Cheltenham 'to create an artificial army of 500 supporters' for Cobblers clash

Whaddon Road.Whaddon Road.
Whaddon Road. | Getty
Robins launch fundraising campaign

Cheltenham Town have launched a 'Fill The Paddock' fundraising campaign to create an 'artificial army' of 500 fans for their play-off semi-final clash with the Cobblers at Whaddon Road.

The League Two play-offs are on course to go ahead despite the remaining nine games of the regular season being cancelled, however both the semi-finals and final will be played behind closed doors.

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While supporters will be able to watch their team on television, it won't be the same as the real thing. As a result, Cheltenham are to fill Whaddon Road with cardboard cut-outsfor the second leg at Whaddon Road later this month.

"Barring a major setback, the League Two play-offs look set to go ahead without supporters due to the coronavirus and the current social distancing guidelines," said the club.

"And that's so difficult for our amazing fans, who've been with us every step of the way and played such a vital role in getting us into this position in the first place.

"This unprecedented conclusion presents a huge challenge for us too, unable to open the turnstiles for one last time this season. This wasn't what we had in mind when we started this journey at Leyton Orient last August, but it's where we find ourselves today.

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"Our support this season has been nothing short of magnificent and we're determined to finish the season together with you, from home.

"So as the players prepare to return to training on Monday, we're going to try to do something to bring everyone together for one last push.

"We're partnering with our friends at Typecraft and Signcraft to create an artificial army of 500 supporters to get behind the boys against Northampton Town in the forthcoming play-off semi-final at The Jonny-Rocks Stadium.

"We also want to show solidarity with our charity partner, the Hollie Gazzard Trust, by donating 10 per cent of all the profits from this campaign to their mission of tackling domestic violence.

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"We're hoping that the town will see this idea as a unique way to show its support at a time when we need it the most.

"It will help us to generate some much-needed income, supporting our local business and charity partners in the process. We hope it's something our supporters will hopefully enjoy being involved in, too.

"We only have about two weeks to do this if we're going to do it, so we need to make a start now. The date of the match has not been confirmed by the EFL but we can assume that it will be towards the last week of June at this moment in time.

"Our plan is to fill The Paddock with 500 fans to show the players, and the world that the town is right behind the team during the crucial play-offs.

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"We also want to use our electronic scoreboard to display videos of supporters doing their thing to get behind the lads from home.

"Pledge £25 we will add your own 'cardboard cut-out' to The Paddock which we will return to you, signed, as soon as it's safe to do so. We will also give you the opportunity to send us a short video of you supporting the Robins from home, which we will add to all the others and show in a continuous loop on our scoreboard during the game.

"We've launched a crowdfunder with various options for supporters, families and businesses to show their support to Fill the Paddock."