Disabled supporters issue plea to Plymouth Argyle
A GROUP of disabled football fans are urging Plymouth Argyle to continue to listen their concerns after the club's disability liaison officer was made redundant.
Barry Hardman was axed from his post at Home Park last month, and members of the Plymouth Argyle Disabled Supporters Association (PADSA) have expressed concern about the move.
Group secretary Steve Helley said PADSA was instrumental in setting up the position.
He said: "The club were keen to be involved and created a post of disablity liaison officer, who helped in improving things at the ground.
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"The PADSA committee met on a monthly basis with this officer to improve things on a match day and look at ways of improving things long term.
"In recent weeks the club has made redundant the post of disabled liaison officer and has incorporated its duties within another post.
"We are worried that in doing this the club will water down the needs of its disabled followers.
"Many disabled supporters who have travelled to away matches will concede the fact that grounds as close as Torquay and Exeter offer far more facilities than Argyle."
Mr Helley said PADSA members have asked to be involved in the design of the new grandstand, saying: "We have asked to meet with the owner of the club but this has not been possible as yet."
He added: "We understand the club has been in financial trouble and is currently in footballing trouble, and we will support the club in every way we can.
"Our message is don't forget we are here we have a season ticket base of 165 and want to be heard just like able-bodied supporters."
Group member Susan Clarke says she is keen to attract new members and to work more closely with the club.
She said: "We represent disabled people who go to home matches and there are some who go to away matches too.
"If they have got issues we can bring them to the attention of the management.
She said she was disappointed to hear that Mr Hardman had been made redundant.
"A lot of football clubs have these roles to work with disabled fans and make the staff aware of their needs, so we have lost that little link," she said.
Mrs Clarke added: "I don't know where Argyle is going at the moment.
"I know a lot of clubs in league two have local volunteers that help run the club but Argyle don't have the numbers.
"When we have a winning team they will come and enjoy the football, and we have always got the die-heard fans that will always support the club.
"When the club went down a lot of people moved off and it's about going back to those people and also attracting the younger elements.
"There are a lot of younger people that go that are the future supporters of Argyle. They will keep the club going and we need to say to them don't support Man United or Liverpool, you need to be supporting your home club.