be presenting a selection of the best #PilgrimsAtWembley stories for the Green Army to share in the lengths that some of our supporters will go to in order to see the mighty Greens under the famous arch.
Catch up with our earlier articles in this series:
Some of our supporters face difficulties around their health which means that they have to put in more effort than simply booking a trip to Wembley to watch Argyle in the Play-Off Final. Claire Daniel has nominated Jim Smith, whom she works with, as a fan that has put a lot of effort into getting to Wembley.
"He is a lovely friend and work colleague," said Claire. "I believe he is amongst Plymouth Argyle's greatest ever fans and is a greener than a piece of Plymouth Argyle Rock!"
"Jim’s grandad Edgar used to carry Jim though the turnstiles at half-time to save money when he was two or three years old! Jim is now 48. His dad used to take him to the full matches - and pay! In the mid 70s, in the era of Rafferty and Mariner, who were Jim's favourites, his dad would have to carry him through the turnstiles as he was so tiny and there were so many people. Jim has been a fan for well over 45 years and has been to hundreds of home and away matches. His first away match that he attended was against Watford in 1978, his dad and uncle took him and Argyle drew 2-2!
"In 2015 after a very short illness Jim was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s B cell Lymphoma, a lymphoma which is a very aggressive growing blood cancer and a cancer that needs to be treated as aggressively with chemotherapy treatment as it grows. Jim fought the battle of a lifetime along with the love and support from his wife Nicola and with Argyle playing so well last year, each match really lifted Jim's spirits particularly during his time spent in hospital. This, when partnered with Jim’s determination, helped him to beat the cancer in January of this year and he was given the amazing news that he had won the battle and was in remission. During his treatment Jim went to as many matches as his health would allow.
"Sadly at the beginning of May, Jim found out that the cancer was back and that it is now in his central nervous system. The form of cancer that Jim has is so rare that Derriford Hospital have not experienced a situation the same as Jim's before and his treatment is uncharted territory for the hospital. The next few weeks of treatment are critical to Jim, despite this he has brought his ticket for the Wembley match and is determined to attend come hell or high water. There is a group of us going from Cornwall with Jim and we are meeting his cousins at Wembley to enjoy the match together."
Anne-Marie Turner is travelling to Wembley with her dad; Steven Turner. It will be their first ever away game.
"When the final whistle blew on Sunday after Peter Hartley's epic goal," said Anne-Marie. "Sue from Plymouth Argyle Supporters Association tapped me on the shoulder and said Wembley would be a good away match to start with! You may wonder why we've never been to an away match, its all down to logistics as my Dad is a wheelchair.
"In order to watch Argyle at Wembley we had to find a disabled friendly hotel, find a hotel with no height restrictions as we have a Peugeot van that's two metres tall, buy our tickets and book a blue badge space at Wembley. It took two evenings to find somewhere. We missed out on somewhere in Ascot by five minutes, but happily we found a hotel in Ealing.
"I appreciate that the fan is coming from Australia, but sometimes it really does take a team effort that gets fans to matches and I believe that Argyle fans are probably the best. So our first away match ever will be at Wembley Stadium. So excited now!"