2010 Co-operative Championships fan of the year revealed

Date published: Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Co-operative Championships rugby league ‘Fan of the Year’ was unveiled yesterday (Sunday 26th September) in a presentation on the pitch ahead of the Championship Grand Final at the Halliwell Jones Stadium in Warrington.

Gary Crumpton from Featherstone, a Featherstone Rovers fan and life-long supporter of rugby league in the UK was presented to the crowd on the pitch ahead of the thrilling last game of the Co-operative Championships Finals Day, the title decider between Featherstone Rovers and Halifax RLFC, eventually won in extra time by a Ben Black golden point for Halifax.

All those in the ground were there to witness Gary recieve the coveted trophy given to the fan that has consistently gone above and beyond to support their club in the local community. Now in it’s second year, the Fan of the Year award was presented by Harry Potter star Matthew Lewis (Neville Longbottom in the Harry Potter film franchise), who is also a huge rugby league fan.

The prize giving ceremony follows on the back of a season long search by Championships sponsors The Co-operative to find the rugby league fan that most embodies the values upon which the game is founded.

An expert judging panel reviewed all the entries based on criteria ranging from match day attendance, club memorabilia, community support and promotion, to away match attendance. In addition it was important that the ‘Fan of the Year’ had brought the game to new audiences by inviting people to games who may not have seen rugby league played before.

The panel, made up of Co-operative ‘Good For Everyone’ Ambassador Paul Sculthorpe, Rugby League Weekly publisher Danny Lockwood and Co-operative Head of Sponsorship, Liz Matkin awarded Garry the number one accolade based on his outstanding contributions to the game and exceptional loyalty.

Gary has been involved with Featherstone Rovers for a number of years and most recently he has been responsible for organising buses to take fans to away matches, and even sponsors a player himself. In addition Garry generates income for the Featherstone Rovers Independent Supporters Association via new and innovative methods such as running the Blue Lagoon bar at the club where all profits go directly back into the club.

Gary Crumpton was delighted to recieve the award and commented: “I am absolutely thrilled to have won this award. I wasn’t expecting recognition in the rugby league community for what I do to help out the club. I must thank all the people who nominated me. I was overwhelmed by all the applause and congratulations I received when Matthew handed me the award on the pitch. It’s just a shame we couldn’t win the Final as well.”

League Weekly publisher Danny Lockwood was one of the judges and said: “Rugby League supporters are known far and wide for their passion and dedication, so to try to separate great fans from other great fans is a real headache.

“It comes down to so many things – not least long-suffering patience and sticking by your club when things aren’t going well, to adding value and bringing either revenue or new friends into the rugby club.

“All of the nominees are a real credit not just to themselves and the teams they support, but to the Rugby League family in general.”

The Co-operative Head of Sponsorship, Liz Matkin said: “This is the second year that we have run a search for the fan of the year and making the decision this year was extremley tough. Gary stood out for me for the innovative ways he finds of supporting his club and the way in which he tirelessly dedicates himself to the sport. Gary is a true fan and we are pleased that we could give Gary recognition for all his hard work this season in front of all the fans.”