Fuge Throwback

October 20, 2022 Albion

BRIEF HISTORY OF PLYMOUTH ALBION SUPPORTERS CLUB – FORMED IN 1920.

In September 1971 the Rugby World Magazine published a claim by Albion that their supporter’s club was the oldest in England, and this claim went unchallenged. Before the First World War in 1914 the main civilian clubs in Devonport and Plymouth were Devon Albion, who played at the Rectory, and Plymouth who played at South Devon Place, Cattedown.

We must go back to the close of the 1919-20 Season, the date of its inception to enable us to know “why” it was thought necessary to form a Supporters Club. After the War, both clubs found themselves without a Ground. The Rectory was still under war office control and Plymouth’s Ground had been taken over by the corporation and became the Astor Playing Fields. Consequently, the two clubs decided to merge and to be known as Plymouth Albion R.F.C. Albion arranged to rent from the church commissioners, Beacon Park at a Rent of £50 per annum.

We now arrive at a point when a public meeting was arranged on the 29th of April 1920, at the Blind Institution, North Road, and the Plymouth Albion Supporters Club was founded. The first President was the current mayor of Plymouth, W.S.Knight ( the city was then the three separate towns of Devonport, Plymouth and Stonehouse), the first Chairman was Mr W, Jefferey and it was agreed that membership would be 2 shillings and sixpence (12 1/2p).

Ingenuity was shown in fund-raising and the supporters organised coach and train trips in support of Albion wherever the club played, while enormous ground improvements were made on what was originally a field. Work started on the centre stand in 1923, and by season 1925/26 there was a membership of 460. Membership at that time was 2 shillings and sixpence for a new member and 2 shillings (10p) for a renewal.

In Season 1924/25 the first ladies’ group was formed, under the well-known Mrs Pridham. In the same year plans were made to purchase Beacon Park at an asking price of £4000. A loan of £3000 was negotiated with the R.F.U. with the annual repayments of £120. The Supporters Club underwrote the repayments and in 1962 the final payment was made. In Season 1927/28 the popular stand was built by the supporters, and in 1933 the scoreboard and clock, one of only three of their kind, were erected.

Throughout the years the supporters club have played a big part in improvements and innovations and in maintaining the ground.

Now known as the 200 Club, the support continues and we wouldn’t be where we are today without them.

To find out more about joining the club please email Simon Franks on [email protected]