Harrogate Town football club is not just making a good impression on the pitch in a higher league this season, its supporters are helping build it a reputation as the friendliest club in Britain.
In a sport built on rivalry and competition where the fervour of fans at some clubs can occasionally boil over, fans at Harrogate Town have been quietly building a civilised atmosphere for visitors.
The latest example of how Harrogate Town are trying to create a new spirit in the game took place recently thanks to it supporters club which welcomed their counter-parts from visiting team AFC Fylde to a social event before the match.
Paul Mitchell, secretary of Harrogate Town Supporters Club, which was nominated at last year’s Harrogate and District Volunteering Oscars for its work in raising money for charity said: “We have always had a great relationship with the Fylde fans dating back to a number of important fixtures with them in the recent past.
“The most important thing though about the event was the great turnout of people of all ages, enjoying the camaraderie of a group of rival supporters.
“It is what football should be all about.”
Organised by Supporters Club chairman Andy Harrison and Harrogate Town fan Jordan Ford, the social event took place at the Londesborough Club on Bower Road before Saturday’s match against the Lancashire outfit.
Previous activities between the two sets of fans have included a tug of war, a long throw competition and a game of beach football on the Fylde coast.
The time of year meant the latest example of fans harmony had to be held indoors.
After the games tournament between the rival fans had finished, a collection was also taken for the supporters club’s annual charity, Saint Michael’s Hospice.
The match itself later the same day at CNG Stadium in the National League saw Town lose 2-1 to their visiting opponents.