The Association of Provincial Football Supporters' Clubs In London (usually referred to as APFSCIL) was formed in the mid-seventies and has grown from a handful of supporters' groups to a 44-member body, representing today well over 8,000 football supporters. Mirroring both the growth and development of regional branches of supporters' clubs, APFSCIL has emerged as a focal point for those clubs whose home venues are outside Greater London (in some cases, outside the country altogether). The range of teams represented is impressive, from Premier League Liverpool to non-league outfits such as Barrow and Mansfield Town. Whatever leagues their teams play in, all APFSCIL clubs share a common bond of dislocation and one of the major reasons the organisation was founded was to facilitate travel to matches. With visits to home games often entailing day-long journeys of hundreds of miles, one of APFSCIL's great successes has been the concessionary fares scheme negotiated with the Train Operating Companies, enabling supporters to travel affordably and in comfort. Opposing fans travelling amicably together may not generate tabloid headlines, but it is a routine occurrence for most APFSCIL clubs, with good behaviour the norm.
It's not just travel though that brings the fans together, for APFSCIL runs its own Darts, Pool and Football Leagues, in which member clubs can take part. The annual 5-a-side football tournament enables even the smaller clubs to participate, with the majority of clubs entering teams. Teams play for the 'Greg Peck Trophy', named in honour of the late Greg Peck one of APFSCIL's founders.
The prizes for these various contests are awarded at the annual Presentation Evening, held in recent years at the Oval. Guests of honour at this event have included Brendon Batson, Paul Elliot and Clive Walker. The major social gathering of the Association is the annual Dinner Dance, held in the Spring, at which speakers from the football world have included Gordon Taylor and recently Republic of Ireland manager Mick McCarthy. APFSCIL has two grades of membership: Full and Associate. The latter category is for organisations or individuals whose ultimate objective is to form a club with the aim of applying for full membership at a later date. All Associate members must satisfy the Aims of the Association and are entitled to attend general meetings but have no right to vote at general meetings.
All this doesn't happen by itself, and it is the job of the Administrative Committee, elected annually, to carry out the Resolutions voted upon by the membership. The Association meets monthly in central London usually on the first Monday of the month, and an AGM takes place, with each club sending a representative. Meetings generally discuss current issues in football that affect the membership and guest speakers are occasionally invited to add to the debate.
Each Member Club has an entry on this site, explaining what they offer and do, there is also a contact number for membership enquiries. Several of the clubs are affiliated to the NFFSC and many individuals are also members of the FSA.
APFSCIL is in regular contact with representatives of the major football administrative bodies and the media, actively representing supporters' interests.
With issues such as the influence of TV companies within football and the increasing expense of supporting a team, APFSCIL has an important role to play and it is hoped that it can continue its good work, in conjunction with fellow supporters' groups, to promote the views and interests of real supporters.
Note: Unless otherwise stated, information supplied on member clubs was the latest available (September 2004).
For further information, contact the Secretary, Neil Le Milliere (Exeter City)