Written by Gavin Barber.
Judging by the response that the FA Commission’s proposals for the creation of Premier League B Teams and a “League 3” have had since their launch, football fans seem almost unanimous in their angry opposition to the plans.
What can we do about it?
An organised collective called Against League 3 (@AgainstLeague3 on Twitter) has made a great start by starting an online petition which, at the time of writing, had almost 28,000 signatures. If you haven’t signed it yet, please do so now.
Leyton Orient fan and regular When Saturday Comes contributor Tom Davies (@tomdavieseE17 on Twitter) suggested a Fans United day at the Skrill Premier (Conference) play-off final, which is on Sunday 18th May at Wembley Stadium.
I think this is a great idea, so this article is an attempt to get it going.
What is a Fans United day?
It’s a day when football fans come together to make a statement or a protest about something which affects all those who care about the games. Previous Fans United days have usually centred around the plight of a particular club – the most famous example being the Fans United day at Brighton & Hove Albion in 1997.
By attending a game in a wide variety of club colours, and making a vociferous but good-natured protest, fans can make a powerful statement to those administrators who continually treat supporters with contempt and disregard.
We think that the FA’s plans are so dangerous to the culture of our game, the structure of the League pyramid, the integrity of English football and the lives of supporters, that a Fans United event is an appropriate response. The Conference play-off final seems a good time and place for it – the Conference is one of the leagues under direct threat from the proposals. Imagine Wembley Stadium filled with 80,000 passionate fans, making a bold and very public statement against the FA.
A Fans United day at the play-off final would not seek to disrupt or in any way undermine the day for the fans of the teams taking part, Cambridge United and Gateshead. It’s their day more than anyone’s. By coming along and showing support and solidarity, Fans United could make the occasion even more special and memorable for those teams’ supporters.
What do we need to do?
- Show your support by leaving comments under this article, by tweeting and following @fansutdvslge3 on Twitter, and by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. It’s really important that we know how many people are prepared to get behind this. Without significant numbers, it won’t work.
- Buy a ticket for the Skrill Premier Play-Off Final at Wembley on 18th May 2014. These are being sold through the online ticket agency See Tickets.
- Get visual! Think of what you could do to make a bold “Against League 3” statement at Wembley. Wear your club’s colours. (Probably best not to wear Peterborough colours if you’re in the Cambridge section, but you get the idea). Banners? Balloons?
- If you can provide practical help, for example by producing a large banner, or t-shirts, or anything else that might draw attention to the cause, please get in touch.
Fans United days are organic – there isn’t an organisation behind them. They only work if large numbers of fans from all clubs are prepared to support them. There’s no money behind it and no-one will be asking for any. Any support that can be offered ‘in kind’ – e.g. by making banners or t-shirts, would be gratefully received.
The most helpful thing to do is to commit to attending the event. If there seems to be a big level of interest, we’ll put this out to the media to try and gain more publicity. But only if large numbers of people are prepared to get behind it!
It’s our game at stake. Let’s take it back.