One of the most noticeable developments over the last twelve months at Victoria Park has been the growing North West Corner movement which has had a huge impact on the atmosphere in the stadium.
We wanted to find out what was going on so we spoke to John Pearson about how things all began and what the plans are going forward.
What sparked things off with the North West Corner?
JP: “The scene was being set over the course of last season with the introduction of flags into the NWC of the Neale Cooper Stand. These flags don’t come cheap and some of them cost £500, so we got together as a group and funded them ourselves. We wanted to start building an identity and some atmosphere and, once the flags had started to attract increasing numbers to that corner of the ground, the next move was to introduce a drum into proceedings. Previously, the Club had refused a drum being allowed in but the new regime were happy with it so off we went.”
And do you think it had an immediate effect?
JP: “The last thing we wanted was to start with a drum, only for the drumsticks to be snapped the first time we went behind! It was important to keep up a high level of support and noise whatever the result and hope it had the desired effect on the team. It also had a positive impact on other fans in all parts of the ground and it seemed to make a difference, the highlight was the Salford game when we showed what we can do on and off the pitch.”
And you’ve introduced some sponsorship to the Club in the last few weeks?
JP: “Yeah, we decided amongst ourselves in pre-season to try and make a conscious effort to help the Club, not only in vocal support but also some fund raising and sponsorship. This was before what happened to poor old Bury, but it reinforces the need for supporters groups to continue to work hard to support the Club financially where they can. It also hopefully sends a message to Mr Singh that the fans really appreciate what he has done so far for the Club and we in turn will play our part where we can.
“We started with the sponsorship of both Ben Killip and Peter Kioso’s away shirts and, with a surplus left in the kitty, we came up with the idea of sponsoring a Fans’ Man of the Match.
“The idea is simple. We pay £1 a game into a kitty, we buy a bottle of Champagne for the Man of the Match and whatever is left will go towards the Youth Team, which is where the deficit in the Club’s funds has been most affected.
“We said we’d try it for the first month of the season and see how it went and even if we only raise a few quid it’s still something.”
So what do you get for your £1?
JP: “All the £1 gets you is access into a WhatsApp group that allows you to vote for your Man of the Match. The most votes wins and the player is presented his Champagne on the pitch straight after the game, so far by one of the fan’s young children. It’s pretty basic stuff, but again the idea is to help build a relationship between the fans and the players.
“Some fans have already paid up for the season, some have paid in £5 lots and some pay £1 a game. It doesn’t matter who or how, it all goes in the same kitty and towards the same cause and all helps.
“Anyhow, after the first four games we have £1,000 in the kitty, so needless to say the plan is to continue it for at least another month!”
And what are the plans going forward?
JP: ”We just want it to grow. The atmosphere has definitely improved, fans are being attracted to that area of the ground and we are helping the Club. We want to build and build and if we get results on the pitch as well the place will be rocking.”
How do people get involved?
JP: “Probably the best bet is to find us on social media – we are just a group of fans trying to do something positive. We can be found on Twitter (@HUFC_NWC) and it’s up to any fan who wants to get involved really.”