Don't Cross The Line
We are once again urging supporters not to cross the line in their support of Argyle.
There can be no doubting the commitment, noise, and incredible levels of support from the Green Army towards Steven Schumacher and his table-topping side this season, and we thank you – it once again made a huge difference on Tuesday night, as Sam Cosgrove powered a header home in stoppage time to overcome Sheffield Wednesday at a sold-out Home Park.
The fans have played a huge part in the club’s incredibly strong start to the season, but an extremely small minority of supporters’ behaviour threatens our progress – on and off the field.
The club has written to supporters following previous reports of anti-social behaviour at away fixtures this season, and so we were extremely disappointed to learn that the referee’s report on Tuesday night that coins were thrown towards opposition goalkeeper David Stockdale from the Devonport End in the second half, as well as bottles thrown onto the pitch during the celebrations of Cosgrove’s winner.
The club takes no joy in producing these types of communications to supporters, and we have no desire to continue doing so. However, we must also acknowledge the seriousness of the situation, with Argyle subject to unlimited fines or a potential capacity reduction if the FA considers the club’s response to such behaviour unsatisfactory.
Argyle’s ambition is to become a sustainable Championship club, respected in the South West and beyond. Careless behaviour from overzealous supporters places that mission at risk.
The implications of receiving a fine impact upon our ability to fund a competitive first team, or invest in further improvements to the supporter experience at Home Park. Perhaps more significant is the prospect of a reduction in capacity at Home Park – particularly while attendances are regularly reaching close to capacity – which could have huge ramifications for both the match-day atmosphere and the club’s finances.
Argyle manager Steven Schumacher knows how vital the support is for the team this season, and is under no illusion of the potential consequences for the club. Speaking during Thursday’s press conference ahead of the Sky Bet League One visit of Accrington Stanley, he said: “I spoke to Zac [Newton, Club Secretary] and he made me aware that we’ve had a couple of warnings about our fan behaviour. I just feel it’s important that we get that balance right where it’s not an easy place to come – we want to make it hard for teams – but we can’t step over the line with fan behaviour.
“What that can result in is reduced stadium capacity, which we don’t want, and potentially a big fine, affects the playing budget. Everyone just needs to be mindful of that situation as well.”